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Landlord responds to tenant's safety complaint with massive rent increase: 'He is attempting an illegal self-help eviction'

"The landlord CANNOT increase your rent without at LEAST 60 days warning."

“The landlord CANNOT increase your rent without at LEAST 60 days warning."

Photo Credit: Getty

A tenant in New York City recently faced retaliation from their landlord after reporting a gas leak, and they turned to the r/legaladvice subreddit for help.

"For several months, I have smelled gas in the 'laundry room' of my apartment building, which is directly next to my room," the poster wrote. "Obviously, I was concerned for my safety, given how flammable and dangerous natural gas is. My first reaction was to call the gas company."

The gas company ended up discovering the source of the gas leak, as well as an illegal laundry room setup, and shut off the gas for the building, leaving everyone with no hot water or gas for cooking.

In response, the landlord "starts calling me a troublemaker and just going off and saying I should have called him before," the poster wrote. (Apparently, preventing yourself and fellow tenants from dying in an explosion is "making trouble.") The landlord then informed the tenant that their rent would be doubling from $1,500 per month to $3,000.

The other members of the subreddit were quick to jump in with advice.

"Sounds like he is attempting an illegal self-help eviction. Get a lawyer," one person suggested.

"Ugh, unfortunately I know very well the type of landlord you have. They are the reason so many of the city's properties look like apocalypse. Anyway, as someone pointed call 311 or go to HPDs website and file tenants harassment asap," wrote one commenter.

"The landlord CANNOT increase your rent without at LEAST 60 days warning, and as much as 90 days if you have been there for more than 2 years," wrote another. "Simply tell your landlord 'Since I have lived in this apartment for more than one year, my rent cannot be increased by more than 5% unless I am given 60 day notice. Should I assume that you are giving me 60 day notice now?' If he says yes, then you will either have to pay the increased rent or move."

It is also worth noting that, although the gas leak in this instance was definitely not a carbon monoxide leak as carbon monoxide is odorless, gas appliances can sometimes lead to dangerous carbon monoxide leaks, which is causing many people to switch to safer electrical appliances, like induction stoves and heat pumps

But for those who are unable to make that switch, like most renters, there are a few ways you can use the gas stove in your home safely. Make sure your kitchen is well-ventilated when the stove is on; get an air purifier to help clean out the pollution; and try using alternative electric methods of cooking, like a toaster oven, an Instant Pot, or an air fryer. 

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