If you have waited beyond a reasonable time period, the good news is that you can make a complaint with the city. All you have to do is call 311 and say “apartment maintenance”, or visit the online 311 portal for apartment maintenance complaints. It’s important to note that these complaints cannot be anonymous if they are for specific issues inside your apartment - you will need to share your contact information (full name and a phone number) so that the city can follow up with you.
Once you make your complaints by phone call or online form, the information is sent to the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD). This city agency enforces the housing maintenance code that says that landlords must keep their apartments in livable conditions. HPD takes the information and then reaches out to your building’s management company or the individual landlord themselves to let them know that complaints were submitted, what kind of issues they are (emergency or non-emergency), and what time frame they have to address each complaint.
For most emergency issues, they could be mandated to address it within 24 hours, but for non-emergency issues, the time frame given can be between three to eight calendar days. This is important because when the time frame is up, HPD will come to your apartment to verify what work has been done, if any, to address your complaint. Sometimes, HPD doesn’t give advance notice of their visits, but they may leave a voicemail or a notice on your building door if they have attempted to contact you or come by and can’t reach you. However, if you haven’t gotten any contact from them in three days, it is recommended that you call 311 again just to be sure that your complaint hasn’t been closed.
It is critical that HPD does an inspection of your apartment because if your complaints don’t get resolved in the mandated time frame, then your complaints become violations which come with fines that can build up the longer your landlord delays. The threat of a violation and financial penalty is often enough to scare landlords into fixing the problem, so stay persistent in your communication with 311 and HPD.