Buildings with maintenance issues and disrepair can harm health. Across NYC, low-income neighborhoods have a higher percentage of buildings in disrepair due to past and present disinvestment and housing discrimination. This housing disrepair harms residents’ health.
No family should have to choose between affordable and healthy housing. All tenants are entitled to safe, decent and sanitary housing, which prevents disease and injury. All building owners are required by law to provide essential services such as heat and hot water, make timely repairs, and maintain a pest-free building.
Housing and health
Housing quality impacts health directly and indirectly. Housing maintenance deficiencies are associated with:
- Increase likelihood of pest infestations, which can worsen asthma
- Exposure to lead
- Mold growth, which may cause allergic reactions
- Other health problems such as mental distress
To reduce health risks
Owners and landlords must:
- Provide homes and buildings free of pests, and employ pest control that uses preventive measures — not just pesticides.
- Install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in residential units.
- Report housing conditions such as peeling paint, water leaks, pest problems and mold to property owners.
- Inform the building’s owner if there is a child under the age of 11 living there, to get window guards installed.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries at least twice a year.
- Call 311 if landlords fail to fix problems.
For more information, visit the Housing Rules and Regulations page for NYC Owners and Tenants.
built environments | neighborhoods | social | housing | maintenance | maintenance deficiencies | healthy housing |