General Question

nomtastic's avatar

Does my landlord have to fix my door?

Asked by nomtastic (979points) April 27th, 2009

Our apartment building has two front doors. That is, one passes through two locked doors in order to enter the building. Last week, I was unable to leave the building because the inside doorknob was broken. It had been testy for a few weeks, but on that particular day, I could not get out and the knob came off in my hand.

Eventually, I removed the ‘plate’ part of the doorknob apparatus and opened the door from the inside with my screwdriver.

I called my landlord that day (Thursday) and asked him to repair it – he reassured me it would be fixed Friday. I went out of town. I have been gone four days, and today when I came home I found the entire knob gone from the inside door, which was now propped open, with no repairs made.

He will certainly argue that because there is a front door that locks, he doesn’t have to fix the inside door. I disagree, esp. because you can see that it is open from the street, which makes the building less safe.

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12 Answers

nomtastic's avatar

Also, this: Sec. 27–2005 Duties of owner

1. The owner of a multiple dwelling shall keep the premises in good repair.

2. The owner of a multiple dwelling, in addition to the duty imposed upon such owner by subdivision a of this section, shall be responsible for compliance with the requirements of this code, except insofar as responsibility for compliance is imposed upon the tenant alone.

3. The owner of a one- or two-family dwelling shall keep the premises in good repair, and shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of this code, except to the extent otherwise agreed between such owner and any tenant of such dwelling by lease or other contract in writing, or except insofar as responsibility for compliance with this code is imposed upon the tenant alone.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, as long as the outside door is locked, he does not have to maintain an inner door. He could simply remove the door entirely from it’s hinges and throw it away.

Yes, if he is going to leave the door in place, it must be repaired.

SeventhSense's avatar

I certainly think you have a good case but give him a chance, maybe make it easy for him by saying, “Hey, I guess you were busy etc and couldn’t make it out. I’m going to be around “x” or “y” day, which one works for you?” Don’t make it an issue and he’ll probably fix it. If not, and you can do it, just buy the parts, screw it in and take it off the rent. It is his property and he owns it and will have use of it when you leave.

casheroo's avatar

@YARNLADY my landlord could really take down my apartment door?! We have a front door to the complex, then a door to out apartment..what you basically said is she could take the inner door down, which is our front door…

OP, I think they have to fix it. He can’t just let the place have no locked door.

Amurph's avatar

He absolutely has to fix it. It cannot just be left obviously opened and un-operable. I imagine that since you can “see” that the door does not lock from outside of the building, that there is glass in the outter door. What if that glass was broken and someone got into the building?

If he does not fix the door, or removes it from his hinges, that alters the state of the building from it’s condition when you moved in, giving you a good argument to withhold rent.

I say ask him again to fix it, in a nice way – he probably really hasn’t gotten around it it. if he doesn’t, you can fix it but deduct the cost of the repair from your rent.

If he does NOT fix it, and you don’t want to / have the money or time to…well then you really have to demand it or withhold rent based on the safety of your living situation.

Good luck!

YARNLADY's avatar

If the door opens directly into your apartment, they cannot remove it. I thought you meant a front door to the building, and an inner door to the building, which we call a weather door.

Any door that opens directly into your apartment must be in working order at all times.

nomtastic's avatar

To clarify, it is what Yarnlady calls a “weather door.” But I live in New York City—having an extra door can’t hurt.

Also, I’ve now looked and they have replaced the doorknob but, for some reason, removed the lock!

YARNLADY's avatar

My folks managed an apartment in Colorado, and even in those days, it was a good idea to have two locking doors into a building. Both doors closed automatically and Dad had a rule, anybody propping open either door was subject to eviction.

SeventhSense's avatar


Multiple dwellings which were built or converted to such use after January 1, 1968 must have automatic self-closing and self-locking doors at all entrances. These doors must be kept locked at all times—except when an attendant is on duty.

If this type of building contains eight or more apartments it must also have a two-way voice intercom system from each apartment to the front door and tenants must be able to “buzz” open the entrance door for visitors.

Multiple dwellings built or converted to such use prior to January 1, 1968 also must have self-locking doors and a two-way intercom system if requested by a majority of the tenants. Landlords may recover from tenants the cost of providing this equipment. (Multiple Dwelling Law ยง50-a)

Check here with Rent Guidelines first.
I don’t know if it’s required to have two locking doors but my experience has usually been that the inner door is locked and visitor needs to be buzzed up by tenant.

Amurph's avatar

Since you’re in NYC, I suggest you pick up a copy of “Tenant’s Rights in New York”. It’s been a huge help to us and we were able to break out a lease because we figured out that our landlord has essentially broken the lease first.

nomtastic's avatar

thanks Amurph!

also, just to update, the door was all the way fixed. slowly but completely. the new problem is the upstairs neighbors leaving the ‘weather door’ totally open! yikes!

Amurph's avatar


Hahaha – in NYC if it’s not one thing, it’s another!

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