So I live in an corporate owned apartment complex in New York. For three months now my air conditioning has gone out on multiple occasions. I have made attempts to contact the leasing office and I typically I get either voicemail, or promises without a time frame or urgency.

I called the office and was told "someone is coming out" and then never hears back from them. Typically, this can go for days, requiring me to do follow ups to get anything. I would like to know how easily I can get out of my lease agreement.

I reviewed my lease agreement and it's, of course, vague saying I have to allow a "reasonable time for them to repair" it doesn't specify what a reasonable time may be. So under U.S. laws, what's considered a reasonable time for leasing agreements?

  • 1
    Have you put the request in writing? Sometimes it helps to have a paper trail.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 20, 2021 at 13:36

1 Answer 1


"Reasonableness" is a deliberately vague and flexible term. It does not -- and is not meant to -- have any precise definition.

Instead, it is meant to be highly case specific. A "reasonable" time to repair will therefore be longer or shorter, depending on the circumstances. If you want a scratch in your countertop repaired, a "reasonable" time is probably a lot longer than if you want the plumbing repaired. And a reasonable time to repair the plumbing may itself vary with the availability of vendors, supplies, etc.

Likewise with the air conditioning. It's probably a lot more reasonable to wait three months to fix the AC if it breaks down in December than in if it breaks down in the summer, which it sounds like is what's happened to you.

Based on the timing, I'd feel very comfortable arguing that the leasing company has breached the agreement. The "reasonableness" standard is meant to give the landlord adequate time to respond and get the job done properly, but it can't be stretched indefinitely as seems to be happening here, to the point where you have essentially lost the entire benefit of air conditioning by sitting in a hot apartment for the entirety of the summer.

New York City has pretty strong tenant-protection laws, so I suspect that you would have the option of hiring someone to handle the repairs yourself and then deducting your costs from the rent you owe.

  • 2
    The tenant should notify the landlord of the estimate and what they intend to deduct the costs from their rent prior to getting the work done. Also there are limitations on the tenant's right to "repair and deduct": nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/…
    – ColleenV
    Sep 20, 2021 at 18:21
  • Yes. Assuming the option is available, the tenant should exercise caution to ensure it is exercised as required by law.
    – bdb484
    Sep 20, 2021 at 22:01

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