A gas leak has led Con Edison to shut down the gas in a large Midtown condominium, a situation known as red-tagging. The fix could take up to a year. Meanwhile, the condo board has provided each unit with an electric hot plate. Unit-owners ask: Aren't we entitled to a reduction in common charges to offset this reduction in service?
The Ask Real Estate column in The New York Times replies: As to financial remedies to lessen the inconvenience of life without gas, tenants in rental buildings (particularly rent-stabilized tenants who have vast protections in their leases) can request rent abatements on the grounds that their basic services have been diminished. But you own your apartment, so different rules apply.
“You don’t live in a rental building — there is not a landlord who is going to give you a rental abatement,” says Leni Morrison Cummins, a lawyer at the law firm Cozen O’Connor. “You are an owner and you are proportionally responsible for your share.”
You might want to use this opportunity to consider switching your appliances from gas to electric, a process that would involve capping your gas line and may require the advice of an electrician and input from your condo board. But it would get your apartment up and running again. In the bargain, you'll reduce the building's use of fossil fuels and move it closer to compliance with the looming Climate Mobilization Act, which will impose caps on building carbon emissions beginning in 2024.
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