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tenement house and all the parts thereof shall be kept in good repair. ...
Section 104 provides that "every tenement house and every part thereof shall be kept clean and free from any accumulation of dirt, filth, garbage, or other matter in or on the same. The owner of every tenement house or part thereof shall thoroughly cleanse all rooms, passages, stairs, floors, windows, doors, walls, ceilings, privies, water-closets, cesspools, drains, halls, cellars, roofs and all other parts of the said tenement house, or part of the house of which he is the owner, to the satisfaction of the department of health, and shall keep the said parts of the said tenement house in a cleanly condition at all times. No person shall place filth, urine or fecal matter in any place in a tenement house other than that provided for the same, or keep filth, urine or fecal matter in his apartment or upon his premises such length of time as to create a nuisance."
As Tenement House Commissioner I have always construed this section to the effect that it was never intended that the owner be obliged to go in the apartment and keep any part of the apartment clean. I have always taken the attitude that the proper interpretation to be given this section is that the Tenement House Department shall compel the owner to see that the unsanitary conditions if there are any therein existing-be removed and that the tenant occupying the specific apartment in which the conditions prevail should be presumed to be the creator of the unsanitary conditions and therefore responsible for the same, and should be compelled to remove them.?
The Tenement House Department, however, under the law can hold only the landlord responsible, and therefore it is my opinion that that section should be further construed to mean that the landlord must see to it and be obliged to see to it that the tenant remove the condition: in other words, compel the tenant to do so; and upon failure of the tenant to remove unsani
? If the tenant fails to remedy such a condition he may possibly be regarded as objectionable and removed under $ 1410, Civil Practice Act, subdivisions 1-8 and 6.
tary conditions complained of by the Tenement House Department, that then the landlord may bring proceedings to have him removed as an undesirable tenant under the very rent law now in force.
This reasoning is predicated upon the assumption that a tenant who creates and maintains dirty and therefore unsanitary conditions within his or her apartment is a menace to the health of the other occupants of the house and in the final analysis to the community. This reasoning is based largely upon the language of Section 51 of the Sanitary Code and upon my idea of justice by the application of common sense.
EXTRACT FROM A CIRCULAR ISSUED BY THE TENEMENT HOUSE
“ANTI-TYPHUS ANTI-CHOLERA CAMPAIGN.”
"Wherever the conditions warrant, the department inspectors will file violations to clean floors, stairs, walls and ceilings of public halls, cellar walls and ceilings, courts, yards and roofs, and in fact every public part of the building, and to kalsomine or paint, at their option, cellar walls and ceilings, court and dumbwaiter shaft walls, and wherever conditions warrant it, to kalso mine, paint or paper the walls and ceilings of public halls.
"If the ceilings of an apartment are soiled or black, the landlord will be compelled to kalsomine or paint them. If the walls of an apartment are in a condition to warrant painting or papering, the law will be enforced in this direction. It must not be assumed, however, that the tenants can under this order make a general demand for painting and papering their apartments. It is only in such cases where the uncleanly condition may become a menace to the health of the community that this order will be insisted upon.
"In this connection it might be well to call attention to the fact that tenants are expected to keep their apartments in a
cleanly condition and to co-operate with landlords, the Tenement House Department and the Health Department, in keeping their apartments clean. Tenants should understand that an obligation rests upon them to wash the walls, floors and woodwork of their apartments and keep them clean, since they are responsible as a rule for the conditions maintained therein. It is the duty of the tenants and not that of the landlords to keep their apartments free from accumulations of rubbish, dirt and garbage, and in a cleanly condition generally.
“I warn landlords that unless the orders are complied with, proceedings will be begun in court to enforce the same without delay. The tenants are also warned that unless they keep their apartments clean, the landlord may bring proceedings against them under the present rent laws and have them dispossessed upon the ground that they are undesirable tenants and a menace to the life and health of the occupants of the rest of the house and to the community.”
Form No. 1. PETITION—NON-PAYMENT OF RENT PROCEEDING
To the Municipal Court of the City of New York, Borough of.
District (or other Court). The Petition of .
of said City, respectfully shows that your Petitioner.
. [is the agent in respect to the premises hereinafter described of... ...who] ? is the owner in fee of and Landlord of the premises hereinafter described, and that Petitioner as such (agent for said] ? Landlord on or about the...... day of...... A. D. 19. ., entered into an agreement ..with...
..as Tenant thereof, and that by the terms of said agreement, the said Tenant hired from the said Landlord the premises described and designated as follows:
Rooms on the.... ..floor....... .side in... House and Premises known as Number.
Street which is situated within the territorial jurisdiction of the (Municipal] Court 24 (of the City of New York, Borough of Manhattan,
Municipal Court District] (and that the said Tenant, in and by said agreement undertook and promised to pay to the said Landlord the sum of... .....dollars per.....
. payable ..monthly.... .in advance on the..... day of each month as rent of said premises), or, if tenant holds over without agreement, substitute in place of part in brackets, “and that after the expiration of the term of the aforesaid agreement the said tenant continued in occupancy of said premises and that the reasonable rental value of said premises is the sum
a Only forms required by changes in the law are given here. 1 Under Civil Practice Act, $ 1410, subdivisions 2 and 2-a, supra, p. 335. ? Omit part in brackets if petition is made by landlord and not by agent, sa Insert proper name of Court in which proceeding is commenced,