My Landlord Refuses to Accept Package Deliveries. Is that Legal?

Q: My landlord no longer allows delivery people to leave unattended packages for tenants in the building. Carriers cannot leave packages with our 24-hour lobby attendant, nor can they go upstairs and leave them in front of apartment doors. Instead, we have to reschedule deliveries for when someone is home. Is this legal?

A: As New Yorkers order more goods online, buildings have to figure out where to store all those boxes. A 200-unit building may receive around 50 packages a day, and more during the holidays, with a box waiting an average of 16 hours before its recipient retrieves it, according to Georgianna Oliver, the chief executive of Package Concierge, a storage locker company.

As draconian as your landlord’s solution to this common problem may seem, your rights to fight it may be limited. Market-rate tenants would have no right to challenge the policy unless their lease included a provision guaranteeing package delivery, which is unlikely. Rent-regulated tenants could file a complaint with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the state agency that oversees such apartments, on the grounds that the policy amounts to a reduction of services. However, the agency may find the issue too minor to warrant a rent reduction or an order to restore the service, according to David Hershey-Webb, a lawyer who represents tenants.
 
There are better ways to manage package deliveries than the one your landlord devised, even if it’s not illegal. “The buildings that we handle — and we handle 600 buildings — they find solutions,” said Dan Wurtzel, the president of FirstService Residential New York, a property management company in the city.

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