The slumlord of NYC is no urban myth. I've been in my apt. for 17 years and I've endured a lot of ridiculous living conditions—sometimes no heat or hot water, always low water pressure and what about the soot from the boiler, and the carbon monoxide. Luckily, the City does require CO detectors in every apt.
Our latest battle is lack of heat. The owner wants to keep costs down on the fuel oil, so he just cuts back on the heat. Oh sure, there are laws about the minimum indoor/outdoor heat ratio, but convincing the managing agent that it is actually too cold for comfort is another story.
We have a City Council, Community Advocate on the case, but the wheels of justice turn extremely slowly in this town. So, the landlord can delay and delay before they are actually forced to do anything. By that time, it will be Summer. They've got it all figured out.
Bottom line: the tenants are like the hamster on the wheel; and it's an endless and unproductive waste of time. I'm having a bad day.