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NYC Heat Laws 2023/2024

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New York winters can get pretty chilly, and by law, your Landlord must provide adequate heat and hot water during this time. This means that your apartment must be heated to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 62 degrees Fahrenheit at night. If your Landlord does not provide adequate heat and hot water, you can file a complaint with the city.

New York winter Manhattan Bridge
Manhattan Bridge during winter snowstorm blizzard in New York City with heavy snow falling

Building owners are legally required to provide tenants with a certain level of heat and hot water:

During the heating season (October 1 through May 31)

  • The heat must be set to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit when the outside temperature is below 55 degrees between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
  • The temperature must remain above 62 degrees Fahrenheit during the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

New York winter family
Happy Family At Christmas Time in a warm house

Hot water is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

  • The water must maintain a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
  • If your maximum shower water temperature is set at 120 degrees, then your water heater should be turned up to at least 110 degrees. This will ensure that you have enough hot water for your shower.

According to the NYC heating regulations, landlords must provide adequate heating for tenants. Without sufficient heat, the apartment is uninhabitable, and the tenant can file a complaint with the city. The town will investigate the complaint, and if the Landlord is found to violate the heating regulations, they may be fined. New York City tenants are legally entitled to have an apartment that is sufficiently heated during the winter months.

New York winter street
Snowy winter scene at the historic intersection of 10th and Stuyvesant Street in the East Village of Manhattan, New York City

How to File a Complaint

  • You can notify the Landlord in writing by mailing a letter, sending an email, or calling them. The procedures for filing a maintenance request should be outlined in your lease or building rules. It would be beneficial for you to have your Super’s contact number on hand so that you can make a repair request. Nevertheless, irrespective of how you notify your Landlord, it is advisable that you keep a copy of all written communication for future reference.
  • Go online to The Official Website of the City of New York.Click onReport Problems” and then on “Apartment Maintenance Complaint.” This will open up a form that you can fill out and submit electronically.
  • You can also make an Online Appointment if you need to reach someone from HPD’s Code Enforcement office. You can choose to have the meeting virtually (via video conferencing) or by telephone. They are only offering a limited number of time slots for this new service while they test it out. Depending on how popular it is, they may adjust the number of available time slots.
    Appointment-Based Services: Mold/Pest (documentation to remove violations), Complaints, Violations (certifications), Lead Violations (Contestations, Exemptions, and Defect Status), Dismissal Request.
  • After filing a complaint, 311 will forward the complaint to the Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). It will be investigated by them, and they will notify
    the owner. If the owner fixes the problem, HPD will close the case; and if not, you will be contacted by HPD to set up an appointment time for them to inspect your apartment. If they find that there is no heat or hot water in your apartment, they will issue a violation and fine the Landlord until the problem is fixed. HPD will mail the tenant a notice of certification after the owner provides proof that the condition has been improved. HPD also tries to reinspect certified violations randomly. Suppose it is discovered during re-inspection that the state still needs to be fixed, HPD’s Housing Litigation Division will get involved and potentially take legal action against the owner.
  • If you are not receiving adequate heat in your apartment, you also have the right to withhold rent. And if you do decide to withhold it, be sure to document your complaint with a written notice and send it to your Landlord. The letter should state that you are withholding rent because the apartment is not habitable due to lack of heat. If you have signed a lease or rental agreement, you should also include a copy with this notice.
  • If your Landlord doesn’t take action to restore heat on time, you can legally withhold rent under the NYC warranty of habitability. ( The warranty of habitability is a legal guarantee that your apartment will be livable and fit for human habitation). If your Landlord does not take action to restore heat promptly, you can withhold rent until the issue is resolved. However, not paying rent should only be seen as a last resort. Because if you don’t pay rent, your Landlord can take you to court and try to evict you. This is not recommended, as it can be a long and challenging process.

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