You’ve just spent a fortune finding and moving into an apartment, only to find out the heat and hot water is subpar. In New York City, landlords are required to make sure the building and individual apartments have functioning hot water 24/7 and that the heat kicks in when it’s supposed to. Here are 3 things to know about heat and hot water rules in NYC and what do it if you find yourself without these utilities:
1. Hot water needs to be working 24/7, 365 days a year
While landlords are not necessarily required to pay for this utility, it needs to be working! The minimum temperature needs to be 120 degrees Fahrenheit. There are no rules about maximum temperature, though you should talk to your landlord or file a complaint with 311 if your water is scalding hot. You can also look up current and previous heat, hot water, and maintenance complaints for any building on the website of the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. To get help talking to your landlord and filing a complaint, call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline.
2. New York has a Heat Season that runs from October 1 to May 31 every year
Heat season dictates when heat should be provided to buildings and apartments. Again, landlords are not necessarily required to pay for heat (it should say in your lease), but it needs to be working during heat season. In New York City, many renters rely on radiators for their heat and depend on their landlords to turn them on. In cases where the landlord controls the heat:
- During the day, from 6am–10pm, the indoor temperature needs to be 68 degrees Fahrenheit when the outdoor temperature drops below 55 degrees.
- At night, from 10pm–6am, no matter the outdoor temperature, the indoor temperature needs to be 62 degrees inside.
NYC law sets minimum temperature requirements, not maximum requirements. This form of heat can sometimes overheat an apartment. Learn more about radiators here.
3. You can involve the City if your landlord is not responsive to heat and hot water issues
What should you do if you are left without heat or hot water? First you want to inform your landlord and give them an opportunity to resolve the issue. Be sure to document when you reach out to your landlord. In cases where the landlord is not being responsive, you may need to involve the City. You can file a complaint online or by phone with 311 (you can specifically file a heat and hot water complaint or an apartment maintenance complaint), and a City inspector will visit your apartment and inspect the conditions. You can also call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline to get one-on-one support with filing a complaint from a Public Engagement Unit Tenant Support Specialist.
Living without consistent heat and hot water is frustrating and in some cases very dangerous. But knowing your rights is an important place to start. How’s the heat and hot water in your building? Share a review on openigloo and help the next renter that considers your spot—and then advocate for your rights and hold your landlord accountable with support from the Public Engagement Unit’s Tenant Helpline!