Winter is upon us! That mean’s heat season is in full effect. From October 1 to May 31 every year, landlords are legally obligated to make sure your apartment and building have functioning and sufficient heat. Here are 5 things every new New Yorker should know about the city’s heat season.
1. When the temperature drops, your landlord needs to turn on the heat.
Many NYC renters do not have control over their heat and instead rely on the building’s landlord or management company to turn it on when the temperature drops. There are city guidelines for when the heat should kick in. During the day, the indoor temperature needs to be 68 degrees Fahrenheit if the outdoor temperature drops to below 55 degrees. At night time, the indoor temperature needs to be at least 62 degrees Fahrenheit no matter what the outdoor temperature is.
2. Landlords are NOT required to pay for heat.
The city legally requires landlords to ensure your building has a functioning and sufficient heat – they don’t have to pay for it. While it’s quite common for most NYC leases to include heat, there may be instances where you have to pay for your own heat. Perhaps you have an electric HVAC you can control, or the landlord passes on the heating bill to you every month. If you’re paying for heat and it’s more than what you were expecting to pay, it doesn’t hurt to bring up the issue when you’re negotiating your renewal. Here are 6 tips to help you negotiate your rent.
3. There are no laws about an apartment being too hot.
Unfortunately, there are no rules about an apartment being too hot. At openigloo, we’ve read hundreds of reviews from renters complaining about sauna-like conditions during the winter months. In NYC, 80% of buildings are heated with radiators, and 70% of those households report being chronically overheated. This is because radiators were designed to overheat apartments in order to force tenants to keep their windows open. During the early 20th century, the city wanted to keep buildings ventilated and combat airborne illnesses – so overheating was the answer.
4. You can not control the heat coming from your radiators.
It’s important to note that you can not control the heat coming out of a radiator (unless it has a control valve installed). The knob on the side of your radiator is simply an on/off switch. If you leave it halfway, it could lead to clanking noises.
5. You can file a complaint with 311 if your heat is not working.
NYC winters can be cold. Insufficient heat can pose serious health risks, especially for elderly people and children. If your landlord is not responding to your complaints about broken heat, you can file a complaint with 311. You can call or file a complaint online. The city may send an inspector to investigate – if they find that the landlord is not abiding by the heat season guidelines, they may issue violations and corresponding fines.
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