City landlords must start heating buildings today

The legal heating season will last until the end of May, according to the city. 
The legal heating season will last until the end of May, according to the city.  Photo Credit: Dave Kelly and Lara Antal, So What Press

The heat is on.

The city announced the legal heating season started Monday and that landlords failing to abide by official standards may be penalized.

For the next seven months, the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development requires building owners to maintain certain indoor temperatures. Interior temperatures must be at least 68 degrees during the day when the weather outside falls below 55 degrees. Residences need to be at least 62 degrees overnight, regardless of the temperature outside. 

HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer encouraged tenants to report insufficient heat to 311. She noted that the city can issue major fines to landlords skirting the rules. 

“Making sure New Yorkers are living in safe, secure homes is our top priority all year-round, but especially during the cold winter months,” Torres-Springer said in a statement.

During the last heating season, the city fielded 215,138 heat and hot water complaints via 311, HPD said. The department said inspectors wrote 4,755 violations, filed 4,198 legal cases related to heat or hot water and collected more than $1.8 million in civil penalties from fall 2017 to spring 2018.

Low-income renters and homeowners may be eligible to receive assistance with their heating bills through the city’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). That program can also assist with repairing boilers and furnaces. 

This report initially included an incorrect figure provided by the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development for complaints in Queens.

The following neighborhoods generated the most heat and hot water complaints in each borough during the 2017-2018 heating season, according to the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development:

Queens Community Board  4: Elmhurst and Corona

5,101 complaints

Manhattan Community Board 12: Inwood and Washington Heights

11,920 complaints

Bronx  Community Board 7: Bedford Park and Fordham

11,198 complaints

Brooklyn Community Board 17: East Flatbush

8,586 complaints

Staten Island Community Board 1: North Shore

1,486 complaints