Following the freezing temperatures and dangerous winds brought on by Winter Storm Izzy this past weekend, New Yorkers everywhere are finding respite in their apartments to protect themselves from the inclement weather. However, as some tenants might have already noticed, the heat in their building has become scarce, if not completely nonexistent. Whether that be from the apartment’s lack of resources or the carelessness of the landlord, the fact is, tenants are being left to brave the biting climates on their own.
According to several studies conducted over the past several years by RentHop, a team that utilizes data analysis to help renters “find great apartments”, certain parts of the city, such as Erasmus (Brooklyn), Bedford Park-Fordham South (the Bronx), and Hamilton Heights (Manhattan), are not receiving the heat they need, despite the residents’ repeated complaints to 311.
As most New Yorkers know, the NYC Heat Law requires landlords to provide heat for all tenants, specifically from Oct. 1 through May 31; this period of time is called “Heat Season”.
The law states that if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees Farenheit between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. the inside temperature must be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit. And, regardless of the outside temperature, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., the inside temperature must be at least 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
If an apartment is lacking adequate heat and/or hot water during these times, The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) recommends notifying the building owner, landlord or superintendent first, and if service is not restored, file an official complaint by calling 311.
Several properties in the Bronx, including 2176 Tiebout Avenue and 2040 Bronxdale Avenue, have reported hundreds of complaints since the start of the Heat Season, according to RentHop’s most recent study of Heat Complaints in 2022.
“These are repeat offenders from last year, and things don’t seem to be improving at all, according to the number of 311 complaints associated with these addresses,” the data analysis team said.
Between Oct. 1, 2021, and Jan. 19, 2022, New York City tenants reported a total of 116,452 heat/hot water complaints through 311, said Renthop.
To accurately calculate the number of heat/hot water complaints, RentHop experts aggregated the reports by address and the date they were recorded. They classified complaints filed on the same day, regarding the same building, to be one “unique complaint”.
At the end of the assessment, they found that from Oct 1, 2021 to Jan 19, 2022, “the city received 83,878 unique heat complaints, 25.6% higher than the total unique count of 66,784 in the same period last year.”
Additionally, The Renthop team observed residents living in the Bronx tend to struggle more than residents in any other borough. They examined the top 20 neighborhoods with the most unique complaints this year, and discovered that “17 of them, or 85%, are neighborhoods located in the Bronx.”
The Bronx has consistently been the top borough with the most heat complaints, according to past research conducted by RentHop, and this year, it was exactly 85.8% worse than the second-worst borough, Brooklyn.
The analysts noticed a trend that the apartment buildings located in neighborhoods at a further distance from the center of the city, appeared to experience the same difficulties with heat.
However, they emphasized that the number of unique complaints increased in all five boroughs this year, with a correlation between a decrease in rent leading to an increase in heating violation reports. “Renters in Manhattan have filed 30.7% more unique heat/hot water complaints this winter season as of Jan. 19,” they said.
“While climate change seems to be making winters shorter and warmer, humans still need shelter and heat during cold months,” the RentHop team announced. “As we brace ourselves for the cold with some hot cocoa, it is time to see which neighborhoods suffer the most this winter.”
Click here to read the full report.