Landlords’ obligations for heat and hot water

Oddly enough the temperatures have been pretty high for October this year, but as November breaks in, the temperatures are steadily dropping. For most of us living in apartments, its important to understand the rights we have as tenants, and for those Landlords that are renting their apartments, they must aware of their obligations.

New York has codified the utility requirements for landlords, especially heat and hot water with specific temperatures that must be met before it becomes unlawful.

Multiple Dwelling Law § 79, Multiple Residence Law § 173, and NYC Admin. Code § 27-2029 provide that Heat must be supplied from October 1st-May 31st. During the hours of 6am to 10pm if the outside temperature is less than 55F, the inside temperature must be brought to a steady 68F. From the hours of 10pm to 6am, if the temperature falls before 40F, the temperature must be brought to 55F. (I figure they think you got a few blankets, because that is pretty cold.)

If your landlord ever lags on his responsibility to provide this utility, you as the tenant, have the right to enforce these rights, either by notifying the landlord through letter, certified mail receipt requested, or calling 311 and reporting the indoor temperature versus the outside temperature. For each and everyday, you should list the time, date, indoor/outside temperature, and sign it as a log for your records.

You also have rights as to receiving hot water. Multiple Dwelling Law § 75, Multiple Residence Law § 170, and NYC Admin. Code § 27-2031 provide that hot water must register above and at a constant of 120F

If you or someone you know has been making complaints regarding these utility services not being provided to them, contact your attorney for further information on how you can enforce the law.

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10 Responses to Landlords’ obligations for heat and hot water

  1. Ravi says:

    I have a tenant who claims the apartment is too cold since the riser pipes do not provide enough heat for the apartment. There are no radiators installed in the apartment and when I told the tenant that I was going to install radiators in the apartment she flat out refused to allow me to install radiators.

    Is there a law that I can show my tenant that would force her to accept the installation of the radiators? I am one of those landlords that actually wants to provide the right amount of heat for my tenant and yet she is refusing to allow me to do this.

    Also, what happens is she files a heat complaint against me? Will the inspector then force her to accept the installation of radiators in her apartment?

    Thank you.

  2. Julie says:

    I live in a basement apartment on the Upper West Side. Under “HEAT”, our lease states: “some heat provided – pipes.” We are then responsible for paying the heating bills for the baseboard heat units.

    First of all, we didn’t understand this distinction when we signed the lease. We definitely thought we would be getting sufficient heat from the pipes and that the baseboards would be used for additional comfort.

    Well, there is absolutely NO heat coming from the pipes. We have no radiators in the unit. The baseboards give off heat for about a 2-inch area and then you got nothin. And we paid a fortune for the few weeks we tried them last winter. We called 311 to complain and they had no advice, except they just kept reading the general statement about minimum temperatures required by NYC law. We called our landlord to discuss the issue and they said they are not required to do anything else for us because they are only officially required to provide us with a WAY TO PRODUCE the heat, not actually produce the heat themselves. So nothing was resolved. Essentially, our landlord has mastered this loop-hole.

    THIS winter, we decided to nix the use of the baseboards and stick to space heaters and electric blankets. Our most recent electricity bill is double what we had last month, at $332. Is it worth trying to fight my landlord again?

    • Julie- you should discuss this with an attorney for the mere fact that you mentioned that it is a basement. I am not sure of the legality of the basement itself however based on your short snippet of the lease term- I’d recommend having it evaluated by an attorney to see if they can help you. If I can be of any assistance- you may call me at 516-422-9835

  3. Anonymous says:

    Is there a difference between having to provide heat and having to pay for heat? I just brought a multi-dwelling so I’m curious if I need to include heat as part of rent calculation even though there is a separate meter for each unit. Thanks.

  4. Theresa says:

    Are these regulaations regarding heat & hot water also for Western NY?

  5. Damien Carlson says:

    I have an electric hot water heater in my apartment which is drawing a HUGE amount of electricity which I have to pay for? Doesn’t the landlord have to provide hot water or is it legal for him to make me pay for my hot water through my own electric bill?

  6. Shrey Patel says:

    I signed a lease from out of state and mailed it in to the landlord. The lease said that the landlord agrees to pay for Heat, cold and hot water. But in the copy I received back which was signed by the landlord, there are handwritten changes stating that I was responsible for paying that part of the bill. I do not have an original copy of the lease, but I do have email records showing the lease that was originally emailed to me. Do I have a case that can hold up if I fight this?

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