October 1 kicked off “heat season,” during which landlords are required to provide heat and hot water to tenants or face costly violations from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).
The regulations require that landlords maintain a minimum indoor temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. when outdoor temperatures fall below 55 degrees. Between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., building owners must maintain an indoor temperature of 55 degrees when the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees. Hot water is required to be maintained at 120 degrees year-round.
The season lasts until May 31, 2013.
During the 2011/2012 heat season, residents of Community Board 15, which includes all of Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach, as well as parts of Marine Park, Gravesend and Midwood, racked up 2,766 complaints, falling a good bit short of Brooklyn’s most frequent complainers – residents of Community Board 17 (East Flatbush, Remsen Village), who made 3,708 complaints. It does put us well ahead of our neighbors in Brighton Beach and Coney Island, though, where Community Board 13 tallied up just 1,540 complaints.
If residents think their landlord is failing to meet the requirements, they should first contact the building owner or superintendent. If heat isn’t restored, HPD says to call 311, who will follow up with the owner and the complainant. If problems continue, they’ll send an inspector, and possibly issue a violation for as much as $1000 per day, in addition to civil penalties. They may also sue the landlord, or bring city contractors to make repairs to the property and bill the property owner.
More information about penalties and fees can be found here.