Heat Season is Here: HPD Announces Public Awareness to Keep New Yorkers Safe and Warm this Winter
Over the Next Eight Months, October 1- May 31, Property Owners are Legally Required to Keep Apartments Warm, Safeguarding Tenants from Harsh Winters
Starting this week, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) announced the official start of Heat Season for the 2023-2024 winter, when all residential property owners are legally required to crank up the heat. From October 1 through May 31, owners must provide sufficient heat to keep indoor temperatures at 68 degrees or higher when outside temperatures drop below 55 degrees. Indoor temperatures must be a minimum of 62 degrees overnight, regardless of outdoor temperatures. Property owners must also provide hot water at a consistent temperature of 120 degrees year-round.
“Safe and secure housing is foundational to well-being all year, and as temperatures drop, New York City is focused on maintaining warm homes for all New Yorkers. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is a key resource for tenants and will work to keep homes comfortable throughout Heat Season,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer.
“The chill of the cold months is fast arriving, and we are once again prepared to ensure New Yorkers’ right to heat and hot water are protected. Our hard-working inspectors and emergency repair teams are ready to ensure the well-being of every tenant in New York City,” says HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “If your apartment lacks the warmth it deserves, report the issue to your landlord, and if the situation persists, contact 311 right away. We are ready to ensure that every home is a place of warmth, safety, and comfort.”
New York City’s heat regulations ensure the health and safety of all residents. The fastest way to restore service is to report any problem to the building owner or superintendent, as many properties have access to plumbers or other professionals who can respond immediately. If service has not been restored after contacting the building property owner, tenants can submit a complaint by calling 311, visiting 311 online, or using the 311Moblie app. Hard-of-hearing or Deaf tenants can register complaints using a Touchtone Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (212) 504-4115.
When a complaint is made to HPD, the department will try to contact the building’s managing agent to inform them of the complaint. If a tenant confirms that the condition was corrected, no further action will be taken. Otherwise, a uniformed Code Enforcement inspector will be dispatched to inspect the reported condition. Since HPD may receive multiple complaints from several tenants in the same building, one inspection may be conducted in response to numerous complaints filed. An inspector will sign the yellow card in the building lobby to indicate the date and time of the inspection. Tenants may also check to see whether HPD responded through HPD Online.
In addition to checking for adequate heat when responding to a heat complaint, to keep tenants safe, HPD inspectors proactively inspect smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, lead-based paint (if a child under six is present), window guards (if a child under 11 is present), double cylinder locks, self-closing doors, mold, pests, and bars on the fire escape windows.
Mayor Adams’ “Housing Our Neighbors” Blueprint aims to address health disparities and protect New Yorkers from the effects of climate change. One such initiative is “Keeping Homes Fire Safe,” which focuses on strengthening fire safety measures. It is important to remember that when using a space heater to please follow these important tips:
- Turn off space heaters when you leave the room, house, or go to bed.
- Do not leave space heaters unattended.
- Only use equipment with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mark showing that the product has been safety tested.
- Turn off the space heater if the cord becomes hot.
- Plug space heaters directly into the socket instead of into an extension cord.
- Place the heater on the floor and never on a countertop or furniture.
For landlords who fail to provide heat, HPD’s Emergency Repair Program will attempt to restore heat. Repeated heat violations may result in legal action seeking civil penalties, automatically imposed inspection fees and inclusion of the building in the Heat Sensor Program, requiring the installation of internet-capable temperature reporting devices, called “heat sensors,” in selected buildings. In Fiscal Year 2023, HPD issued over 6,000 heat and over 10,000 hot water violations, spending nearly $4.5 million on heat-related emergency repairs, initiation of over 1,200 cases in Housing Court for heat and hot water, imposing $547,800 in inspection fees and identification of 50 buildings for inclusion in the Heat Sensors Program.
To learn more about keeping warm this winter, visit the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) website to view their interactive online infographic. Low-income property owners having trouble maintaining heat in their homes should contact the Home Energy Assistance Program at (HEAP) at 718-557-1399. Eligible households can learn more information about assistance in paying heating bills or repairing heating equipment.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. For full details visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.