Tenant’s Rights to Heat
Every tenant, in both private and publicly-owned buildings, must have heat between October 1st and May 31st. During the day, between the hours of 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, every tenant’s apartment must be heated to at least 68° fahrenheit if the temperature outside is below 55°F. At night, between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am, each apartment must be heated to at least 55°F if the outside temperature is below 40°F.
Landlords must heat your apartment according to these standards by law. If your landlord is giving you trouble, or has not yet turned on your heat, there are several steps you can take.
Before you take any type of action, contact your landlord first. This could either resolve the problem or give you proof if your landlord continues to neglect your requests. According to the NYC Housing Preservation and Development, one must:
1) Contact the property owner, managing agent or building superintendent regarding the repairs.
2) If the property owner, managing agent or superintendent does not respond, write a letter that describes the problems in your apartment and asks for the repairs to be made by a certain date. You should send the letter to the owner and management company by certified mail and keep a copy for your records. If you do not have address information for the property owner or managing agent, you can obtain this information on HPD’s website, as the property owner is required to file this information annually. (Which you can find here)
3)If you do not receive a response to your letter, you should try to contact the owner in person or by phone. Let him or her know that if the repairs are not completed, you will have to file a complaint. Keep a record of all of your attempts to get the landlord to make repairs, as this will be useful in court.
Having physical proof is essential, and will make taking further actions possible.
Once you have acquired the appropriate proof, there are several options you can choose from:
File a Housing Complaint
When filing a complaint, the HPD (Housing Preservation & Development) will try to contact the building’s managing agent in order to make sure the complaint is corrected. If the complaint is still not corrected, further action will be taken. To file a complaint either:
To find out more about Housing Complaints here.
Housing court cases can be brought upon owners who refuse to provide essential services to tenants, called an HP case. These cases do not require a lawyer, and are usually handled by judges. To start a case, visit or contact your local Housing Court’s Clerk’s Office, which you can find here. find out more about Housing Court, visit their website here.
If you live in a rent controlled or rent stabilized apartment, you can also file a complaint with the Homes and Community Renewal in addition to the other options. Complaint forms can be found here.
If you live in an HPD-owned building, call 212-491-4229 or 311 for assistance with maintenance issues .
If you live in a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) building, call the NYCHA Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771 for assistance with maintenance issues.