The bad news is that your heat isn’t working. The good news is that the law is 100% on your side if you’re renting in New York City. Your landlord is absolutely required to fix your heat during the winter if you’re living anywhere in NYC, from Brooklyn to the Bronx.
Are there exact temperature requirements in New York City?
Landlords across the state of New York are required to provide heat, but the rules are even more specific in NYC. Each year, the city announces the start of the “heat season,” which usually runs from October to May. During the day—more specifically, between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.—it has to be at least 68°F inside your apartment if it’s below 55°F outside. At night—that is, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.—it must be at least 62°F inside, no matter how cold it is outside.
What should I do if the heat is broken in my apartment?
If your heat falls below the required temperature—or goes off altogether—you should start by reporting the situation to your landlord. You can call them first, but be sure to follow up with a text, email, or letter so you have something in writing. If that doesn’t do the trick, you should call 311 and file an official complaint. If you’d rather not talk to someone on the phone, you can also report it via 311 online or use the 311Mobile app. Anyone in NYC can file a complaint, regardless of their immigration status.
It's a good idea to document the conditions in your apartment, too. Take temperature readings and note the time and date, if you can.
How long does my landlord have to fix the heat?
In NYC, your landlord is required to fix your heat immediately. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD), which handles 311 complaints, sorts housing problems into different categories depending on how long the owner has to fix them. A lack of heat or hot water is considered a Class C violation, which must be dealt with immediately.
What if my landlord refuses to fix the heat?
If you’ve filed an official complaint through 311, HPD will call you within 24 hours of notifying your landlord of the problem. If your apartment still doesn’t have heat at that point, then your case will be transferred to HPD’s Emergency Repair program. They will pay to have your heat fixed themselves, then bill your landlord for the work. The city created a handy flowchart to guide you through the entire process—you can skip to the information in the green box if your landlord has already refused to repair your heat.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.
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