2017-12-27 / Features

‘No Heat” Landlords Face Stiff Penalties

By Liz Goff
Queens apartment dwellers who find themselves in a deep freeze when landlords turn off their heat during frigid weather are urged to use the city HEAT law to help warm things up.

The “HEAT” Act, “Heat Enforcement For All Tenants” Act, mandates strict penalties for repeat offenders with multiple heat violations.

The law calls for a maximum fine of $500 per unit, per day for a first violation and $1,000 per unit for each day thereafter in the same building, within two subsequent calendar years.

Tenants who live in a deep freeze, without required heat and hot water are urged to take several steps under the law to heat things up, officials said.

  • Document everything
  • Record apartment temperatures
  • Keep a log of phone calls, messages, emails, etc. sent to landlords asking for heat

Such records will assist city and state agencies and inspectors and housing judges to better understand the condition. Tenants need this verification to file for rent reductions based on a lack of heat and hot water.

Tenants are also urged to check with neighbors to determine if they have the same problems, to organize a tenant association and take collective action involving willing tenants, authorities said.

Use the power of a tenant association to reach out to elected officials for help. Landlords may ignore one tenant – or an association. But they think twice before disregarding elected officials who complain on your behalf.

Tenants in heatless units are urged to call 311 for additional information or assistance.

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