2018-01-10 / Front Page

No Heat Landlords Face Stiffer Penalties

By Liz Goff
Queens apartment dwellers that find themselves in a deep freeze when landlords turn off the heat have a new weapon to help warm things up.

The city’s “HEAT” Act, “Heat Enforcement For All Tenants” Act increases 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.

The city’s 311 system has received approximately 200,000 heat-related complaints from tenants this winter. Queens tenants were responsible for approximately 25,000 of those complaints, a Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) website shows.

“We don’t want a single New York family to face a brutal winter without heat,” officials said. “We are changing the economics so that landlords will think twice before turning off their tenants heat just to save money.”

Tenants who face-off with landlords who fail to provide heat and hot water may take several steps under the HEAT law to warm things up:

  • 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, authorities said.

Check with neighbors to determine if they have the same problems, organize a tenant association and take collective action involving willing tenants, officials 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.

For more information or assistance tenants may call 311.





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