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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room


January 23, 2002

Press Contact:
Carol Abrams (HPD) (212) 863-5176


New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Jerilyn Perine reminds residential building owners of their legal obligation to provide tenants with 24-hour hot water and heat whenever the outdoor temperature warrants it.

During heat season, owners of privately-owned multiple dwellings throughout the five boroughs are required by law to maintain an indoor temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit between 6:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M. when the outdoor temperature falls below 55 degrees. Between 10:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M., building owners must maintain an indoor temperature of 55 degrees when the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees.

In the event of a heat deficiency, a tenant should first attempt to notify the building owner, managing agent or superintendent. If heat is not restored, the tenant should call HPD citywide at (212) 824-HEAT. HPD can also receive complaints from hearing-impaired tenants via a Touchtone Device for the Deaf TDD at (212) 863-5504.

Information on heat season is also available on the HPD web site at

Record for this winter
3,330 calls in a single day
Set 1/23/03

All-time record
4,083 calls in a single day
Set 1/17/00

Average calls in the winter
1,500 in a single day

"Our goal is to educate New York's tenants about their rights during the winter months and remind building owners about their responsibilities," said Commissioner Perine.

During last year's heat season (annually, October 1st through May 31st), HPD received a total of 126,800 heat and hot water complaints. When an operator receives a complaint, HPD staff will attempt to contact the building's owner or managing agent to get heat or hot water service restored. Before an HPD code inspector is dispatched to the building, HPD will call the tenant back to determine whether service has been restored. If service has not been restored, an HPD inspector is sent to the building usually within 48 hours under normal conditions to verify the complaint and issue a violation.

In cases where private owners fail to restore heat and hot water, or when HPD is unable to reach owners, HPD's Emergency Repair Program (ERP) uses in-house staff and private contractors to make the necessary repairs to restore essential services.

The cost of the emergency repairs is billed to the private owner and becomes a tax lien on the property if not paid. The City's Emergency Repair Program is by far the most extensive in the nation.

"We are putting landlords with a history of heat problems on notice, and providing them with education and assistance to encourage compliance," Commissioner Perine said. "Those targeted landlords who continue to violate the law will be brought into court."

To help owners better maintain their heat and hot water systems, HPD produced a video called "Heat and Hot Water in Residential Buildings." It is available at no cost through HPD's Owner Services Program by calling 212-863-5300.

HPD is the nation's largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. A major responsibility of the agency is to encourage preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs, and enforcement of housing quality standards.

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