"The first bill before me is Introductory Number 114-A, sponsored by Council Members Moskowitz, Foster, Speaker Miller, Nelson, Reed, DeBlasio, Katz, Liu, Sears, Brewer, Avella, Baez, Dilan, Gerson, Gioia, Jackson, Lopez, Perkins, Quinn, Sanders Jr., Seabrook, Serrano, Vann, Clarke, Addabbo, Comrie, Fidler, Koppell, Martinez, Monserrate, Recchia, Reyna, Rivera, Gentile, Gennaro, James, Weprin and The Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum. This bill increases the civil penalty for violations of the Housing Maintenance Code relating to the failure to provide adequate heat and hot water.
"Despite the mild weather, winter is upon us and it is imperative that New York's landlords provide heat and hot water this winter. The City's Housing Maintenance Code and the State Multiple Dwelling Law require building owners to provide hot water 365 days per year at a constant minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Between October 1st and May 31st, a period designated as 'Heat Season,' building owners are also required to provide tenants with heat under the following conditions:
Between the hours of 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM, if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit; and,
Between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM, if the temperature outside falls below 40 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Introductory Number 114-A increases the civil penalty range for heat and hot water violations from $250 to a maximum of $500 per day for first violations. Further, the bill establishes a new penalty structure for subsequent violations at the same location, within the same calendar year, with penalties ranging from $500 to $1000 per day. These penalties have not been changed in over 20 years.
"While most landlords and owners comply with the City's Housing Maintenance Code and Multiple Dwelling Law in this regard, it is important to have mechanisms in place to deal with those that do not. Tenants who are cold in their apartments should first attempt to notify the building owner, managing agent or superintendent. If heat is not restored, the tenant should call the City's Citizen Service Center at 311. Additionally, the City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development's 'Housing Education Program' offers courses for owners, managing agents, and superintendents on 'Residential Property Management and Maintenance,' including caring for the building's heating plant. For more information on these programs, also call 311.
"I would like to thank Council Member Moskowitz, Council Member Foster, Speaker Miller, and HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan for their leadership on this issue."