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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Friday, January 8, 2010

Eric Bederman 212-863-5176


Reminds Landlords Of Legal Responsibility To Provide Heat To Tenants

HPD To Increase Number Of Inspection Teams To Deal With Heat Related Issues And Emergencies

 New York, NY - New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero today announced that the agency will be adding additional teams of inspectors this weekend as the temperatures are expected to stay below freezing for Saturday and Sunday, and will have a Supervisor assigned to Office of Emergency Management’s (OEM) Watch Command starting this Friday morning thru Sunday night to respond to heat related emergencies. With the City now well into “Heat Season,” Commissioner Cestero also reminded residential building owners of their legal obligation to provide tenants with hot water year-round and heat when the outdoor temperature warrants it.

2010 has gotten off to a frigid start in New York City with January temperatures averaging 26 degrees with a low of 17 degrees. When the temperatures drop below freezing for prolonged periods of time, HPD intensifies their heat enforcement efforts by routinely deploying additional staff during shifts, as they did for the Christmas and New Year’s holiday weekends. This weekend HPD will effectively double the number of inspection and maintenance teams who will be in constant communication with contractors in order to make emergency repairs when needed. Additionally, HPD will assign a Supervisor to the OEM Watch Command, and continues their close relationship with sister agencies throughout the City to quickly coordinate interagency responses to emergency situations when necessary.

“When the temperature drops in New York City HPD fires up our efforts to ensure that New Yorkers aren’t left out in the cold,” said HPD Commissioner Cestero. “While we are increasing the presence of our inspection and maintenance teams, it is a landlord’s legal responsibility to provide heat for their tenants during the coldest months of the year. When heat goes out in a building it is a health and safety hazard for all of the tenants, and if a landlord doesn’t take action to restore service, HPD will step in and get the job done.”

The 2009/2010 “heat season” began on October 1, 2009 and continues through May 31, 2010. During heat season, residential owners with tenants 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.  Hot water is required to be maintained at 120 degrees.

In order to respond to as quickly as possible to emergencies, HPD fields a team of 304 total inspectors working in shifts, situated in offices throughout all five boroughs to provide coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For situations that warrant the deployment of additional crews, such as prolonged periods of below freezing temperatures, the agency will add additional inspectors, as well as maintenance staff to any given shift, sometimes doubling the normal number to help respond to complaints and emergencies.

“At all hours of the day, on holidays and weekends, and in every type of weather, the dedicated inspectors and maintenance crews at HPD are on the job 24/7 to respond to the tenants of this City. When one building falls into disrepair it can blight an entire neighborhood and cause a domino effect. HPD crews play an integral role in strengthening neighborhoods and preserving affordable housing in New York by keeping buildings up to code, safe, and in livable conditions,” said Commissioner Cestero.

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 the City's Citizen Service Center at 311.Hearing-impaired tenants can call via a Touchtone Device for the Deaf TDD at (212) 504-4115.

HPD will attempt to contact the building's owner to get heat or hot water service restored. If service has not been restored, HPD will send an inspector to the building to verify the complaint and immediately 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) may use in-house staff and private contractors to make the necessary repairs. The cost of the emergency repairs is billed to the private owner and becomes a tax lien on the property if not paid. HPD also may initiate legal action against properties that are issued heat violations, and owners who incur multiple heat violations are subject to litigation seeking maximum litigation penalties and to continued scrutiny on heat and other code deficiencies

During the 2008/2009 heat season (October 1, 2008 – May 31, 2009):

  • 248,147 heat and hot water problems were reported to the City through 311.
  • HPD inspectors made 139,472 heat related inspections.
  • HPD inspectors wrote 14,108 heat related violations.
  • HPD completed a total of $6.1 million in heat related emergency repairs (charged to building owners).
  • HPD filed 4,016 heat cases in court and collected $2,244,260 in fines.

To date, during the 2009/2010 heat season (October 1, 2009 – January 1, 2010):

  • 105,706 heat and hot water problems were reported to the City through 311.
  • HPD inspectors made 37,704 heat related inspections.
  • HPD inspectors wrote 4,292heat related violations.
  • HPD completed a total of $1 million in heat related emergency repairs (charged to building owners).
  • HPD filed 1,043 heat cases in court and collected $727,838 in fines.


NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

HPD’s mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. It is the nation's largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg's New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing, HPD also actively promotes the preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. For more information visit


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