Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Tuesday, October 5, 1999

Release #391-99

Contact: Sunny Mindel/Curt Ritter 212-788-2958 Carol Abrams 212-863-5176 (HPD)


Remind Landlords of Their Responsibility To Provide Adequate Heat and Hot Water Announce City's 24-Hour Hotline To Field Tenant Complaints

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Richard T. Roberts today kicked off the 1999-2000 Heat Season by reminding New York City landlords of their responsibility to provide heat and hot water, 24 hours-a-day, to their tenants when the outdoor temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The Mayor and Commissioner also announced a 24-hour hotline New Yorkers can call if they are not receiving adequate heat and hot water.

"With the cold weather just around the corner, we are reminding landlords throughout the City of their responsibility to provide their tenants with adequate heat and hot water," said Mayor Giuliani. "In addition, we are encouraging tenants to contact HPD's Central Complaint Bureau at 212-960-4800 if their landlords aren't providing them with adequate heat, or hot water. Last year, HPD received more than 140,000 heat and hot water complaints and thanks to the efforts of Commissioner Roberts, HPD is now taking aggressive steps to ensure that landlords correct these problems or face prosecution."

The 1999-2000 Heat Season officially began on October 1st and continues through May 31, 2000. During this period, owners of privately-owned multiple dwellings throughout the City 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., whenever the outdoor temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. From 10:00 P.M. to 6.00 A.M., landlords must maintain an indoor temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit when the outdoor temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the tenant is unsuccessful in contacting the building owner, managing agent or superintendent to report problems with their heat or hot water, they can contact HPD's Citywide Central Complaint Bureau (CCB) at 212-960-4800, 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week, 365 days a year. Hearing impaired individuals can contact the CCB thorough a Text Telephone TTY at 212-316-8295. For information log on to HPD's web page at

"Our goal is to educate New York's tenants about their rights during the winter months and remind landlords about their responsibilities," said Commissioner Roberts. "We're also putting landlords with a history of heat problems on notice, and providing them with education and assistance to encourage compliance. Those who continue to violate the law will be brought to court and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

In the event that an owner fails to restore heat and hot water, or when HPD is unable to contact the owner, HPD's Emergency Repair Program (ERP) uses in-house staff and private contractors to make emergency repairs to restore essential services. The cost of these repairs is then billed to the owner and eventually becomes a tax lien on the property if it is not paid. During Fiscal Year 1999, the ERP made $8.8 million in repairs to restore necessary services or make emergency repairs in buildings throughout the City. In addition, HPD's Housing Litigation Bureau prosecutes owners who incur repeat heat violations and seeks maximum litigation penalties. In Fiscal Year 1999 HPD filed suit against 1,800 owners.

In addition to its enforcement strategy, HPD identifies owners who want to provide services, but lack the required knowledge and training, and through the Housing Litigation Bureau, administers an alternate heat-training program, in lieu of fines, for first time heat litigants. Last year HPD initiated a training program targeting building owners who were issued heat and hot water violations during the previous heat season. These owners attended seminars where they learned proper heating plant operations and received information on how to responsibly reduce heating expenses while maintaining adequate heat services.

During last year's heat season, HPD's Central Complaint Bureau received a total of 140,892 heat and hot water complaints. When a CCB operator receives a complaint HPD attempts to contact the building's landlord or managing agent to get heat or hot water service restored. Prior to sending an HPD code inspector to the building, HPD contacts the tenant to determine if service has been restored. If it has not been restored, an HPD inspector is sent to the building to verify the complaint and issue a violation. Last year, HPD inspectors conducted 51,503 heat and hot water inspections, resulting in 11,597 violations.

HPD also offers a number of seminars to owners interested in learning how to better maintain their properties, on topics including how to improve heat efficiency techniques, how to effectively deal with building finances and how to care for the building's physical plant. Owners interested in these seminars should contact HPD's Housing Education Program at 212-863-8830. In addition, HPD is currently developing a training video on the techniques of proper boiler maintenance.

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.

Go to Press Releases | Giuliani Archives | Mayor's Office | Home Page
Contact Us | FAQs | Privacy Statement | Site Map