HPD Announces Start of the 2020-2021 "Heat Season" in New York City

October 1, 2020

HPD general media inquiries: hpdmedia@hpd.nyc.gov
Press Secretary, Jeremy House: housej@hpd.nyc.gov

As “heat season” begins, the city reminds tenants, owners and landlords of temperature requirements for all apartments, and the availability of financial assistance for owner-occupied properties.

Last heat season, HPD inspectors worked through the pandemic to conduct over 100,000 heat and hot water inspections.

NEW YORK, NY – The Department of Housing Preservation and Development today announces the start of New York City’s “heat season,” during which all residential building owners are required to maintain indoor temperatures at 68 degrees when outdoor temperatures fall below 55 degrees during the day. Indoor temperatures must also be a minimum of 62 degrees overnight, regardless of outdoor temperatures. Building owners are legally required to provide hot water at 120 degrees year-round.

During the last heat season, HPD inspectors continued critical health and safety operations for New York households in the height of local COVID-19 outbreak, conducting over 100,000 heat and hot water inspections. 

“HPD Housing Inspectors and Emergency Repair staff are among the unsung heroes of this crisis, carrying out inspections and emergency repairs for the most serious conditions in the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.  We will continue to rely on their dedication this coming winter as they work to ensure heat and hot water is provided as required by law,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “If your apartment is without heat or hot water during the cold weather months, report it to your landlord. If the condition is not corrected, report it to 311. HPD takes every complaint seriously and will hold owners accountable to the law.”

"Autumn weather is here and freezing temperatures will be here before we know it," said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) , Chair of the Assembly's Housing Committee. "To ensure a safe winter for all, it's important for both tenants and landlords to understand the city's heat season requirements and to know what to do in the event of a heat or hot water issue."

“As we continue our efforts to protect New Yorkers during this pandemic, it is essential that we get the basics right, including ensuring that everyone has access to safe and decent living conditions,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh, chair of the Senate Housing Committee. “So it’s a good time to remind tenants and landlords that our heat and hot water laws are in effect. I commend the Department of Housing Preservation and Development for stepping up their efforts to enforce these laws, to help keep city residents safe and secure in their homes.”

The 2020-2021 “heat season” begins on Thursday, October 1st, 2020 and continues through Sunday, May 31st, 2021.

If an apartment lacks appropriate heat and/or hot water, tenants should first attempt to notify the building owner, managing agent or superintendent. If service is not restored, the tenant should register an official complaint via 311. To file a complaint, tenants can call 311, visit 311 online or use the app 311Mobile (on Android and iOS devices) to file a complaint. Hearing-impaired tenants can register complaints via a Touchtone Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (212) 504-4115.

Enforcing heat and hot water laws is just one of the many ways HPD Housing Inspectors help keep New Yorkers in safe and secure homes. From 2018 to 2019, HPD’s enforcement team conducted 1.4 million inspections and issued 1.1 million violations, for everything from heat to lead-based paint to mold and pests. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HPD Inspectors have continued to respond to complaints across the five boroughs, taking the necessary safety precautions to ensure critical housing needs are being addressed while families spend significant time home.  HPD levies fees, penalties and conducts emergency repairs as warranted to ensure households have essential heat and hot water services.

HPD responds to heat and hot water complaints as quickly as possible. The average time from complaint to inspection improved to 2.1 days, speeding up by a full day between FY18 and FY19. Multiple complaints from a particular building can and are often the result of one condition in need of repair. HPD encourages tenants to check the HPD webpage to learn the result of the complaint. Tenants can also receive complaint status updates via text if a phone number is provided when a complaint is submitted. If a landlord fails to provide heat entirely, HPD’s Emergency Repair Program or Housing Litigation Division will intervene to seek the restoration of heat.

To prevent serious health issues related to indoor hypothermia, individuals in homes or apartments without heat should protect themselves by wearing warm layers of clothing, staying hydrated, and ensuring there is an adequate amount of safe heat. Use of auxiliary heating can be dangerous. To learn more about keeping warm this winter, visit the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) website to view their interactive, online infographic

Low-income property owners having trouble maintaining heat in their homes should contact the Home Energy Assistance Program at 1-800-692-0557. Eligible households can learn more information about assistance in paying heating bills or repairing heating equipment.

During the 2019-2020 “Heat Season” (October 1st 2019 – May 31st 2020):

  • 170,171 total heat and hot water problems were reported to the City through 311 (this number includes duplicate calls), a decrease of 27 percent as compared to the previous “Heat Season.”
    • 98,320 unique heat and hot water problems were reported (this number does not include duplicate calls).
  • HPD inspectors attempted 104,052 heat and/or hot water inspections (this number includes multiple inspection attempts in response to a complaint). HPD inspectors wrote 3,547 heat and 5,164 hot water violations, which is a decrease of 22 percent and decrease of 10 percent as compared to the previous “Heat Season.”
  • HPD completed a total of $1.1 million in heat-related emergency repairs, such as fuel delivery, boiler repairs or hot water repairs.  All ERP costs are billed to the property.
  • HPD filed 1,662 heat cases in court and collected $634,497 in civil penalties. An additional $196,000 was collected in heat settlement penalties.
  • HPD collected $195,727 in heat inspection fees.

Top Community Board In Each Borough for Primary Heat/Hot Water Complaints
[Please note: this contains duplicate complaints]


  • CB 12
    Complaint total: 11,954 | Peak Month December 2019 (2,401)


  • CB 5
    Complaint total: 10,243 | Peak Month November 2019 (1,998) 


  • CB 14
    Complaint total: 5,850 | Peak Month November 2019 (1,175)


  • CB 4
    Complaint total: 4,510 | Peak Month November 2019 (1,184)

Staten Island

  • CB 1
    Complaint total: Total 1,071 | Peak Month November 2019 (194)