Depending on the circumstances, a landlord’s failure to provide hear or hot water is illegal, and unfortunately it is not an uncommon problem in NY. According to ny.curbed.com, In 2017 there were 21,894 complaints about heat or hot water in New York City in just one week.
Landlords in New York have to meet certain requirements in regards to the implied warranty of habitability. If your landlord is not meeting their requirements, this is considered landlord negligence.
Heat and Hot Water Requirements in New York
Tenants in New York must have access to a reasonable amount of hot water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at a minimum constant temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are unsure if you have access to a reasonable amount of hot water, consult a landlord negligence lawyer who understands the NY housing code and has dealt with many similar cases in their time.
As for heat, it is only required between October 1 and May 31. Between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., if it is below 55 degrees outside, the inside temperature must be at least 68 degrees. Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., the inside temperature must be at least 62 degrees.
What if You Have No Heat or Hot Water?
If you are suffering without heat or hot water or believe you have been injured or fallen seriously ill because of your lack of access, you may be able to seek legal action. The first step is to complain to the landlord or building manager. Calling or speaking to them in person should hopefully resolve the issue. If not, send a certified letter as a follow up to them as well. This shows that you have proof of the initial complaint. If nothing changes, you can lodge a 311 complaint. You can find information about doing so here.
After lodging a complaint, an inspector from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will go to the building and issue a violation. If your landlord does not respond to the violation within a certain time, they could face fines of up to $1,000. According to the HPD’s website, heat and hot water violations must be rectified immediately after the violation is issued, to avoid accruing civil penalties.
If you file a complaint and no action is taken, your next step may be to take legal action. Your lawyer can assess the situation and advise you of your rights. Do not take any action, such as withholding rent, until you get legal advice.
Get Legal Help from a Brooklyn Landlord Negligence Lawyer
If you are a renter in New York, your landlord has the legal obligation to ensure that your living space is habitable. This includes making sure that you have a reasonable amount of hot water 24/7 and heat during certain times of the year.
If you are suffering through a cold, or a more serious condition you believe is tied to your lack of hot water or heat, exercise your legal right and connect with the Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum. Call our Brooklyn office at (718) 237-5586 to schedule a consultation.