Imagine being an employee at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development tasked with fielding customer complaints. Workers there were contacted by disgruntled consumers nearly 238,000 times last year — just on heat-related concerns.
It gets cold in the city, of course, with it being hardly surprising that virtually every apartment dweller notices quite quickly when landlords and building managers are not playing nice with the heat.
In some instances, falling temperatures in a city apartment can give rise to legal complaints, given that there is a so-called “heat season” law operative across New York City when the thermometer starts to plunge in autumn.
As noted in a recent article discussing city heating requirements applicable to apartments, and tenants’ corresponding rights, heating season kicks in on October 1 each year and runs through May 31.
Without getting into the details here, there are quite specific temperature-related requirements imposed upon building managers/owners, which are pegged to both outside temperature and time of day. Many online sources provide precise information, including this website overview of landlords’ heat-season duties.
Tenants of course have every reasonable expectation that their dwellings are habitable, which implies an uninterrupted presence of heat and sufficiently hot running water. That they expect landlords to perform and are not hesitant to spotlight unreasonable behavior is certainly evidenced by the high number of complaints from last year cited above. Moreover, the aforementioned article notes that more than 1,000 complaints were lodged within a week of heat season’s 2016 commencement earlier this month.
Filing a complaint with the city is certainly a valid option for any suffering apartment denizen, provided that it brings reasonably prompt and adequate relief.
That is far from routinely being the case. An apartment dweller with material heat-related concerns or having issues with any other dwelling deficiencies that owe to a landlord’s bad faith or negligent/indifferent behavior might reasonably want to reach out without delay to a law firm with a demonstrated record of strong advocacy on behalf of New York City tenants.