Keeping Tenants Warm in Cold Weather

Heat and hot water are necessities, not optional amenities. When the temperature goes down, it is necessary to provide these staples to tenants.

Winter still has weeks to go, and the end of heat season is even farther away. The 2017-18 Heat Season lasts from October 1st through May 31st. During this time, you are legally required to keep temperatures above a certain point for your tenants.

Indoor Temperatures

Daytime (6 A.M. – 10 P.M.)

When it’s below 55°F (12°C) outdoors, it must be at least 68°F (20°C) indoors:

Nighttime (10 P.M. – 6 A.M.)

It must be at least 62°F (17°C) indoors the whole night.

Hot Water

Hot water needs to be available every day of the year, at a minimum of 120°F (49°C). Devices that need to have this water temperature are baths, sinks, showers. In addition, an anti-scald feature must be added to any valve to these devices, for new bathrooms or when water-supply renovations are done. This prevents tenants from being harmed by water getting above 120°F. The minimum temperate that can come out, in this case, is 110°F (43°C).


Tenants are able to call 311 and report the building for not providing adequate services. If this occurs, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will come to investigate the situation. If they find you’re not in compliance, then you must attend an OATH hearing, and receive fines if found guilty.

The fines you can receive are as follows:

  • $250-$500 per day for the first heat/hot water violation
  • $500-$1,000 per day after the first heat/hot water violation
  • $200 per inspection (Oct. – May for Heat Season, or one calendar year for Hot Water) after a second heat/hot water violation is issued

The penalty may be able to be satisfied by fixing the outstanding violation within 24 hours of it being issued. A Notice of Correction should be submitted here, and a $250 fee must be paid within 10 days.


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