Heat in New York apartments--what is the landlord responsible for?
December 8, 2010 9:35 AM   Subscribe

I know New York housing laws mandate that landlords keep apartments heated under certain conditions--does this mean they must keep the apartment at that heat, or does it mean that they have to make a heating option available?

I recently moved in to a new apartment in New York, and now that it's finally winter, have started to think about turning on the heater. Here's the issue: the apartment, without heating on, is about 45 degrees at night and in the morning, which is clearly under the temperature that New York laws allow. We do have individual heaters in each of the rooms, but they add to our gas bill.

So here's the main question: when New York laws state that the landlord must provide heat up to a certain level, does that mean that they have to keep it at a certain temperature, or does it mean that they can provide a heater that's capable of doing that for us?

And a secondary question: do riders to leases override state housing laws? One of the riders we signed says this: ALL UTILITIES, "INCLUDING HEAT, COST WILL BE INDIVIDUALLY METERED TO THE TENANTS APARTMENT. ALL PAYMENTS FOR THESE COSTS ARE THE TENANTS RESPONSIBILITY."

Is this a problem?

Thank you all so much!
posted by thelatermonths to Society & Culture (7 answers total)
I don't know if you're referring to New York State or New York City, but if it is NYC, call 311 and ask them these questions. They can point you in the right direction.
posted by dfriedman at 9:39 AM on December 8, 2010

Response by poster: Yup, NYC. Thanks for the tip.
posted by thelatermonths at 9:43 AM on December 8, 2010

Those rules about heat are actually city rules.
posted by Jahaza at 9:46 AM on December 8, 2010

Best answer: 311. But I believe the rule is if they provide you with individual heaters they are only obligated to ensure they work, but do not have to pay for the fuel/electricity unless mandated in your lease. If its central heat, then its 55 at night. this only applies in NYC.

Here is applicable rule
posted by JPD at 9:49 AM on December 8, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks all for the responses! Looks like I don't have any legitimate grounds for complaint here, but I appreciate the help!
posted by thelatermonths at 9:53 AM on December 8, 2010

I totally sympathize, as I lived for a while in a NYC apartment with (shitty) gas heaters that I had to pay to fuel.

One thing you should do is make dead certain that you meter downstairs is fitted to YOUR APARTMENT ALONE. You never know what shenanigans you find down there, and in our case it turned out our apartment actually had two separate meters, because it used to actually be two separate units. When the gas company discovered the second meter, we had to pay a LOT of money retroactively for the gas we'd used the previous winter.
posted by hermitosis at 10:02 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, it's only in older buildings that "heat and hot water" are included in the rent. In a lot of newer buildings, it's just part of your utilities, usually because it's gas or electric heat, & individual water heaters, rather than a building wide boiler. So just like they have to give you access to electricity, they have to include access to heat and hot water, but they don't have to include the cost of it in your rent (and remember if they did, your rent would just be higher - so in a way you have the benefit of having control over it so that you can keep the cost down, if you want).
posted by mdn at 12:06 PM on December 8, 2010

« Older Do I really need to balance accounts?   |   How to view the BSG Resistance webisodes? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.