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NYC has a backlog of open heat and hot water complaints

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HPD says the backlog owes to multiple record-breaking cold spells last winter

More than one quarter of heat and hot water violations in buildings outside of the city’s public housing system on record with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development have been on file since 2017, according to city data gleaned by AM New York.

There are 1,253 heat and hot water violations currently open at 906 buildings outside of the city’s public housing system, 330 of which were initially issued in 2017. The city will issue a violation at an address after a heating or hot water issue is raised with the city by a tenant, and HPD finds the landlord isn’t meeting city standards after they’ve been notified.

According to HPD, the standards for heat require that between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature must be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., the inside temperature is required to be at least 62 degrees Fahrenheit. Landlords must also provide hot water 365 days a year at a constant minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many of the open violations from last year stem from multiple record-breaking cold spells, HPD Deputy Commissioner AnnMarie Santiago told AM New York. One particularly cold week last year led to a whopping 21,894 heat complaints. Some buildings hold multiple violations, accrued when a landlord does nothing to remedy the issue after the first violation.

When an infraction is reported and the issue isn’t immediately resolved by the landlord after they’re contacted by HPD, the department sends inspectors to gain entry to and report back on the situation. If inspectors don’t gain access after multiple trips, HPD seeks a warrant to access the properties.

The Bronx and Brooklyn had the most buildings with heat violations that were first reported in 2017, with 44 and 41 respectively. Brooklyn also had 92 residences with hot water violations first reported in 2017, making it the borough with the most reported.

AM New York mapped the violations with a database including building address, the number of violations open at the building from 2017 to 2018, and the kind of violation. Violations can also be searched by address, borough, zip code, complaint type, and year.

Read more here on how to report inadequate heat and/or hot water from a landlord to HPD here.