On May 30, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed Intro 0722, which amends the minimum temperature to be maintained in residential dwellings overnight. The bill, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, would also remove the outside day and night temperature trigger, which normally prompt when inside heating should kick in.
“Sufficient heat is a quality of life issue that cannot be ignored in the larger conversation of tenants’ rights. Currently, outdoor temperatures have to be 40 degrees to require a landlord to turn on the heat, and even then the minimum indoor temperature mandates is only 55 degrees,” said Council Member Williams. “I don’t think many people realize just how cold that is. There are a lot of seniors and young people who cannot deal with 55 degrees, which ends up exposing them to health risks. I’m pleased that I was able to work with the Administration and my colleagues to get this bill passed that will impact thousands of New Yorkers during this next winter season.”
During winter, thousands of New Yorkers struggle to stay warm. Tenants have a right to adequate heat from October 1 to May 31; yet the current heat mandates are not sufficient for a number of residents, who still complain they grapple to keep warm. Intro 0722 is essential to remedying this problem by raising the inside temperature to 62 degrees (up from 55) between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Under this bill, the outside temperature trigger of 40 degrees would be removed, thus allowing for a minimum temperature of 62 degrees at all times, regardless of outside temperature.
Last winter, there were 65,000 heat complaints. Owners who fail to maintain heat at the current 55 degrees overnight are subject to civil penalties from $250-$1,000 per day. “It’s important that seniors have the right temperature because they are the ones suffering, and it leads to other kinds of health issues,” said Vice President of Midwood Senior Center Lenox Hudson. “No one should have to live like this.”
Intro 722 goes into effect October 1, 2017.