Winter has finally arrived in New York City, sparking another Bill de Blasio-Andrew Cuomo spat—this time over who has or needs the power to remove homeless people from the street to protect them from frigid temperatures.
But being inside doesn’t necessarily mean being warm enough: Since October 1, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has received just shy of 80,000 complaints about landlords failing to provide enough heat; 1200 heat complaints came in on Sunday alone.
Under the city’s Housing and Maintenance Code, residential property owners have to provide hot water (meaning wet stuff with an average temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit) 365 days a year. During the October 1 to May 31 “heat season,” if it’s below 55 degrees during the day it has to be at least 68 degrees inside, and it’s below 40 degrees at night it must be 55 degrees inside.
The unseasonably—some might say disgustingly—warm weather so far this season has meant 16 percent fewer heat complaints compared with the same period last year, according to an HPD tracking tool. The busiest day so far for the agency was October 18, when it fielded more than 3,200 complaints. Not surprisingly, weather records indicate that was the first day since last winter that daytime and evening temps dipped below the respective 55-degree and 40-degree cutoffs.
Over the past 15 years, HPD has logged nearly 1.7 million heat and hot water complaints. Fiscal 2015, which ended last July, saw the highest number of complaints in six years, though landlords received violations in a smaller-than-typical share of those cases.
|Year||Heat/hot water complaints||Heat/hot water violations issued||Enforcement rate|