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Owners on notice over new heat regulations

By Joseph Burden, Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman, LLP

For many years, owners have been obligated to provide heat between October 1 and May 31.

The property owner is required to maintain an indoor temperature of at least 68 degrees between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. when the outdoor temperature falls below 55 degrees.

Between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., owners must maintain an indoor temperature of 55 degrees when the outdoor temperature falls below 40 degrees.

This standard, long in effect, is enforced by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development through complaints made pursuant to 311.

Owners who fail to provide heat according to these standards are subject to fines and further remedies if heat is not immediately restored.

A new wrinkle became effective October 1, 2015.  Local Law 47 went into effect and now requires property owners to provide tenants with 24 hour notice prior to performing work that could cause interruption in heat, hot water, gas or electricity for at least two hours.  If it is an emergency or the interruption is expected to be less than two hours, notice need not be posted.

Owners are required to post a notice in English and Spanish in a common area or prominent location in the building that details the type of work that will be done, as well as the estimated start and end times for the service disruption.

HPD is to prescribe the form of the notice.  The new section does not specify any penalties for failure to post the notice.

While most property owners give notice to their tenants if there is going to be an interruption in such service, it is now a matter of law and the owners must be wary of these new obligations.

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