Since “heat season” started this October, 35,770 complaints have been made to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development as of the start of this week. That’s almost 5,000 more reports year-to-date compared to 2021.
Until the end of next May, landlords are required to keep indoor temperatures above 68 degrees between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. if outdoor weather dips under 55 degrees—during the night, inside temperatures need to be north of 62 degrees. The HPD recommends reaching out to landlords for heating issues first before filing a complaint to 311.
In addition to New York City’s right-to-shelter laws, Code Blue drop-in centers are available if temperatures drop below 32 degrees between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. And anyone can enter a city shelter for the night without typical intake procedures.
Propane and kerosene space heaters are banned in New York City, but electric ones can be used away from flammable items.
While the cold weekend is met with clear skies this upcoming weekend in the city, winter storms are arriving in other parts of the state. The State Attorney General Office issued a warning against price gougers looking to make a quick buck off the frigid weather.
“Taking advantage of consumers during emergencies will not be tolerated,” said State Attorney General James. “As New Yorkers prepare for the heavy winter storm, this is a reminder that retailers cannot hike prices to profit off emergencies. I urge New Yorkers to remain vigilant as the storm passes and encourage anyone who believes they are a victim of price gouging to contact my office immediately.”
The Office recommends folks to speak to at least three competing, reputable contracts when searching for storm-related services, along with getting everything in writing, negotiating a pay schedule and getting references.
Report a heating violation online at https://portal.311.nyc.gov/
Price gouging complaints can be reported to the AG’s Office online or by calling 800-771-7755.
Tandy Lau is a Report for America corps member and writes about public safety for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep him writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://bit.ly/amnews1