We’re currently one month through this year’s heat season (October 1, 2016 – May 31, 2017), and the heat is on! That is, it should be on in specific circumstances. Here’s a simple chart to keeping the right temperature in all units across your portfolio:
|Time||If the temperature outside…||The inside temperature is required to be|
|6 AM – 10 PM||Falls below 55 degrees||At least 68 degrees Fahrenheit|
|10 PM – 6 AM||Falls below 40 degrees||At least 55 degrees Fahrenheit|
Heat season is HPD’s busiest time of year – additional inspectors are brought on to respond to all heat-related complaints in a timely manner. Additionally, a larger inspection window is given when a dismissal request is submitted (90 days instead of the typical 45 days).
If a heat violation is issued, it must be corrected within 24 hours of posting
It’s imperative to respond to heat-related complaints as quickly as possible to prevent violations. If a violation is issued, it must be corrected within 24 hours of posting. All heat violations are issued as Class C infractions – the most severe type of violation, subject to additional enforcement.
If the heat violation is the first issued violation since the beginning of the previous heat season, and the violation was corrected within the 24 hour timeframe, the infraction can be satisfied by submitting the heat-specific correction form alongside a payment of $250. You’ll see this on the violation copy if the violation is eligible: “VIOLATION ELIGIBLE FOR PAYMENT OF $250 IN SATISFACTION OF CIVIL PENALTIES.” Submitting a Notice of Correction alongside payment in satisfaction of the civil penalty will prevent commencement of a Housing Court proceeding.
If a heat violation-related proceeding commences in Housing Court, the building owner may be subject to daily penalties, effective from posted date to correction date:
- $250-$500 dollars per day for each initial heat or hot water violation
- $500-$1,000 per day for each subsequent violation at the same building during the same and/or the next calendar year from the initial violation or, in the case of § 27-2029(a), during the same and/or the next heat season
HPD can enforce penalty correction through Judgments. They may also utilize the ERP (Emergency Repair Program) to correct outstanding heat violations, billing the owner for repairs and fees. Unpaid ERP charges could become tax liens against the property.
HPD filed 3,151 heat cases in court and collected $1,691,617 in civil penalties, resulting in an average of $537/case.
To underscore the importance of heat season, here’s some stats from HPD about the 2015 – 2016 season:
- January was the highest month overall in terms of heat-related complaints across all boroughs.
- Manhattan had the highest number of heat-related complaints all season, followed by the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
- 200,199 complaints were called into 311, a 14% drop from the 2014 – 2015 season.
- HPD completed $2.7 million in heat-related emergency repair charges.
It’s a long season, and complaints are called in 24/7 – make sure your team is ready to handle and prevent heat violation escalation!