Contact: Vania Andre, 917-608-8784

Dec. 13, 2016


Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (center) stands with Senator Bill Perkins (left), Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (right) and tenant advocates during Monday's rally. Photo Credit: Vania Andre, NYC Council 

NEW YORK, NY : On Dec. 12, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams , Deputy Leader, and Chair of the Housing and Buildings Committee, held a rally on the steps of City Hall to call for the Administration to move forward with Intro 0722, which amends the minimum temperature to be maintained in residential dwellings overnight. The bill would also remove the outside day time and night timetemperature trigger, which normally prompt when inside heating should kick in. 

Council Member Williams was joined by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Senator Bill Perkins, the Flatbush Tenant Coalition, Housing and Family Services of Greater New York, and impacted New Yorkers from Midwood Senior Center.

"Most people don't realize how cold it has to be outside to legally be able to get heat," said Council Member Williams. "We focused on what we have the ability to focus on, which was the nighttime temperature. Right now in order to get heat, it has to be 40 Degrees outside, and inside it has to be 55 Degrees, which is not a comfortable temperature. There are a lot of seniors and young people who cannot deal with 55 Degrees. It's very confusing for tenants who think they're supposed to receive additional heat.

"We've spent nine months trying to get information on when the environmental study will start and that's unacceptable. I'm appreciative that the Administration has verbally committed to this study, however, words without action mean nothing."

In order for Intro. 0722 to move forward, the Administration must conduct an environmental impact study. The City Council has been waiting for this review since March 2016, and to date the City has not given an expected start date. 

As we enter the full-fledged winter season, 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 enough 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 the hours of 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.

"Winter is here, and too many New Yorkers are cold in their homes when they don't have to be," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Our bill would increase temperature minimums, and make heat enforcement simpler and fairer. New Yorkers have been waiting more than eight months for the impact study needed before we pass this bill, and we don't even have a timeline yet. The administration shouldn't keep New Yorkers waiting in the cold."

"Adequate heat is a matter of health and safety that poses daily risks to thousands of New York City's tenants. Our City must be committed to doing all it can to ensure apartments are sufficiently warm for our children and families, including studying an increase in minimum temperatures during the heating season as well as exploring innovative sensor technology to monitor the behavior of bad-acting landlords," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. "I applaud Council Member Williams' continuing commitment to the welfare of our city's tenant population."

Midwood Senior Center Vice President Lenox Hudson (center) standing with Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (left), Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (back right) and housing advocates. Photo Credit: Vania Andre, NYC Council

There have been more than 65,000 heat complaints already for this current number heat season, which runs from October 1 to May 31. Owners who fail to maintain heat at the current 55 Degrees overnight are subject to civil penalties ranging from $250 - $1,000 per day for heat violations.

"It's important that seniors have the right temperature because they are the ones suffering, and it lead to other kinds of health issues," said Vice President of Midwood Senior Center Lenox Hudson. "No one should have to live like this, and so it is my hope that this bill gets passed as soon as possible."

"I fear for long-term tenants, who have been here for many years," said Patricia George, Tenant Leader for Flatbush Tenants Coalition. "There is no reason why we should have to complain about getting adequate heat, it should be our right."

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