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Paying for heating when you can't adjust it

Rights for non-regulated tenants

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Paying for heating when you can't adjust it

Postby JingoFresh » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:55 pm

I know that in NYC it isn't illegal for heat to not be included in the rent.

My question is when the heat is not per apartment but per building, and the cost is simply divided per each apartment and passed on, is this legal?

I should also note the heat cannot be adjusted in any way as it is at the building level.

Where could I find some guidelines about this? Everything I have found is talking about when it is legal to turn it on or off, not about paying for it in this situation.
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:33 pm

The Housing Maintenance Code, Article 8 requires that heat be provided by a central source. There are exceptions, but they are limited and detailed.

Heat is usually included in the rent if it comes from a central source. As you're not regulated, I don't see what you describe as being illegal, but it must be detailed in your lease. So first, I would read all the fine print of your lease. Beyond that I don't know where the cost of heat would be considered in any rule or law. You could ask Con Ed about how the heat is provided ini the building, but technically you are not on the account, so I would not expect too much.

As for adjusting the heat, if it's too high or too low, you can complain to the landlord, but I wouldn't expect too much there. Some buildings have installed sensors throughout buildings to regulate heat, but that might be on he riser level.
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Postby JingoFresh » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:37 pm

Interesting, thankyou.

My lease doesn't have too much fine print, it simply says I agree to pay heating costs as added rent, and penalties apply if rent is late

My radiator has a knob to turn that I should be able to adjust it, but I can't and it is always boiling. I was just hoping I'm not paying for heat that I could not turn off, although I guess it doesn't work like that.
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:24 pm

The other thing you can do is investigate if your unit is really (or should be) rent regulated. Do this quietly without letting the LL know you are looking into it. If the bldg has 6+ units (or formerly did), was built before 1974 and is not a condo/coop, then there's a chance it could be rent regulated. It's not a slam dunk by any means as the unit might have been properly deregulated due to high rent/high income deregulation, but it's worth looking into. First thing is to get a rent history from DHCR.
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:44 pm

The OP also asked (moving it to this thread)

When a lease is about to expire, can the landlord ask you to leave if there have been no problems of any kind?

If there have been no problems of any kind, does the tenant have the right to automatically renew the lease?
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Postby JingoFresh » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:47 pm

I thought it made more sense to have a thread per issue, so that other people can comment and post experiences specific to that issue if they need to.

A right to remain after lease expiry has nothing to do with legality and method of charging for heating, for example.

Not complaining or defending, just explaining why I made them separate threads :)
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:52 pm

On this and the previous question.

You need to educate your self or LL's will walk all over you.

When you sign a lease, it's for a set time to start and set time to stop. When the lease ends, it can be renewed, or you can month-to-month if the LL continues to accept your rent, or the LL can demand you leave. You can go along with the LL, or you can contest it if the LL takes you to court.

As you are not regulated, you do not have a, automatic right to a lease renewal. That depends on the LL. The LL does not have to give you any reason.

Check the lease; the LL might have to give you notice. If you are already month-to-month, in NYC the LL has to give 30 days notice.

If your lease ends Dec. 31, ask the LL if he will renew the lease, or if you can stay. If not, then you should start looking for a new place. It does NOT mean you have to leave by Jan. 1. You can negotiate, you can send in rent (at the old level and see if the LL takes it). The LL can evict you legally ONLY by going to court.

While going to court can be daunting, and can get you on the blacklist, you can probably buy some time in the process. It would take the LL a few weeks to get a court proceeding underway. He has to serve you with papers and get court dates.

Unless the situation is horrible, I would suggest trying to negotiate. Believe me, it's better to move in warmer weather.
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Postby JingoFresh » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:55 pm

Thanks...I will try and do some more research about the building.
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Postby TenantNet » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:57 pm

There are broad situations where multiple threads make sense, but in most situations, like yours, if the LL is wanting you to move, it might be related to your complaining about the heat situation. It's not an absolute rule, but here it makes sense to address it all in one place (but we reserve the right to change our minds).
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Postby JingoFresh » Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:00 pm

I haven't complained yet and just got hit with my first heat bill...just trying to figure out if I should take action, and if it was legal or not.
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