On Monday, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams held a rally on the steps of City Hall calling 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 nighttime temperature trigger, which normally prompt when inside heating should kick in.
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 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.
In order for Intro. 0722 to move forward, the Administration must conduct an environmental impact study. The City Council has been waiting for the review since March 2016, and to date the City has not given an expected start date.
Intro 0722 would raise 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."
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.