Experts offer advice for tenants without home heating

Posted: Updated:
THE BRONX -

With temperatures dropping sharply for the next few days, tenants should know their rights when it comes to heat and hot water issues.

Many residents have readied themselves with warm clothes and coats, but malfunctioning home heating systems can be dangerous.

Experts say tenants should make sure their heat works before it gets cold. If it doesn't, call 311 and file a complaint.

It's required by law for landlords to provide heat between Oct. 1 and May 31. Landlords must legally provide hot water all year round.

If repairs are taking too long, organizations like the Community Association for Safe Apartments, also known as CASA, might be able to help with lawsuits and other organized actions.

CASA has helped tenants organize to counter landlords who may be neglecting them, according to Marilyn Mullins, a Highbridge resident who says she worked with the organization when her landlord lagged behind on repairs.

"I'm here, I made this my home, and I pay my rent -- so I think I am entitled to the services that I am paying for," she says.

Renter advocates say people should document all of their problems with photos -- including of the reading on thermostats and thermometers in their apartments in case they do end up in housing court.

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