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New York Utility Rights for Landlords Tenants

HEATING SEASON 

Heat must be supplied from October 1 through May 31, to tenants in multiple dwellings if: a) the outdoor temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, between 6 A.M. and 10 P.M., each apartment must be heated to a temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit; (b) the outdoor temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, between the hours of 10 P.M. and 6 A.M., each apartment must be heated to a temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. (Multiple Dwelling Law § 79)

TRUTH IN HEATING

Before signing a lease requiring payment of individual heating and cooling bills, prospective tenants are entitled to receive from the landlord, a complete set or summary of the past two years' bills. These copies must be provided free upon written request. (Energy Law §17-103)

CONTINUATION OF UTILITY SERVICE

When the landlord of a multiple dwelling is delinquent in paying utility bills, the utility must give advance written notice to tenants and to certain government agencies of its intent to discontinue service. Service may not be discontinued if tenants pay the landlord's current bill directly to the utility company. Tenants can deduct these charges from future rent payments. The Public Service Commission can assist tenants with related problems.

If a landlord of a multiple dwelling fails to pay a utility bill and service is discontinued, tenants can receive payment for damages from the landlord. (Real Property Law § 235-a; Public Service Law §33)

OIL PAYMENTS

Tenants in oil heated multiple dwellings may contract with an oil dealer, and pay for oil deliveries to their building, when the landlord fails to ensure a sufficient fuel supply. These payments are deductible from rent. Local housing officials have lists of oil dealers who will make fuel deliveries under these circumstances. (Multiple Dwelling Law §302-c; Multiple Residence Law §305-c)

Disclaimer: The law is subject to  change and interpretation of the court. The information provided is for reference. Please consult an attorney for further assistance. 

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