Study shows far more heat complaints in East Village than ST

2015-10-20 12.50.57

Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

In case you’re wondering how your building, or the whole neighborhood for that measure, compares to others in terms of heat complaints, apartment listings site RentHop has compiled a map based on complaint calls to 311 made during the last heat season.

According to its data on unique callers, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village residents made a measly 56 complaints, in comparison with East Villagers who made over seven times that many at 396. The Murray Hill-Kips Bay area also had significantly fewer with 144 calls while Gramercy residents made 119 calls. Lower East Siders made 160, Chinatown 213.

The coldest New Yorkers hailed from lower-income neighborhoods such as Washington Heights in Manhattan (1,935 in the north and south sections) and Crown Heights in Brooklyn (1,382 in the north and south sections). But along with the East Village, another pricey Manhattan neighborhood where residents said they lacked adequate heat was the Upper West Side with a total of 629 complaints.

Additionally, areas marked on the map by red dots of varying size represented specific buildings where there were numerous complaints. New Yorkers can see how their building or others stand online through a tool at the HPD website.

Information on addresses and neighborhoods wasn’t available for this season, but considering the unusually warm weather this month, it’s likely there haven’t been much in the way of complaints at all.

Still, during any year, New York City’s department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) defines the period between October 1 and May 31 as “Heat Season.” During this time, landlords must keep apartments at above 68 degrees from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. if the temperature outside is below 55 degrees. At night, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., if it’s outside 40 degrees outside, the temperature inside must be above 55 degrees.

Earlier this year, the HPD reported getting 115,848 unique calls (228,796 including duplicates) last heat season. In response, the department issued 9,214 violations and collected $1,855,293 in fines.

The HPD also completed over $4 million in emergency heat-related repairs – charged to building owners.

As for the stats reported for Stuyvesant Town, Susan Steinberg, the president of the Tenants Association, said the TA did in fact receive fewer heat complaints last year than usual.

However, she noted, “It could be because tenants know enough to call 311 directly rather than starting with the Tenants Association.”

When compiling the data, RentHop co-founder Lee Lin said the most surprising thing was the tight correlation of low temperature and complaints.

“We set out thinking that the most complaints would be on the marginally cold days, right around 50-55 degrees, because we expected most landlords and supers would know to turn up the heat on the absolutely cold days (40 and below),” Lin said in an email. “Instead, as we see in the data, the spike of complaints rises ever higher as things get colder.  It would seem some landlords are intent on saving every ounce of energy they can.”

As for the high number of complaints from the East Village, Lin theorized that this was due to the fact that the neighborhood has many “older buildings and pre-war constructions and (and very few modern high rises).”

To view the map, visit the website.

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