By Sabina Mollot
With temperatures that now feel downright tropical in comparison to the deep freeze of last month, it may be hard to imagine that the first week of the year was a record breaker for heat complaints.
However, according to a study conducted by RentHop, an apartment listings service, the “bomb cyclone” on January 4 contributed to 30,000 complaints being made by New Yorkers during the first week of the year about a lack of heat in their homes. The study was based solely on complaints made to 311 and the number was about the same as heat complaints during the first week of the year from the previous three years combined.
The study also noted that neighborhoods with the most complaints were less expensive ones and many were also high-complaint areas last year. The study also came up with a formula that “de-dupes” or ignores duplicate complaints (more than one from one address on the same day) and also “normalizes,” taking into account that some neighborhoods are bigger than others by calculating complaints per 1,000 units. The study also determined which apartments were priciest by looking at the average asking rents of one-bedroom apartment listings in 2017. In doing so, RentHop found that Erasmus in Brooklyn had the most complaints in its’ “de-duped, normalized” formula at 117.5 that week, higher than the previous year’s 79.9 complaints. One-bedroom apartments in this area go for $1,750. There were 1,516 actual complaints.
The worst offender in Manhattan was Hamilton Heights at 92.9, worse than 79.8 the year before. There, actual complaints were even higher at 2,647. Median rent for a one-bedroom in this neighborhood is $1,950. The fewest complaints came from Annadale-Huguenot-Prince’s Bay in Staten Island with 2.4 (eight actual), where the median rent is $3,237.
Here’s the breakdown for Stuyvesant Town, Gramercy, Kips Bay, Kips Bay and the East Village:
Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village had 8.9, up from seven last year (99 actual complaints this time, 93 de-duped). Median rent is $3,455.
Murray Hill and Kips Bay together had 18, up from 16 (416 actual, 327 de-duped). Median rent is $3,195.
Gramercy had 25.5, up from 19.5 last year (386 actual complaints this year, 253 de-duped.) Median rent is $3,200.
The East Village had 29.4, up slightly from 28 (731 actual, 573 de-duped). Median rent is $2,895.
The citywide average for complaints was 39.5 unique complaints per 1,000 units (57.3 complaints including duplicates), according to RentHop.
The company’s conclusion is that year after year, “The same landlords in the same areas aren’t adequately heating their buildings, and the same Department of Housing isn’t doing enough to make sure these people aren’t cold. One can only imagine how the person or persons at these addresses making hundreds of calls must feel. Year after year, cold and seemingly screaming into the wind for help.”
During heat season, October 1 to May 31, landlords must provide heat for all tenants. From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. if it’s below 55 degrees outside, the inside must be at least 68 degrees. Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., if the temperature falls below 40 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 55 degrees.