Fewer heat complaints in NYC, but chilliest renters are remaining that way

The bomb cyclone of 2018 is believed to be the reason for a dip in 311 calls about a lack of heat in 2019. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

With temperatures over the weekend and stretching into Monday and Tuesday feeling absolutely bone-chilling, it may seem hard to believe that the amount of heat complaints made by New Yorkers this year is dwarfed by the number of similar calls made last year by the same time period. The reason is most likely that last year, there was the “bomb cyclone” causing heat-related 311 calls to spike.

RentHop, an apartment listings service, has been conducting annual studies to determine which neighborhoods in New York have the most freezing renters based on the volume of 311 calls about lack of heat. What they have found, in comparing the 2019 data to 2018, is that it’s mostly the same neighborhoods each year with a direct correlation showing neighborhoods with rents lower than the city’s median (around $3,000 for a one-bedroom unit) producing more heat complaints.

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) as well as a formula that “normalizes,” taking into account that some neighborhoods are bigger than others by calculating unique complaints per 1,000 rental units. The study also looked at the average asking rents of one-bedroom apartment listings in 2018.

This year’s worst neighborhood was the same as last year’s, Erasmus in Brooklyn with 86.5 normalized complaints, down from 117.5 last year or 1,081 actual complaints this year vs. 670 when de-duped. Median rent for a one-bedroom is $2,140.

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Study shows far more heat complaints in East Village than ST

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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.

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