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Where to Complain about the Landlord, Heat,Bugs & Leaks in a Brooklyn Apartment

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If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn residents who live in rented apartments, then from time to time you might encounter a "situation" such as bedbugs, too little or too much heat, or weird smelling water. If you cannot resolve the issue with your landlord, then is there some New York City agency can you appeal to for help? It's the NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development.

Brooklyn Locations for Housing Preservation Dept.

The NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development has two Brooklyn office locations:
  • 701 Euclid Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11208 (718) 827-1942
  • 210 Joralemon Street (Room # 806) Brooklyn, New York 11201 (718) 802-3662

1. How Do I Report Inadequate Heat in My Home? School? Senior Center?

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The NYC Complaint system accepts heat complaints about three kinds of buildings: residential buildings with multiple units, commercial buildings, and non-residential buildings such as senior and day care centers; drug rehab treatment facilities; private schools, and government buildings.

 

 

Inadequate Heat at Home

Between October 1st and May 31st, tenants should get heat as follows:
  • Between 6 AM and 10 PM, when it is below 55 degrees outside, the inside temperature must be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Between 10 PM and 6 AM, when it is below 40 degrees outside, the inside temperature must be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Adequate heat is an essential part of the landlord-tenant deal, so if you aren't getting adequate heat, this cab be reported to the the City. However, try to get the landlord to improve your heating situation because you might have to wait some time to get action from the City.

 

 

How to Complain about a Heat Problem in Your Apartment

  • First talk to your landlord about the heat; keep a record of the temperature during the day and during the evening, and write a letter to the landlord comparing the actual apartment temperatures with what is required by law (see above.)
    If your landlord is unresponsive and is not fixing your heat in a timely fashion, then tenants can file a complaint with NYC through 311.
  • You can file a complaint online with HPD.

2. How Do I File a Bed Bug Complaint?

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Bedbug locator courtesy of NYC Dept. of Health
The yukky bedbug scare of several years ago seems to have passed, or at least slipped out of the news headlines, but these nasty critters can still occasionally pose a problem. If you think you have a bedbug issue, you can call an exterminator. But you can also appeal to the City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development for help about bed bugs in your home, the public schools, New York City Housing Authority apartments, hotels, day care centers, CUNY colleges, and even the NYC subways.

 

They probably won't rid you of your bed bugs, but you can learn how to get rid of them, who has to pay for the exterminator, and how you can check to see if a building has had bed bug complaints.

Information Sources

If you have an itch to know more about these critters, there's good information, compliments of NYC, for Brooklyn bedbug-sufferers, at NYC.gov/bedbugs site. Here you will find more than you ever wanted to know, whether you are a tenant, a property manager or a beleaguered home owner. Find out "how bed bugs thrive, how to recognize and inspect for their presence, steps to take to prevent them from infesting a home, how to safely rid an area of bed bugs if they do occur, and how to select and work with a pest management professional."

 

You can also:

Perhaps the best news of all is this: in 2011, NYC acquired two bed-bug sniffing dogs, Mickey and Nemo, canines that can be deployed (with human inspectors) to respond to 311 calls about bed bugs. These kinds of highly trained dogs can be rented from private companies for hundreds of dollars to find the source of bedbugs in a home. In reality, however, two dogs doesn't seem quite enough to service a population of 9 million — so be prepared to wait, or solve the problem on your own.

3. How Do I Report a Water Problem in my Apartment?

If it's not hot enough, or there isn't water, or there's too much of it, it smells funny, isn't hot enough or is too hot, or other irregularities, then you should report your water problem. (Building owners are required to provide hot water at temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, year round.)

 

 

How to Complain about a Water Problem in Your Apartment

Call a licensed plumber, not the City, if the problem with your water is happening only in one room in your apartment (that is, just a bathroom or kitchen); if the water doesn't run clear after five or ten minutes, or if nobody else in the building is having the same problem.

 

Report a water problem online to the City of New York.

 

Note that New York City's water supply is generally considered one of the cleanest in the nation.

 

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