(Washington, DC) – Temperatures are already dipping across the District and tenants are looking to their building's owners to provide adequate heat. If landlords don’t respond, the DC Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) can help.
In buildings where tenants do not control setting the heat in their individual units, the heat must be kept at a minimum temperature of sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit (68° F) between 6:30 am and 11 pm. Between 11 pm and 6:30 am, a building’s heat must be kept at a minimum temperature of sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit (65° F).
Building engineers are required to convert their systems from cooled to heated air on October 15 — and from heated to cooled air on May 15. District law does require that minimum temperatures be maintained in living areas during cold weather regardless of the calendar date.
“Be able to keep warm during cold weather is not a luxury, it is a right,” said DCRA Director Linda K. Argo. “We want tenants to understand that we can and will respond very quickly when their landlords keep them in the cold.”
DCRA will be distributing fliers to apartment buildings across the District over the next week to remind tenants of the law and landlords of their obligation. Tenants can download and print informational fliers – in English and Spanish – for their building, tenant association or neighbors below.
Tenants without adequate heat are asked to report the condition to their landlords immediately. If they do not respond, tenants are urged to report violations by calling (202) 442-9557.
DCRA will dispatch an inspector and landlords could be fined up to $1,000 and other potential penalties and fees if found to be in violation of the heating laws.