What to do if my landlordis not providing heat, especially when there is a child living in the apartment?

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What to do if my landlordis not providing heat, especially when there is a child living in the apartment?

We have been having heat problems since moving in back in 03/10. Every 2 weeks, heat would stop working and all they ever do is put more oil in it. Then it stop working again 2 weeks later. When we called someone to come fix it, we were told that they didn’t get paid to keep coming out after work hours, so we had to use stove to stay warm. Now, the heat went out again 5 days ago, and we still have no heat. We are being told that owner is being cheap and refuses to change the boiler in basement, which why we are having heat problems. I have a 4 year-old child.

Asked on December 29, 2010 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your lease requires the landlord to provide heat, the they must give you the amount of heat required by the NJ code and the local town/city ordinance. For example, under state housing codes, from 0/01 - 05/01, the landlord must provide enough heat so that the temperature in the apartment is at least 68 degrees from 6 am - 11 pm; between the hours of 11 pm - and 6 am, the temperature in the apartment must be at least 65 degrees. Local health codes cover the parts of the year that are not covered by state code.

The housing inspector and/or board of health in your city/town enforces heat requirements. Trenton should have a special no-heat hotlines set up specifically to handle such complaints. The inspector/board can file a complaint in court on your behalf, or you can file your own complaint. Your landlord will then have to appear in court and explain why he/she is not providing heat. The court can impose penalties, including fines and/or jail sentences.


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