What To Do If Your Building Or Unit Does Not Have Heat

DCRA Information Alert: 

What to Do If Your Unit or Building Does Not Have Heat


(Washington, DC) As temperatures drop in the Washington region, tenants look to building owners to provide adequate heat.


If a tenant does not control the heating setting in the unit, the building owner must maintain the heat at a minimum temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit (68 degrees F) between 6:30 am and 11 pm.  Between 11 pm and 6:30 am, the owner must maintain the building heat a minimum temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees F).


If the building’s heating system does not produce enough heat, the tenant should first report the problem to the building owner or property management company.


If the problem is not fixed, the tenant should call the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) at (202) 442-4400.  DCRA will send an inspector.


It’s important to say that this call is about a building with no heat.  If the problem is discovered after 4:30 pm, call (202) 727-6161.


If the DCRA inspector finds that there is no heat, DCRA will issue an emergency Notice of Violation to the owner or property management company.  If the problem is not fixed, DCRA may issue the owner a $1,000 fine per day plus other penalties and fees.


If the owner refuses to respond or fix the problem, DCRA can hire a contractor to make repairs so that the building will have heat-and put a lien against the property to recover the costs.


Tenants in any building where the owner fails to keep the building heated to the required temperatures have legal rights.  They should consult a legal advisor or contact the DCRA Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) at (202) 442-8359 for help in evaluating those options.



Source:  DCRA News, 2/2/2007, www.dcra.dc.gov