Bronx Tops Charts in Heat and Hot Water Complaints

October begins the official eight-month “heat season,” in the city, when the city requires landlords to maintain indoor temperatures at 68 degrees during the day when it’s 55 degrees outside, and 62 degrees at night, regardless of the outside temperature.

Last year, the Bronx recorded the most housing code complaints per capita of any other borough.

In 2018, there were eight heat and water complaints filed per 1,000 residents in the Bronx. That was greater than the seven complaints per 1,000 in Manhattan; three per 1,000 in Brooklyn and Staten Island; and just two per 1,000 in Queens.

The number of heat and hot water violations has increased over the last four years citywide, based on NYC Open Data. Last year there were 27,846 total violations citywide. One-quarter of them in the Bronx, which has 17% of the population.

And along with increased HPD inspections, and a more accessible 311 call center, the number of complaints have been on a steady rise as well over the last seven years, with an 8% increase in heat and hot water complaints. 

And this year, HPD is bracing for a similar onslaught.

In the borough with the highest complaint numbers, the majority were from Community Board 7, which encompasses the neighborhoods of Bedford Park, Fordham, Jerome Park, Kingsbridge Heights, Mosholu Parkway, Norwood and University Heights.

The entrance of 1036 and 1040 Longfellow Avenue. This address has logged 50 violations this year, according to HPD, which is the highest number in the Bronx.

One small two-story brick apartment building, located at 1036 and 1040 Longfellow Avenue, on a quiet residential block in the Foxhurst neighborhood in the Bronx, has the dubious distinction of a combined total of 50 heat and hot water violations over the last year — the highest number in the Bronx.

The building with the second highest number of violations this past year was 1895 Walton Avenue with 27 violations. Unlike the Longfellow properties, Walton Avenue is enrolled in the Alternate Enforcement Program with HPD. 

The entrance of 1895 Walton Avenue. This address has logged 27 violations this year and is enrolled in the Alternate Enforcement Program, also known as the “babysitting program,” according to HPD. 

The AEP is a program landlords can be enrolled in if their building receives too many violations. Read more about AEP here. (

These buildings are a part of a rise in the number of Bronx heat and hot water violations from 2017 to 2018, based on NYC Open Data.  

Beyond heat and hot water, two residents reported an even more pressing complaint—the lack of gas in the building. 1895 Walton Avenue has received eight gas-related violations from HPD this year.

“The gas has been off since April,” said Mariaelena Paris, of Lemor Development and Mount Hope Renaissance HDFC. It was cut off by ConEdison due to problems with the gas line.

Lemor Development and NCV Capital Partners acquired 1895 Walton Avenue last December as part of a 13-building project where the companies are focused on repairing housing, according to Keith Gordon, of NCV Capital Partners.

“The bottom line is we inherited a ton of violations, so we are here to help,” Gordon said. “What we focus on is providing much needed capital to make it viable and healthy housing. NCV Capital Partner’s objective is to provide much needed capital to preserve aging stock in New York City.”

The gas in the building is cooking gas, not heat gas, according to Gordon. 

”We had to reinstall new gas lines in every unit and in the basement and that was a lengthy process,” Paris said. “We had to go to every unit and replace gas lines. The building does have a temporary boiler and we installed to provide heat and hot water to tenants.”

Currently, the landlords are waiting for the department of buildings and ConEdison to inspect the new gas lines and give the approval before they turn the gas back on, according to Paris. They hope the gas will be repaired in the next four weeks.

“We didn’t have gas for five months and it makes it difficult because it changes the food we can cook,” Raymond said, holding a bag of Taco Bell takeout food and a drink carrier. “Like now, I’m bringing back this food from the street to feed my whole family. We can’t cook on the stove.”

The living room ceiling of Umu Suleiman’s apartment at 1895 Walton Avenue. The hole has been there for several months and is beginning to expand, seemingly because of the rain damage. 

Another tenant pointed to a three-foot-long hole in her apartment’s ceiling that she said had been there for two months and is beginning to expand. Her walls and floor are also visibly damaged.

“You see the floor? The walls? The ceiling? It’s because of the rain,” said Umu Suleiman, a tenant in the Walton building. 

Additionally, Suleiman said that since the gas has been off for several months, she has taken to cooking on a two-burner electric hotplate. 

The two burner electric hotplate that Umu Suleiman, a tenant of 1895 Walton Avenue, has to cook on. The gas has been off for several months.

Lemor Development and Mount Hope Renaissance HDFC is also renovating the units in 1895 Walton Avenue and approximately 95% of units are finished. 

“It should go without saying that heat and hot water are basic necessities for any housing situation,” said Craig Waletzko, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Fair Housing Justice Center. “For families forced to live without adequate heat and hot water the immediate discomfort is horrible, and the long-term insecurity can be devastating.”

Numerous attempts to reach the owners of 1036 and 1040 Longfellow Avenue over the phone and in person were unsuccessful. 

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