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District of Columbia Heating Regulations

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During Cold Weather

When temperatures drop in the Washington area, tenants look to their building’s owners to provide adequate heat. If landlords fail to comply, they could face a fine of $1,000 and other potential penalties and fees from the DC Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).

What Landlords Must Do

Landlords must keep heating equipment in good repair and capable of maintaining a temperature of at least 68°F. Between October 1 and May 1, if the landlord has agreed to furnish heat, heat must be supplied sufficient to maintain a temperature of not less than 68 ºF in all habitable rooms, bathrooms and toilet rooms in any living unit where the tenant cannot control or set the temperature. The only exceptions to this requirement are:

1. Where the outdoor temperature is 17°F or less, and the system is operating at full capacity; or

2.  Where the building has a two-pipe heating system, or any other system reasonably requiring more than 15 days to transition from air-conditioning to heat, in which case heat shall be supplied during a period starting no later than October 15 and ending no earlier than May 1 to maintain a temperature of not less than 68 ºF in all habitable rooms, bathrooms and toilet rooms.

Landlords of buildings with two or more units served by a heating facility must inspect  every furnace, boiler, and central heating system between March 1 and September 1 of each year. The inspection reports must be made available for public inspection on site in the office of the building operator.  If the building operator does not have an onsite office, the reports shall be made available for inspection: 1. By posting the reports in an on-site location accessible to all building residents; 2. By mailing or delivering a copy of the reports to each unit; or 3. By mailing or delivering a notice to each unit identifying a location within the District of Columbia where the reports are available for public inspection during normal business hours.

What Tenants Must Do

Check your thermostat to make sure it’s on and in heat mode. Contact your landlord, property manager, or building superintendent to report your problem immediately. If your problem is not solved, call DCRA’s housing inspections staff at (202) 442-9557 to schedule an inspection. If you need assistance during non-business hours, please call 311. If you have heat or cold related emergency, please call 911.

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