This winter has largely been a mild one, however, for residents who live in Upper East Side apartments buildings noted for having chronic complaints about no heat going back years, it certainly can feel like a cold one.
While far from being the neighborhood with the most complaints, or even the most buildings with chronic complaints, Upper East Side buildings have their fair share of trouble keeping the heat pumping each winter. There were more than 9,700 complaints about inadequate heat across the Upper East Side during a five year period from 2017 to 2021, according to a new report from New York City Comptroller’s Office.
“The City must turn up the heat on landlords who leave their tenants in the cold,” said Comptroller Brad Lander.
“The good news here is that our enforcement tools work: when HPD issues violations, sues landlords, does emergency repairs, or installs heat sensors – problems get fixed. But far too often, none of those actions take place even in buildings that are cold year, after-year, after-year,” Comptroller Lander explained.
And he’s right. Just two of six UES buildings identified as having persistent heat complaints — defined as five or more complaints every winter — received violations or had litigation filed against the landlord, according to the new ‘Turn Up The Heat’ report.
Under the law, building owners are required to provide heat for tenants between October 1st and May 31st. The indoor temperature is required to be at least 68 degrees from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm when the outdoor temperature is below 55 degrees, and is allowed to dip as low as 62 degrees overnight.
Comptroller Lander says the city needs to act now, using technology to prioritize inspections focusing on buildings with persistent heat complaints.
“More strategic, data-informed enforcement and escalating penalties against landlords who repeatedly fail to provide heat are necessary to ensure safe and warm apartments for all New York City tenants,” Lander said.
According to the report, the 48-unit walkup rental building located at 418 East 88th Street received a total of 52 heat complaints during the five-year period. A studio apartment last went for $2,400 a month inside the heat-challenged building.
Head over to 309 East 61st Street and you’ll find another five-story rental building, described on StreetEasy as being part of “well-maintained” complex, where residents have filed 55 complaints about faulty heat, according to the Comptroller’s report.
The landlord has been both issued a violation and slapped with a lawsuit over the issue. If you like your apartment chilly, a two bedroom is currently available for rent for $2,495 a month.
Meanwhile, the six-story building at 235 East 84th Street, where there are 41 apartments, racked up a total of 107 heat complaints during the five year period. It is also home to Brandy’s Piano Bar. A one bedroom unit in the building was last listed for $2,095 a month.
Just around the corner at 1626 Second Avenue, formerly home to the restaurant Who’s Jac W.?, the report says a total of 112 complaints were filed despite containing just nine apartments. Three lawsuits were also filed over a lack of heat. A one bedroom apartment there costs $3,000 a month.
With the second most complaints, at a stunning 222 filed between 2017 and 2021, is 405 East 69th Street. Yet another five-story walk up building, its contains a total of 40 units and rents for $2,450 per month for a one bedroom.
Finally, the Upper East Side building with most chronic heat complaints isn’t another low-rise walkup, it’s a sprawling 12-story luxury building occupying half a block in Yorkville.
Described as having “expansive floor plans and abundant natural sunlight create a feeling of openness, space and warmth,” what 245 East 80th Street also has is 295 heat complaints over the past five years — more than any other building on the Upper East Side. A third floor one bedroom apartment there runs $5,200 a month.
Likely an oversight since it isn’t housing, but an Upper East Side office building also ended up on the Comptroller’s report for receiving chronic heat complaints — none other than the FOX Television Center at 205 East 67th Street, home to FOX 5, which racked up a total of 73 complaints about inadequate heat.
Someone get Rosanna Scotto a blanket — she’s a New York treasure and needs to be protected at all costs.