311 App Update Allows Tenants to Submit Heat and Hot Water Complaints via Mobile Devices:
- On November 26, 2014, the 311 Executive Director, Joseph Morrisroe, the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner, Anne M. Roest, and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner, Vicki Been, announced an update to the 311 Mobile Application. The new update allows tenants to make heat and hot water complaints from the application on their phone. The 311 Mobile Application is available to Android and iPhone users.
- The application is user friendly, and making a complaint is as simple as opening the application, clicking on “complaints,” and then on, “Heat or Hot Water.” The tenant will then enter: his or her address and personal contact information, as well as information about the owner of the property (if available), the kind of condition, and whether one unit or the entire building is experiencing the problem. Once the tenant submits the complaint, it is forwarded to HPD in the same manner as a complaint made in the call center or online. Users can track the progress of their complaint by checking the complaint screen in the 311 mobile app.
- Before filing a complaint, a tenant should make the building owner, managing agent, or superintendent aware of the problem. If the heat or hot water is not restored, then the tenant should make a complaint with HPD via the 311 app, call center, or online website.
- Once a complaint is filed with HPD, attempts will be made to contact the manager or building owner to get the heat or hot water running. HPD will also reach out to the tenant to see if the situation has been resolved. If it hasn’t been, then HPD will send an HPD code inspector to the address attached to the complaint, so that they can administer any merited violations and assess the problem, if they can gain access to the boiler.
- Heat season in New York during the 2014-2015 year began on October 1, 2014 and it will end on May 31, 2015. Residential building owners are required to provide hot water year round, while heat depends on the outdoor temperature. During the heat season, residential building owners are required to keep the indoor temperature of their units occupied by tenants at a minimum of 68 degrees between 6 A.M. and 10 P.M., when the temperature outside is less than 55 degrees. During the hours between 10 P.M. and 6 A.M when the temperature falls below 40 degrees, building owners must maintain an indoor temperature of 55 degrees. The hot water must stay at 120 degrees.
- HPD has offices in all 5 boroughs and they are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- City officials hope that maximizing the potential of mobile applications with updates like this one, which make filing a complaint quick and easy. It will also improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers, and ultimately provide a way to make sure that landlords continue to follow the law.