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December 17, 2018

Staying Warm this Winter

As the temperature continues to drop, it is important to know your rights surrounding home heating. If you are a tenant, your landlord must provide you with basic standards to remain comfortable during the cold season. The landlord must:

  • Provide a heating system that can heat to a minimum of 68 degrees during the day and 64 degrees at night between September 15 and June 15
  • Ensure that hot water is between 110-130 degrees
  • Provide access to the basement if breakers, utility meters, or oil tanks are located there
  • Provide a 24-hour notice before coming over to make non-emergency repairs

If you encounter an issue and you have oil heat, first confirm that there is oil in the tank. If you have gas heat, call the gas company to confirm that you are still getting service. Inform your landlord of any issues immediately, and if he/she does not respond to your calls, contact the Inspectional Service Department of your city or town.

Additionally, certain people are eligible for shut-off protection to prevent utility services from being suspended. The following people are eligible:

  • Senior citizens
  • Low-income families with infants
  • People with serious illnesses who cannot pay their bills
  • Tenants whose landlords pay utilities
  • Low-income individuals who would otherwise be without heat in the winter

If you belong to one of these groups, you can call your utility company to sign up for shut-off protection. Additionally, if you are looking for legal advice or need representation, please call the Boston Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service at 617- 742- 0625 or connect with an area attorney online today.