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Actually, winter has begun and the cold weather is here. Our puffy jackets and heavy coats help us fight the chill outside until we warm up indoors. Your apartment is unlikely to be that cozy haven though, if your heating system is broken or not turned on by central controls. Tenants in Massachusetts are entitled to minimum standards of health, safety, and well-being under the State Sanitary Code. Landlords must provide livable homes that include access to heating. Under State Law:

  • Landlords are required to pay for the electricity and gas utilities, including fuel, unless they have transferred this obligation to the tenants in a written tenancy agreement.
  • Landlords must provide a heating system for each of their apartments unless they have one central system that is able to service all units.
  • The heating system runs from September 16 through June 14. Throughout this period, every room must be heated between 68 and 78 degrees during the hours of 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The dwelling must be at least 64 degrees at all other hours.

If the heating system in your apartment is not supplying sufficient heat or is broken, immediately contact your landlord or property management. If your landlord or property management remains unresponsive, you may contact your local Board of Health to schedule an inspection. If the health inspector determines a violation, you may have several recourses. The tenant rights and responsibilities consumer guide, explains your options. To reach the consumer information hotline, please call (617) 973-8787.

Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer for more tips on consumer related issues. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly.

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