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Landlord Heating Requirements

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As temperatures drop in the Washington region, tenants

look to their building's owners to provide adequate heat.


If a tenant does not control setting heat in a unit, the building's heat

must be kept at a minimum temperature of sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit

(68° F.) between 6:30 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Between 11:00 p.m. and 6:30

a.m., a building's heat must be kept at a minimum temperature of

sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit (65° F.)


DCRA reminds landlords: any furnace, boiler, or other central heating

system must be inspected between March 1 and September 1 of each year.

This inspection must be done by a master plumber and gas fitter, heating

and air conditioning contractor, master mechanic, licensed by the

District, or a certified employee of a public utility. Owners must file

inspection results with DCRA within 15 days of inspection.


Failure to comply with a Notice of Violation may result in a fine of

$1,000 and penalties and fees for the owner. Residents can report

violations by calling (202) 442-4400.


Note: In the days before modern technology, a building's heating and air

conditioning was often controlled by one unit – sometimes known as a

"one-pipe system." At that time, the system could either produce heated

air or cooled air. Traditionally, a system would be converted from cooled

air to heated air on October 15 and from heated air to cooled air on May

15. It is due to the limitations of these older systems, that many

residents began to believe that heat must be turned on in buildings by

October 15.


While there is no law that says heat must be on by a certain date, please

remember, District law does require that minimum temperatures be

maintained in living areas during cold weather.


SOURCE: The Housing Regulations of the District of Columbia, 5G DCRR §§

1201 and 2401, Commissioners’ Order 55-1503 (August 11, 1955), as amended

by: paragraph 1 of Council Regulation 72-28, approved November 30, 1972;

and section 2 of the Self-Inspection of Heating and Hot-Water Systems Act

of 1986, D.C. Law 6-158, 33DCR 6008, incorporating by reference the text

of D.C. Act 6-201, 33 DCR 4936 (August 15, 1986).



The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs protects the health,

safety, economic interests, and quality of life of residents, businesses,

and visitors in the District of Columbia by issuing licenses and permits,

conducting inspections, enforcing building, housing, and safety codes,

regulating land use and development, and providing consumer education and

advocacy services.

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