Heat is essential during this time of year, especially with the historic winters we experience in Western New York, but when a landlord refuses to provide this for his/her tenant, that becomes a problem. 

A troubling post surfaced on Reddit over the weekend that shone a spotlight onto landlords in Western New York (and what you can do if you feel that you are in an inappropriate situation).

The post said:

I am currently renting in the Elmwood Village and I’ve been having issues with the heat in my apartment for 2 years. I’ve asked my landlord to address it several times this fall and nothing he did seemed to keep it running consistently and at a reasonable decibel for more than a week.

Here we are in December and I now have gas leaking out of it whenever the pilot light goes out (which is at least 3x per week), so I have the gas shut off and no heat.

He now refuses to fix the heat at all and I’m not allowed to use a space heater. 

We had a good relationship prior to this problem but it seems like it’s gone sour because I’ve asked for too much (heat?!), and now it feels like he’s just trying to get me to leave. 

The landlord, which is named in the original post, has screamed at this individual “multiple times on the phone over the last several days and has been extremely unprofessional,” according to the tenant.

Many people chimed in the Reddit thread with suggestions, including a call to 311, which will get you in touch with a housing inspector. 

Other current landlords voiced their support of the tenant, agreeing that it was unacceptable for a landlord to not provide heat. That is, according to the landlords in the Reddit thread, the absolute one thing you must take care of as a landlord without a doubt. 

One encouraged the tenant to keep a notebook of every interaction going forward with the landlord about this issue and write down the dates and the time they took place. Texts and emails should be saved, and if possible, take any phone calls on speaker with a witness present.

If you find yourself in a similar (yet unfortunate) situation, you can take the same steps to make sure that your basic needs are met.

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