WASHINGTON — Editor's note: The above video was published on July 19, 2019.
With colder weather returning to the D.C. region, many people have started reaching for the thermostat. But for some renters, they need to wait for their landlord to turn on the heat.
One viewer contacted the Verify team, asking about when their landlord is required to turn on the heat in her home county of Prince George's. The team took the question straight to the experts to find out the heating regulations for our entire region, across D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
When are landlords required to turn on the heat in D.C., Montgomery County, Prince George's County, and across Virginia?
- DC Housing Code Standards
- D.C. Office of Attorney General, February 7, 2022 Tenant Alert
- D.C. Municipal Regulations, Title 14, Rule 14-501
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "District of Columbia Landlord and Tenant Duties"
- Montgomery County Website, "No Heat in A Rental Unit"
- Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Spokesperson
- Prince George's County Regulations, Section 602.2 - "Residential Occupancies"
- Prince George's County Department of Permitting Inspections and Enforcement, Spokesperson
- Virginia Law, "Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act"
- Virginia Law, Chapter 6 - "Mechanical And Electrical Requirements"
- Loudoun County Government, Spokesperson
- Fairfax County Government, Spokesperson
- Prince William County Government, Spokesperson
- Arlington County Government, Spokesperson
A spokesperson for the DC Department of Buildings said that landlords must follow the D.C. Housing Code Standards, which are listed here. This section reads as follows:
"Heating equipment shall maintain a temperature of not less than 68° F in all habitable rooms and bathrooms between October 1 and May 1. With a two-pipe system, or any other system reasonably requiring more than 15 days to transition from air-conditioning to heat, the heat shall be supplied during a period starting no later than October 15 and ending no earlier than May 1."
If you dig deeper into the DC Code, you'll see that the required minimum temperature differs by hour of the day.
- 6:30 a.m. - 11 p.m. - Minimum temperature of 68 degrees.
- 11 p.m. - 6:30 a.m. - Minimum Temperature of 65 degrees.
DC's Attorney General Karl Racine took to Twitter Tuesday to remind tenants that landlords must provide this level of heating starting Oct. 1.
The OAG offered resources for tenants on how to file a complaint of "unsafe living conditions" here.
A spokesperson for Montgomery County, referred the Verify team to Chapter 26-7, which reads in part as follows:
- "Each owner of a dwelling unit or individual living unit where the heat is not under the control of the tenant must maintain a temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit in each habitable room, bathroom, and water closet compartment at a distance of 3 feet above floor level."
- "Each owner of a dwelling unit or individual living unit where the heat is under the control of the tenant must provide in working condition heating equipment capable of maintaining a temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit in each habitable room, bathroom, and water closet compartment at a distance of 3 feet above floor level."
More information on the Montgomery County code, relating to heating requirements can be found here.
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY:
A spokesperson for Prince George's County's Department of Permitting Inspections and Enforcement referred our team to the County code, which requires a minimum temperature of 70 degrees, starting on Sept. 15.
Section 602, focused on "Heating Facilities" reads in part as follows:
- "Dwellings shall be provided with heating facilities capable of maintaining a room temperature of seventy (70) degrees Fahrenheit in all habitable rooms, bathrooms, and toilet rooms based on the winter outdoor design temperature for the locality indicated in Appendix D of the International Plumbing Code..."
- "Every owner and operator of any building who rents, leases, or lets one (1) or more dwelling unit, rooming unit, dormitory, or guest room on terms, either expressed or implied, to furnish heat to the occupants thereof shall supply heat during the period from September 15 to May 15 to maintain a temperature of not less than seventy (70) degrees Fahrenheit in all habitable rooms, bathrooms, and toilet rooms."
According to spokespeople from Loudoun County, Fairfax County and Arlington County, Virginia counties follow statewide rules, when it comes to heating requirements.
Chapter 6 of the Virginia Code, titled "Mechanical and Electrical Requirements" reads as follows under Section 602.2, "Heat Supply":
"Every owner and operator of a Group R-2 apartment building or other residential building who rents, leases, or lets one or more dwelling unit, rooming unit, dormitory, or guestroom on terms, either expressed or implied, to furnish heat to the occupants thereof shall supply heat during the period from October 15 to May 1 to maintain a temperature of not less than 68°F (20°C) in all habitable rooms, bathrooms, and toilet rooms...."
A spokesperson for Fairfax County said that it would be the Fairfax County Department of Code Compliance that would respond to code complaints, relating to the lack of sufficient heating.