logo

5 Things Every Renter Needs to Know About Apartment Heat

AF

By Adeeva Fritz

Oct 06, 2022


If you’re reading this article, it’s probably that time of the year again. The days are getting shorter, there’s a chill in the air, and you’re looking for ways to warm up. Welcome to apartment heating season. For renters, the topic of apartment heat can be confusing—and for good reason. Rental heating laws vary depending on where you live. In this article, we answer the 5 apartment heat questions on every renter’s mind.

1. When it comes to apartment heating, what are my rights as a tenant?

All tenants are legally entitled to safe and habitable living conditions, and heat is considered a habitability right (as is hot water). Therefore, landlords and property managers are obligated to provide heat to renters via a heating system in working order.

Beyond this basic right, the specifics are determined by local heat laws. While most rental heating laws require that heat be provided and maintained at a specified minimum indoor temperature, designated temperatures vary. What’s more, heat requirements typically depend on a variety of factors, including the time of the year, the time of day, and the outdoor temperature—all of which can differ by state and sometimes even by city.

2. Can your landlord control the heat?

While landlords and property managers must provide heat, they are under no obligation to give tenants a way to control it. Depending on the heating system, some apartment buildings have a single thermostat that controls all units and is accessible only to the landlord or property manager. In other apartment complexes, heating systems are set up to include thermostats in every unit.

3. Who pays for heat?

Renters who have access to a thermostat in their unit and can set the heat to their desired temperature are more likely to be on the hook for their heating bill. However, when there’s no thermostat in the apartment, and the landlord or property manager controls the heat, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to pay for it. Who pays for heat on the utility bill depends on a combination of factors, including rental heating laws and the terms of your lease agreement—so be sure to read it carefully.

4. When should I turn my heat on in my apartment?

If you control the heat in your apartment, you may also be responsible for the heating bill, in which case, deciding when to turn on the heat in your apartment can depend on your budget. Everybody’s idea of the perfect temperature is different. One person’s cozy is another person’s inferno, but setting your thermostat somewhere between 68 and 72 during daytime waking hours is a good place to start. When you crawl under the covers at night or when you’re away from home, lowering your thermostat even just a few degrees can help you save money on your heating bill.

5. What to do about apartment heat not working?

No heat in the apartment is definitely cause to contact your landlord or property manager. If the heat is broken, they’re legally obligated to fix it. If the temperature is just not quite to your liking, that’s another story. As long as the system is working and heating your apartment to the minimum required temperature by law, you may have to find other ways to keep your apartment warm in winter. Consider DIY solutions like hanging insulated curtains, weatherstripping your windows and doors, and adding throw rugs to bare floors.

The Bottom Line

Just like some people run hotter than others, apartments do too. Everything from the type of heating system and your location in the building to the number of windows in your unit can impact heating. While the temperature in your rental may not always be just right, there’s no excuse for no heat in cold weather.

Find the best deal

We rate and sort every listing based on fair market rent.

Top metro areas

Atlanta Apartments

702 apartments starting at $525/month

Austin Apartments

1,010 apartments starting at $535/month

Baltimore Apartments

539 apartments starting at $150/month

Birmingham Apartments

292 apartments starting at $500/month

Boston Apartments

1,850 apartments starting at $200/month

Buffalo Apartments

90 apartments starting at $150/month

Charlotte Apartments

689 apartments starting at $399/month

Chicago Apartments

3,458 apartments starting at $150/month

Cincinnati Apartments

307 apartments starting at $150/month

Cleveland Apartments

431 apartments starting at $490/month

Columbus Apartments

934 apartments starting at $150/month

Dallas Apartments

1,178 apartments starting at $575/month

Denver Apartments

636 apartments starting at $150/month

Detroit Apartments

498 apartments starting at $300/month

Grand Rapids Apartments

407 apartments starting at $408/month

Hartford Apartments

89 apartments starting at $800/month

Houston Apartments

526 apartments starting at $500/month

Indianapolis Apartments

553 apartments starting at $399/month

Jacksonville Apartments

1,038 apartments starting at $300/month

Kansas City Apartments

528 apartments starting at $150/month

Las Vegas Apartments

911 apartments starting at $675/month

Los Angeles Apartments

3,442 apartments starting at $150/month

Louisville Apartments

293 apartments starting at $350/month

Memphis Apartments

749 apartments starting at $450/month

Miami Apartments

563 apartments starting at $900/month

Milwaukee Apartments

451 apartments starting at $150/month

Minneapolis Apartments

706 apartments starting at $150/month

Nashville Apartments

412 apartments starting at $150/month

New Orleans Apartments

423 apartments starting at $600/month

New York City Apartments

2,458 apartments starting at $750/month

Oklahoma City Apartments

652 apartments starting at $150/month

Orlando Apartments

332 apartments starting at $800/month

Philadelphia Apartments

1,609 apartments starting at $150/month

Phoenix Apartments

1,151 apartments starting at $641/month

Pittsburgh Apartments

472 apartments starting at $150/month

Portland Apartments

900 apartments starting at $150/month

Providence Apartments

118 apartments starting at $800/month

Raleigh Apartments

406 apartments starting at $495/month

Richmond Apartments

284 apartments starting at $540/month

Riverside Apartments

125 apartments starting at $150/month

Sacramento Apartments

312 apartments starting at $150/month

Salt Lake City Apartments

191 apartments starting at $550/month

San Antonio Apartments

701 apartments starting at $450/month

San Diego Apartments

896 apartments starting at $200/month

San Francisco Apartments

835 apartments starting at $350/month

San Jose Apartments

274 apartments starting at $1,150/month

Seattle Apartments

1,005 apartments starting at $150/month

St. Louis Apartments

405 apartments starting at $150/month

Tampa Apartments

437 apartments starting at $150/month

Virginia Beach Apartments

305 apartments starting at $850/month

Washington DC Apartments

567 apartments starting at $150/month