Nearly 400 letters have been sent by the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development to landlords, urging them sure that heating and hot water equipment are in good repair for the winter months.

The letters were sent to landlords if there was a complaint about their property last winter. They are reminders of the District regulations concerning heat and hot water. Letters were also sent to management organizations to ask them to remind their members about the regulations.

"We have found over the six years that we have been sending these letters reminding landlords of the need to have their equipment ready can prevent discomfort for tenants and can reduce the cost of repairs for landlords," said Carroll A. Swanson, administrator of the Neighborhood Improvement Administration, D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development.

Swanson said that preventive maintenance completed during warm weather is usually much less costly than emergency repairs completed during the winter. He also said that lack of sufficient heat or hot water are considered emergency violations of the housing code, and landlords usually are given from two to 24 hours to correct the conditions.

District landlords are required by law to provide hot water at all times and heat whenever the weather warrants it, regardless of the season. Adequate heat must be provided to maintain dwellings at a minimum of 68 degrees fahrenheit from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and at a minimum of 65 degrees during the night.

Tenants who wish to register a complaint about insufficient heat or hot water may call the Housing Code Regulation Division at 724-4417.