Staying warm outdoors is a problem you must solve on your own. But if you are cold inside your home and you are a tenant, the D.C. government wants to here about it.
During the upcoming months, tenants in the District need not worry about keeping their homes warm because the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development intends to make sure that all landlords in the city provide heat in their units.
"We hope everybody has a warm winter this year," said Butler Thomas, chief of the housing department's regulation division. "But if anybody has a problem getting heat, we will do whatever is necessary to provide heat to that person and place the cost of the repairs or services as a tax lien against the landlord's property.
"We will refer flagrant violators to the D.C. Office of the Corporation Counsel for criminal prosection," Thomas said.
According to housing regulations, landlords who are responsible for controlling the heat in their buildings -- including apartments, motels and hotels -- must provide heat between 6:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. if the temperature in a tenant's home falls below 68 degrees. During late-night hours, heat must be turned on if the temperature drops to 65 degrees or below.
Landlords are obligated to heat tenants' homes even if the tenants have not paid their rent.
If District residents have problems keeping their homes warm this winter, they can call the following government agencies:
Between 8:15 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. on weekdays, call the housing department complaint division at 724-4414.
In emergencies and on weekends and holidays, call the housing supervisor at 727-1000 or 727-6161 (Office of Emergency Preparedness, the mayor's command center).