Massachusetts heating policy affects tenants living in apartment buildings

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – With the heat forecast to return, a local lawmaker shared his thoughts on how tenants at local apartment complexes will be affected.

A policy that affects all tenants living in apartment complexes throughout the state. At one point, homeowners were required to keep their heat on until mid-June, but Rep. Bud Williams told us that is no longer the case.

“I talked to some owners, which was last year after this conversation, and they were happy with it,” Rep. Williams said.

Following cooperation with the Baker Administration a couple of years ago, Williams was able to reach a compromise to move the deadline from June 15 to June 1 for apartment managers to switch from heating to air conditioning.

“We are 90 and you live in a skyscraper, you live in residential projects, you live in buildings where it is very, very hot, people with underlying health problems such as asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, it really affects them and their quality of life,” explained the Representative Williams.

According to the guide to housing code temperature requirements, the maximum temperature of an apartment heating system is 78 degrees, while the minimum temperature in units is assumed to be in the range of 64 to 68 degrees.

While Williams is fine with the current policy, he acknowledges that he didn’t want the deadline to be moved up too soon because when it comes to the weather, it can be unpredictable.

“What if we changed it to May 15 and you could have turned off the heat and turned on the air? and then a cold front arrives, what happens then? It’s a vicious cycle,” added Rep. Williams.

While he hopes we get to a point where each tenant can have their own air conditioning unit, Williams said he hears from those facing heat situations in their apartments.

“I understand the frustration,” said Rep. Williams. “When you’re in those apartments and it hits 90 and you’re there, it doesn’t matter if it’s for a day or two and you have to live through it and endure it, it’s almost unbearable.”

Williams hopes that at some point all apartments will have window air conditioning, but for now June 1 is the deadline for homeowners to switch from heat to air.