Topic No. 257: Minimum Heat Requirements
Heat is an essential housing service that a landlord is required by law to provide to all tenants. The San Francisco Housing Code requires that a permanent heating source be provided that is capable of maintaining a temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit in all habitable rooms, excluding bathrooms and hallways. The Housing Code specifically requires this level of heat to be provided 13 hours a day, from 5 AM to 11 AM and also from 3 PM to 10 PM. The landlord does not comply with these requirements by allowing or providing portable space heaters.
If the landlord does not provide the minimum amount of heat and/or an approved heating system, the tenant should contact a building inspector at the Department of Building Inspection. If the landlord is not in compliance with the heating requirements, the inspector will issue a Notice of Violation ordering the landlord to provide adequate heat with an approved heating source within a certain period of time.
If a landlord fails to provide adequate heat after being requested to do so by the tenant and/or a building inspector, the tenant may file a Tenant Petition at the Rent Board for a rent reduction based on a substantial decrease in housing services. If a rent increase notice was received within the previous 60 days, the tenant may also request deferral of the proposed rent increase by filing a Tenant Petition based on the landlord’s failure to repair. The Rent Board can only adjust the tenant’s rent for the landlord’s failure to provide heat—the Rent Board cannot order the landlord to provide or restore heat.
For more information on contacting the Department of Building Inspection, you may view and/or download a copy of our current referral listing. Information on preparing a Tenant Petition can be found in Fact Sheet 6, “Tenant Petitions.” To obtain a copy of the tenant petition forms, Fact Sheet 6 and/or the referral list, you can visit the Forms Center on our website. These documents are also available at our office.