Many local boards of health have the power to make repairs to heating systems so that you can receive heat. Your local government must have enacted an ordinance that gives the board of health this power. Even with an ordinance, the board of health can act only if the temperature outdoors is below 55 degrees. To get action, you must call the board of health and tell them that you tried to get the landlord to fix the heat. The board will then wait 24 hours before they have someone make the repairs. Cite: N.J.S.A. 26:3-31(p) and Jones v. Buford, 71 N.J. 433 (1976).
What if the heating oil runs out?
Some New Jersey cities have programs to provide an emergency delivery of oil, at government expense, when tenants have no heat because the landlord did not buy oil. The city then collects the money directly from the landlord. Check with your local government to find out about such programs.
Other government programs can also help with utility bills. For more information about these programs, read Help With Your Heating Bills: New Jersey’s Energy Assistance Programs.
This information last reviewed: Feb 19, 2015