Residential Landlord’s Responsibilities in the Aftermath of the Gas Explosion Disaster
Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the recent gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley. The crisis has affected many in so many ways. In addition to the young man who lost his life, to those who were injured, and to those whose homes were destroyed or damaged, many others will be without gas for heating and hot water. For those who are landlords of residential housing, the following Massachusetts State Sanitary Code provisions set forth what is required of you for providing heat and hot water to your tenants. In short, the lack of operable gas service does not relieve you of your obligations. It recently has been announced that space heaters and hot plates will be distributed to all affected residents via the National Guard. Here is a local article with more information: https://www.necn.com/news/new-england/Town-Officials-Gov-Charlie-Baker-Announce-New-Plans-Merrimack-Valley-Explosion-493928091.html
105 CMR 410.190: Hot Water
The owner shall provide and maintain in good operating condition the facilities capable of heating water. The owner shall also provide the hot water for use at a temperature of not less than 110°F (43° C) and in a quantity and pressure sufficient to satisfy the ordinary use of all plumbing fixtures which normally need hot water for their proper use and function, unless and to the extent the occupant is required to provide fuel for the operation of the facilities under a written letting agreement. The hot water shall not exceed 130°F (54° C). Inspection of the hot water system shall include an examination of the hot water system and its actual performance. If possible, such examination shall occur at the times and under such conditions as the occupant has identified the system to be insufficient.
105 CMR 410.200: Heating Facilities Required
(A) The owner shall provide and maintain in good operating condition the facilities for heating every habitable room and every room containing a toilet, shower or bathtub to such temperature as required under 105 CMR 410.201. (B) Portable space heaters, parlor heaters, cabinet heaters, room heaters and any similar heaters having a barometric fed fuel control and its fuel supply tank located less than 42 inches from the center of the burner as well as the type of heating appliance adapted for burning kerosene, range oil or number one fuel oil and any portable wick type space heaters shall not be used and shall not meet the requirements of 105 CMR 410.200. (See M.G.L. c. 148, §§ 5A and 25B.)
105 CMR 410.201: Temperature Requirements
The owner shall provide heat in every habitable room and every room containing a toilet, shower, or bathtub to at least 68°F (20° C) between 7:00 A.M. and 11:00 P.M. and at least 64°F (17° C) between 11:01 P.M. and 6:59 A.M. every day other than during the period from June 15th to September 15th, both inclusive, in each year except and to the extent the occupant is required to provide the fuel under a written letting agreement. The temperature shall at no time exceed 78°F (25° C) during the heating season. The temperature may be read and the requirement shall be met at a height of five feet above floor level on a wall any point more than five feet from the exterior wall. The number of days per year during which heat must be provided in accordance with 105 CMR 410.000 may be increased or decreased through a variance granted in accordance with the provisions of 105 CMR 410.840 notwithstanding the prohibitions of the first clause of the first sentence of 105 CMR 410.840(A).