When you reside in a multiple – dwelling, such as an apartment building, you have limited control over the heat and hot water delivered to your home. The boiler and related hot water – delivery accessories are in the basement’s boiler room, and this room is “off limits” to tenants. Only the superintendent and other agents of the owner, such as boiler repairmen, are allowed to enter the boiler room.
The owner of a multiple-dwelling has a duty to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition, and in good repair. Unfortunately, landlords are sometimes negligent in maintaining the boiler and hot-water distribution system at their property, and children and adults have been seriously injured by scalding hot water in their own bathrooms. Burn injuries could include 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree burns.
How hot is too hot? The NYC Building Code requires that in buildings constructed after 1996, an anti-scald shower valve with high-limit stops of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, must be installed. But for several years now, anti-scald valves have been industry standard in New York City, so even if your building was constructed prior to 1996, your landlord may still be liable for failing to install an anti – scald valve.
If you have suffered burns as a result of scalding hot water from your shower, sink or bathtub, you may have a valid claim against your landlord for negligent maintenance of the heating/hot water system. Burns from scalding hot water may cause permanent scarring and significant damage. If you have been injured in this manner, you should immediately consult with a lawyer to determine your rights. You may have a valid claim for personal injuries, pain and suffering as well as medical expenses.