What should I do if my rental property has no heat, no running water and/or no hot water?

Following are the steps to take when you have no heat, no running water, and/or no hot water in your rental property. Ohio Landlord/Tenant law requires the landlord to supply the dwelling unit with running water, reasonable amounts of hot water, and reasonable heat at all times (Ohio Revised Code §5321.04(A)(6)). The City of Shaker Heights, through its Housing Code, establishes the minimum standards necessary to make all dwelling structures safe, sanitary, and habitable. If a rental unit has no running water, no hot water, or no heat, that may result in an emergency situation requiring an immediate response by the landlord.

The first step if your heat is out (or not working properly), or you do not have any running water, or no hot water, is to contact your landlord/property manager and ask them to repair it.

If your landlord/property manager does not make the repair, you can contact the City’s Building and Housing Department for code enforcement. Click here to access the property complaint form or call 216-491-1471, or email us.

The City will schedule an appointment with you for a City inspector to inspect your rental property. For no heat complaints, the inspector will take measurements of the temperature in your rental unit. The temperature of habitable rooms is required to be not less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit whenever the outside temperature falls below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (Codified Ordinances of the City of Shaker Heights, §1411.12). If the heat is not 70 degrees or greater as measured at the center of the room about three feet off the floor, the City may cite the property owner.

If the problem is related to lack of running water and/or no hot water, an inspection appointment will also be necessary so that an inspector can confirm the status of the water supply. Every dwelling unit must have hot and cold running water at all sinks, tubs and showers (COCSH §1411.09).  

Note that the City cannot cite a landlord/property manager for a code violation if you do not provide access to your unit for this inspection.

Also, note that the change in seasons can dramatically affect certain types of heating systems. For example, multi-family units with boiler systems may be automatically programmed to start running based on exterior temperature; fluctuations in outside temperatures that typically occur in both the fall and spring may result in less than desirable interior temperatures for a short period of time, but these periods usually do not last long. It can take these systems 24-36 hours to heat up after the boiler is fired up for the first time, and the same amount of time to cool down as temperatures rise outside. However, repeated, prolonged issues with temperature adjustment may be indicative of a larger problem – and a call to your landlord as noted above may be in order. Please note, there is no state or local law requiring landlords to provide air conditioning.  

Remember that space heaters should NEVER be used as sole sources of heat for your apartment, and stove tops/ovens should never be used as a heat source, as they can be serious fire hazards to you and your neighbors.    

Additional Resources

In addition to asking the City to take code enforcement action, tenants can also take legal action to ensure repairs to heat and other critical systems are made by their landlord/tenant. Please use the resources below to learn more.






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1. How long do I have to correct violations?
2. How can I get an extension of time to correct violations?
3. I disagree with one of the violations cited on my inspection report. What should I do?
4. I don’t understand one of the violations on my inspection report.
5. What if I can’t afford to correct all my violations?
6. What are the consequences if I don’t correct my code violations?
7. What should I do if my rental property has no heat, no running water and/or no hot water?