|Referenced Sources:||Community Sanitation Program|
Guidance on Housing Code Temperature Requirements (105 CMR 410.201)
This guidance is to clarify regulatory requirements for temperature control in all Massachusetts residential dwellings under 105 CMR 410.000: Minimum Standards of Fitness for Human Habitation (“Housing Code”).105 CMR 410.201 specifies that the residential heating season runs from September 15 through June 15, and requires minimum and maximum temperatures that must be maintained in all housing units during that time period. The term “heating season” does not define when heating systems must be used or limit use of air conditioning, but rather prescribes the time period during which minimum temperatures must be maintained.
Minimum Temperature Requirements between September 15 and June 15
- 105 CMR 410.201 required a minimum temperature of 68 degrees F be maintained in each habitable room and bathroom from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and 64 degrees F from 11:01 p.m. to 6:59 a.m.
- The regulation does not prevent property owners from turning off the heat or turning on air conditioning units in properties between these dates, as long as required minimum temperatures within each dwelling unit are maintained.
Maximum Temperature Requirements between September 15 and June 15
- 105 CMR 410.201 also states that “the temperature shall at no time exceed 78 degrees F during the heating season.”
- This provision means that at no time can the central heating system cause the temperature in any room to exceed 78 degrees F.
- This restriction ensures that some rooms or units are not excessively heated in order to heat other rooms or units. It also prohibits owners from allowing heating systems to contribute to excessive temperatures during unseasonably warm weather during the heating season.
- The housing code does not require owners to provide air conditioning or to cool a dwelling unit during warm weather.
Procedure to Vary the Range of Dates for the Heating Season
- The regulations allow local Boards of Health (BOH) to grant variances. Based on weather forecasts and other factors, Boards of Health may end the heating season earlier than June 15 or delay the start date beyond September 15 in a particular year for a residential dwelling. This is to provide owners with heating systems that are more complex and may take days to turn on and off with a process that will allow them to do so at an earlier or later date without concern that they may violate the housing code.
- Property owners may apply for a variance and request a hearing (See 105 CMR 410.201 and 105 CMR 410.840). The hearing process requires the BOH to notify all interested parties to inform them of the date and time of the hearing and allow testimony from any attendee before rendering a decision. The variance process is described in detail at 410.840.
- The Department of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental Health’s Community Sanitation Program is in the process of revising the housing code and, based upon input from stakeholders, has proposed changes to the process for a BOH to vary the heating season.
For More Information
If you would like a copy of the current or proposed state regulations or additional information concerning
the state housing code, please visit https://www.mass.gov/lists/housing-community-sanitation or call the
Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau for Environmental Health’s Community Sanitation Program at 617-624-5757 | Fax: 617-624-5777 | TTY: 617-624-5286