What are my heating obligations to my customers?

| December 29, 2017

It’s the middle of the winter and the weather is bad. (Right now, it’s 18 degrees out in New York City, where I’m writing from.) Heat is expensive, and you, a business owner, want to know just how much is required by law.

In general, these requirements are set by state and local law, but it’s much less heavily regulated than residential property. For example, the city code of Hoboken, New Jersey, requires all occupied rooms in mercantile, commercial or industrial buildings have to be heated to a minimum temperature of 68 degrees F in the cold months regardless of the outside temperature.  In the warm months, the same code section requires heating to 68 degrees F when the temperature outdoors falls below 55 degrees F.  Obviously, if the nature of your business requires low temperatures, the building is exempt.  After all, no one expects a refrigerated warehouse to be kept at 68 degrees.  For a look at a similar law, have a look at Detroit’s law.

You should also check your building lease.  Many commercial lease agreements include clauses assigning responsibility for HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) within the building.  In many cases, the HVAC system is the landlord’s responsibility as opposed to the tenants, and your remedies may be limited.

But beyond the law, many retailers believe that the temperature indoors can be used as a marketing tool. Luxury retailers often set the thermostat lower during the summer than their less exclusive competitors, as a status symbol. Consider whether or not your temperature can affect your bottom line; after all, your customers are your lifeblood, and you want them to be happy above all else.

Of course, if you need to warn your customers about heat or cold, MySafetySign carries a full line of specialty labels and signs at the lowest prices, guaranteed.

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