Elected officials proposed legislation Monday to install heat sensors to track heat and hot water conditions in real time in New York City apartment buildings with extensive heat violations.
The legislation would pave the way for the installation of sensors, from a company known as Heat Seek NYC, in certain city apartments by 2020. The creators of the device said the sensors upload the information online.
"This app will monitor the heat levels, continuously, in real time," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said at a press conference introducing the legislation. "Then, when a tenant decides to go to court, they're no longer playing a 'he said, she said' — they're able to bring real data into the courtroom and show the judge if a person was not providing the necessary amount of heat."
"If you try to move it or open it, it leaves a residue when you take the tape off, so we know it hasn't been tampered with," said Noelle Francois, the executive director of Heat Seek NYC.
The bill is designed to protect tenants who may not receive proper heat or hot water from their landlords.
The sensors would cost $120, with landlords picking up the tab.
Manhattan City Councilman Mark Levine said he is working with his colleagues on ironing out an implementation and enforcement of a program.
"When residents call for help, it can take days and weeks for an inspector to show up," Levine said. "By then, maybe the weather is warmer, or by then maybe the landlord has turned on the heat," Levine said.
Eventually, lawmakers hope the technology will help alleviate the amount of manpower and time needed for city agencies to respond to and fix heat-related complaints.
How cold does it have to be inside an apartment for a landlord to provide heat?
Landlords are required to maintain the heat inside at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or above when the temperature is 55 degrees or below outside between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., landlords are required to maintain the heat inside at least 62 degrees Fahrenheit or above, regardless of the temperature outside.