Cold weather and tenant heat complaints go hand-in-hand in New York City, which keeps local authorities busy trying to monitor feedback for thousands of buildings. According to an article on the site of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, legislation has been approved that will require landlords of selected problem buildings to install heat sensors in each apartment. The sensors will help the city determine whether or not the landlords are violating city housing code.
According to the article, the legislation, spearheaded by Bronx Councilmember Ritchie Torres and supported by more than a dozen other councilmembers, mandates that the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) identify the 50 buildings with the highest volume of heat violations, considering complaints from multiple dwellings. The sensors would be placed in the apartments of these buildings.
HPD would be required to conduct dedicated heat inspections of the buildings at least once every two weeks, according to the text of the bill, and the sensors would remain in place for up to four years.
The move would reportedly curb landlord-tenant harassment, according to the report. “In private housing not only do you have an epidemic of heat and hot water outages, but you have the added element of harassment,” the Bronx legislator said in a statement prior to the bill’s passage. “There are landlords who want to deprive residents of heat and hot water as a means of harassment. This legislation will bring housing code enforcement into the 21st century. Heat and hot water are not a luxury; they are basic necessities of life.”
“With this legislation, we can use technology to hold landlords accountable for heating-related harassment,” Adams was quoted as saying to the Brooklyn Eagle. “HPD data shows that last winter, 232,621 complaints were filed about inadequate heat and hot water, most of them in low-income communities of color. It’s time we use real-time tracking to crack down on the worst offenders and embrace 21st-century solutions that protect tenants.”