Roommates + Landlords

A new device is trying to stop landlords from skimping on the heat

By Jennifer Laing  | August 27, 2014 - 12:59PM

We may be in the midst of a late summer heat wave, but you know that just around the corner... winter is coming.

And, for many New Yorkers, that means an ongoing battle with the landlord over the heat in the apartment. (For the record, between Oct. 31 and May 31, the city requires building owners to maintain an inside temperature of at least 68 degrees during the day if the mercury outside drops below 55; at night, it must be at least 55 degrees inside if the outside temperature drops below 40 degrees.) To wit, the city receives over 200,000 complaints about lack of heat every year.

This season, according to Gothamist, those negligent building owners may be in for a rude awakening. The team behind Heat Seek NYC, a web-enabled device and app, is trying to make it much harder for landlords to mess with the thermostat by recording and tracking hourly temperature readings. The device doesn't actually provide heat, but the idea is to log the data so landlords can more easily identify inefficient heating setups and tenants have evidence should they wind up in housing court, according to the company's website. And with enough data, it could become easier for elected officials and advocates to enforce the law.

For now, the company is in the early stages of a Kickstarter campaign that’s aiming to raise $50,000 in order to put 1,000 sensors into the apartments of those vulnerable tenants who need it most.


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