2015-2016 Winter Season [DOWNLOAD REPORT]
Heat Seek helps tenants resolve their home heating issues by providing the objective, reliable temperature data they need to hold their landlords accountable. We do this by installing low cost, web connected temperature sensors in buildings across New York City. During the winter of 2016, Heat Seek ran a pilot program in 50 buildings throughout four boroughs. For this pilot program, we sought out buildings with the following criteria: (1) an organized tenant association, (2) at a high risk for continued landlord abuse, as identified by our partners, and (3) stated willingness to bring a group case to housing court.
By the numbers:
- 56 buildings received sensors
- 73 individual apartments served
- 16 community partners, including attorneys, community organizations, and tenant groups, as well as the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) the city agency responsible for enforcing the housing code
Below is a map of the buildings participating in the 2015-2016 Heat Seek Pilot Program. Select apartments within each building are using Heat Seek sensors to monitor the temperature in their apartments. However, apartment level data has been removed to protect the identities of individual tenants.
While we are still analyzing the results of the winter 2015-2016 Pilot, a few initial trends have emerged:
- Heat Seek data help clients achieve more favorable legal outcomes.
- In three separate cases that spanned different attorneys and at least eight buildings, landlords made more concessions to their tenants and our clients.
“[Heatseek] data are much more digestible than manual heat logs, especially for judges.” Attorney, Legal Services NYC
“With Heat Seek, I was able to submit proof of the lack of heat in my client’s apartment. Upon seeing the evidence, the landlord and his attorney conceded the issue and the landlord agreed to waive all rent claims and provide a rent-stabilized lease." Edmund Witter, Attorney at Legal Aid Society
- Landlords restore or increase heat provision when they know Heat Seek sensors have been deployed in their buildings.
- In four buildings, tenants shared Heat Seek data directly with their landlords, who shortly thereafter turned up the heat. These increases in heat are reflected in our data.
Our past community partners*
- Brooklyn Legal Services Corp A
- Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA)
- Crown Heights Tenant Union
- Fifth Avenue Committee
- Fishman Rozen LLP
- Flatbush Tenant Coalition
- Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES)
- NYC HPD (Housing Preservation and Development)
- The Legal Aid Society
- Legal Services NYC
- MFY Legal Services
- Pratt Area Community Council
- Schomberg Residents Council Tenants and Neighbors
- Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB)
- Urban Justice Center Community Development Project
*Many other community organizations and individuals requested sensors and partnerships, but we were unable to serve them, due to our limited stock of sensors. We stopped all outreach efforts midway through our pilot program but continued to receive requests as recently as April 2016. We look forward to increasing our capacity for next year so as to better meet the community need.