HPD Releases Proposed Rule for Heat Sensors Program

Buildings will now be selected for the program annually.



Buildings will now be selected for the program annually.



HPD’s heat sensors program requires certain owners to provide and install an internet-capable temperature-reporting sensor in each apartment. The program was established by Local Law 18 of 2020 in response to persistent complaints of inadequate heat. In 2023, the City Council amended the law with Local Law 70, which added requirements to the program. For example, the program will select 50 buildings every year, beginning on July 1, 2024, rather than every two years, and inspection protocols will be amended so that HPD inspections occur at least twice each month, rather than at least every two weeks. Local Law 70 also made a number of other amendments.

Recently, HPD published its proposed rule for the program to comply with the changes brought about by Local Law 70. We’ll review the city’s heat requirements for buildings and highlight details in HPD’s proposed rule for heat sensors program.

Heat and Hot Water Basics

HPD’s Code Enforcement Division is responsible for ensuring that residential building owners comply with NYC’s Housing Maintenance Code and the NYS Multiple Dwelling Law. In accordance with the Maintenance Code, owners must supply their tenants with adequate heat from Oct. 1 to May 31, the “heat season,” which translates to a minimum of 68 degrees between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. when the outside temperature is below 55 degrees, and at least 62 degrees between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. regardless of the outside temperature.

Tenants who believe they aren’t receiving the required services can file a complaint through NYC’s 311 municipal service system, which is then forwarded to HPD for its response. HPD considers a heat and hot water complaint to have been addressed if a tenant who has been contacted by HPD states that service has been restored or if HPD conducted or attempted to conduct an inspection. When an inspection confirms that the owner isn’t providing the required heat and/or hot water, HPD issues a notice of violation to the owner and can pursue progressive civil penalties against the owner through NYC Housing Court.

Heat Sensors Program Compliance Requirements

Local Law 18 for the year 2020 required HPD to select 50 apartment buildings and require the owners to install an internet-capable temperature reporting device in each dwelling unit of each building for a period of four years. The 50 buildings are selected based on criteria that include the number of heat violations over the preceding two years and whether the department has received heat-related complaints from two or more distinct units in each of the last two heat seasons. Originally, HPD was required to identify 50 buildings every two years. Now, no later than July 1, 2024, HPD will identify the buildings with heat violations annually.

For buildings selected to install devices, HPD must conduct regular inspections to confirm compliance with the installation and maintenance requirements for the devices and the maintenance of required minimum temperatures. The law was intended to provide an enhanced and proactive mode of enforcement to promote compliance with the city’s minimum heating requirements in buildings that have a demonstrated history of noncompliance with these requirements.

Notification requirements. Owners must provide a notice to all residents at the property regarding the installation of devices, instructions on accessing device information, rights to refuse, and the right to request installation in a specific location within the dwelling in accordance with the rules, the requirement of twice monthly inspections by HPD, and a tenant’s option to call 311 to file a complaint relating to inadequate heat. The notice must be provided before Aug. 1, and posted in the common area within 15 days of notification of selection by HPD.

Device installations requirements. Owners must then install one device in “one living room of the tenant’s choice” in each dwelling unit, except for units in which a tenant provides written refusal of installation of such device, or those units to which the owner is unable, after documented reasonable efforts, to obtain access to install a device.

Recordkeeping requirement. The original program had owners of selected buildings submit data readings from each device to HPD at least every 90 days for as long as the building was in the program. HPD’s proposed rule requires reporting to HPD the data collected from devices at least once during each 30-day period during the heat season for the entire period the building is in the program.

HPD Inspections

HPD will conduct inspections at least twice a month during heat season for each selected property even if there are no tenant complaints regarding heat. Inspectors will confirm that devices are installed in accordance with the rules. And HPD may discontinue inspections as long as there are no specific open violations as of Jan. 31, and no specific violations issued since Oct. 1, which marks the beginning of the heat season.

According to the proposed rules, owners will be subject to fees of $200 for each inspection conducted after Jan. 31 for the remainder of that heat season.


The proposed rule provides criteria under which owners of selected buildings may apply to be discharged from the heat sensor program requirements at the end of a heat season, but earlier than the required four years. Here are the criteria:

  • Owner has complied with the program requirements to install and, as appropriate, replace, an internet-capable temperature reporting device in each apartment;
  • Owner hasn’t been issued a notice of violation for heat during the heat season;
  • Owner has supplied all requested records required to be maintained at least once every 30-day period during the heat season; and
  • The building is currently registered with the department.

The proposed rule amendments also provide an option for owners to pay a penalty to satisfy violations that were issued pursuant to HPD’s heat sensor program but which were not corrected at the time the building was eligible for discharge. If owners haven’t complied with certain requirements in the program rules, but are otherwise eligible for discharge, properties may be discharged upon payment of a $500 penalty for each related violation.

The proposed rule also adds a new section for post-discharge resolution of violations. If a building has been discharged from the program and violations are still pending, owners may resolve such violations by paying $500 for each infraction, provided that the owner can demonstrate either that no heat violations were issued during at least one complete heat season or that internet-capable temperature reporting devices were installed in accordance with the rules.