[See google doc]

INCUBATOR/RESEARCH/THEORY OF CHANGE: what we're trying to do and why, this is how we worked through the process to put that in to action

- this is what we did this summer

- this is how we came to this point

SCRIPT: Slide deck

- update email (+ annual report)

One particular pain point around proactively identifying new, high-risk buildings in which to organize and bring litigation in Housing Court. We heard that many of our partners would welcome the addition of data analysis of NYC Open Data (particularly housing complaint and violation data) to make decisions about where to focus limited resources.

Furthermore, we heard that litigating heat abuse cases and tenant harassment cases is often near-impossible, given the lack of evidence required by many Housing Court judges. Heat Seek believes that its temperature sensors, if deployed appropriately and combined with other data sources, can provide new resources for advocates to hold these bad actor landlords responsible.

  • By sharing our data with HPD inspectors, we’re illuminating trends in heating outages and allowing them to more efficiently conduct inspections, at the times when buildings are most likely to be in violation.




Adequate heat is protected by law in NYC, regardless of how much money you make or how much you pay in rent. This drastic disparity between who suffers from lack of heat and who doesn’t should not exist. At Heat Seek, we’re doing everything we can to shine a light on this issue.



One of our driving questions is whether the complaints we’re seeing represent single incidents — like a boiler breaking once during the course of a winter — or chronic heating problems that may be indicative of larger issues like tenant harassment or, at the very least, negligent landlords. And while the data will never reveal intent, we believe we can find good proxies within the data for what appears to be long-term tenant harassment through the withholding of heat.

We believe — and both the data and our experience with Heat Seek users confirm — that a small number of “bad actor” landlords across the city are withholding heat as a method of tenant harassment. We believe this is particularly true in gentrifying neighborhoods where rents are rising quickly and landlords have strong incentives to get rent stabilized tenants out.