On November 1, 2023, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced proposed changes to NYCHA rules and regulations including changes to the “House Rules” and residents’ conditions of occupancy) for everyone living in public housing to prevent fires and protect residents’ health and safety. The proposed changes also further the goals of Charge Safe, Ride Safe: New York City’s Electric Micromobility Action Plan, which uses a multifaceted approach to reducing fires while promoting safe use of electric micromobility (e-micromobility). The proposed rules are narrowly tailored to improve safety while minimizing impacts on public housing residents who use e-micromobility devices.
Scroll down to read the proposed rules and regulations as well as a full explanation of the proposed changes.
Members of the public had the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes by mail or e-mail. The public comment period for the proposed micromobility policy closed on December 31, 2023. NYCHA will review all comments before releasing or implementing a final policy.
Background and Purpose:
To prevent fires and protect residents’ health and safety, and in furtherance of Charge Safe, Ride Safe: New York City’s Electric Micromobility Action Plan, which uses a multifaceted approach to reducing fires while promoting safe use of electric micromobility (e-micromobility), the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announces proposed changes to NYCHA rules and regulations (this includes changes to the “House Rules” and your conditions of occupancy) for everyone living in public housing.
NYCHA recognizes that e-micromobility devices (such as e-bikes, e-scooters, and similar devices) are integral to the city’s urban transportation network and are a vital mode of transportation for many NYCHA residents. E-micromobility is important to many low-income New Yorkers, particularly those who rely on this transportation for their work or live in areas with limited public transportation options. For many, these devices replace car trips and fill in transit gaps or replace long transit trips in ways that traditional pedal bikes cannot. Riders can cover longer distances and hills and carry heavy loads (e.g., groceries, children, cargo) more easily. Delivery workers can complete long shifts without impacting traffic congestion when using e-micromobility devices instead of cars. People with mobility limitations and older adults, for whom traditional pedal bikes may not be an option, also benefit from e-micromobility options. E-micromobility is a safe, green transit alternative when proper safeguards are in place. These devices can promote economic opportunity and improve quality of life for all New Yorkers while reducing the user’s carbon footprint. The proposed rules are narrowly tailored to improve safety while minimizing impacts on public housing residents who use e-micromobility devices.
NYCHA is a key player in the City’s e-micromobility efforts. In addition to these rules, NYCHA is working to increase residents’ options and will be piloting dedicated e-micromobility charging and storage solutions. NYCHA’s efforts — together with the City’s holistic approach to support New Yorkers’ transition to safe, legal e-micromobility, educate the public on fire safety, regulate devices, create safe riding conditions, and enforce key laws — will benefit NYCHA residents and New York City as a whole .
E-micromobility devices that are classified in state or local law as e-bikes and e-scooters and that may be legally operated in New York City will continue to be permitted in NYCHA apartments. Information on e-bikes and e-scooters that may be legally operated in New York City can be found on the NYC Department of Transportation’s website, which includes the following chart.
As described in the proposed rule, NYCHA would prohibit or continue to prohibit devices other than legal e-bikes and e-scooters that, due their size, weight, NY State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) categorization, or use of an internal-combustion engine, are not appropriate for storage in NYCHA apartments. The proposed changes would add to the list of prohibited vehicles or devices, including by adding vehicles or devices that cannot be operated legally on New York City streets, as well as any vehicle that must be registered with the DMV or that requires a driver’s license to operate. Many of these prohibited vehicles or devices are non-street-legal electric mopeds, which have not passed sufficient safety standards to be licensable in New York State.
Charging and Storage Rules
E-micromobility batteries pose safety risks if used or charged improperly, but there are a variety of charging best practices that, if followed, significantly reduce this risk. Fires caused by lithium-ion batteries have been a growing problem in New York City. These fires are particularly dangerous because they start and spread quickly, create noxious gas, and are especially difficult to extinguish. NYCHA encourages the safe and legal use of e-micromobility devices, and these rules formalize best practices that will help keep residents safe. These proposed rules are intended to foster the safe use of allowed devices within residents’ homes and communities.
NYCHA residents currently have guidance and obligations regarding rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, e-micromobility devices, internal-combustion vehicles and devices, and home-based businesses. NYCHA reiterates storage and charging guidance and resources and reminds residents of their lease obligations and NYCHA rules. Please see the Home-Based Business Checklist, for guidance on home-based businesses.
NYCHA also encourages residents to follow the New York City Fire Department’s (FDNY) safety guidance and be smart consumers when purchasing e-micromobility devices: Look for Underwriters Lab (UL) certification when purchasing electric bikes and, in accordance with local law, do not purchase batteries that have been refurbished or tampered with.
Explanation of Proposed Rules:
Under the proposed language, residents and their guests would be prohibited from keeping, storing, or charging any of the following e-micromobility vehicles, devices, or their component batteries in their apartments or in common areas of NYCHA buildings:
Residents and their guests are allowed to keep, store, and charge e-bikes and e-scooters that may be legally operated in New York City. However, residents and their guests must abide by the following rules on keeping and charging e-micromobility devices, vehicles, and their batteries. For information about those e-micromobility devices which are e-bikes and e-scooters that may be legally operated in New York City, please refer to the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) website, which includes the following chart.
Under the proposed language, residents and their guests are prohibited from doing the following:
The proposed language also includes the following additional requirements:
The violation of any of the requirements above would constitute a breach of the tenant’s obligations under the lease (see paragraph 12(e), (f), (g), (k), (q), and (bb)).
Proposed Rule Language:
Please refer to FDNY’s 2022-2023 Fire and Emergency Preparedness Bulletin, which NYCHA mailed to residents in January 2023, for additional safe charging and storage information: FDNY’s guidance also includes looking for Underwriters Lab (UL) certification when purchasing electric bikes. In addition, local law prohibits the sale of lithium-ion batteries that have been refurbished or tampered with.