The dangers associated with charging e-bikes and other lithiumion battery-powered devices in apartments has become a top priority for legislators after more than 140 fires were reportedly caused by such devices in New York City in 2022. Legislators have been focused on distribution of information regarding the dangers of charging e-bikes indoors and the enactment of new laws that will prevent tenants from keeping e-bikes and other lithium-ion battery-powered mobility devices indoors.
To start, building owners are required to distribute the FDNY’s 2022-2023 Fire and Emergency Preparedness Bulletin to all tenants and on-site employees by April 30, 2023. This year, the Bulletin places special emphasis on e-bike hazards.
Several bills have also been introduced to target the use, storage and charging of e-bikes and other lithium-ion batterypowered mobility devices inside apartments. Bill Intros. 656, 663, 722, 749 and 752 were all discussed during a November 14, 2022 meeting of the City
Council Committee on Fire and Emergency Management.
Among other things, the bills would: (i) require the City to perform educational outreach so that the public and courier workers understand the risks of storing e-bikes indoors, (ii) require the FDNY to prepare annual reports on safety measures to mitigate fire risks associated with
charging e-bikes indoors, (iii) require the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection and the FDNY to distribute to delivery and courier service workers materials providing guidance on the safe use of e-bikes, (iv) prohibit the sale of lithium-ion batteries unless they are listed and labeled by a nationally recognized testing organization, and (v) prohibit the sale of third-party, second-use lithium-ion batteries.
It is recommended that owners of multiple dwellings prohibit the use, storage and charging of e-bikes and other lithium-ion battery-powered mobility devices indoors, if possible. The best way to do this is to include a clear provision in all leases prohibiting such activity. Many leases may already have a provision which prohibits tenants from engaging in dangerous or hazardous behavior. Many co-op and condo Boards are considering adopting such prohibitions by adopting appropriate House Rules, and a number have already done so. But, in any event, and at a minimum, the FDNY’s Fire and Emergency Preparedness Bulletin should be delivered to all tenants and on-site employees as soon as possible.