Residents in a Manhattan co-op building with 140 units are no longer permitted to keep lithium-ion battery-powered devices, such as e-bikes and scooters, in their apartments. The popularity of these gadgets has led to a complete ban on the premises.

The co-op’s board president, Joshua Shapiro, stated that the decision was an easy one, as most co-ops and condos have had similar discussions.

This policy, introduced in the past six months, is becoming more common in new leases for both residential and commercial real estate. New York landlords are concerned about fire hazards associated with rechargeable batteries.

According to RDE Advisors CEO Ross Eisenberg, many landlords have taken a firm stance against allowing lithium-ion batteries in their buildings due to the potential danger they pose. More than a quarter of the landlords Eisenberg works with have already implemented bans on e-bikes and scooters, and others are contemplating similar prohibitions.

Lithium-ion batteries have become increasingly widespread in cities. Delivery workers rely on them to transport food, and residents often use them for commuting. These batteries are also employed in larger vehicles like electric cars.

Nevertheless, when these batteries malfunction, they can cause quick-spreading fires and inflict significant damage. Since 2019, New York and San Francisco have witnessed nearly 700 incidents combined, according to The Messenger.

In response, New York Mayor Eric Adams is expected to sign legislation to strengthen the regulation of unsafe batteries and promote proper storage practices. In the meantime, landlords are taking steps of their own to secure their buildings.

Major landlords SL Green and Tishman have implemented rules prohibiting the use of micromobility vehicles, including rollerblades and skateboards, in some office leases. According to sources, these rules are in place to ensure safety and prevent potential hazards.

In one case, a landlord in California had to ban e-bikes after an insurance provider threatened increased costs.

However, lithium-ion batteries are everywhere. They’re found in consumer tech products ranging from laptops to e-cigarettes. This means that enforcing complete bans against lithium-ion batteries is challenging.

Some buildings have UL-certified lithium-ion batteries, which undergo more rigorous safety testing. However, effectively managing the storage and upkeep of these devices can be difficult, unless they are kept in designated bike rooms.

E-bike advocates are challenging the validity of the e-bike fire statistics. They point out that many of the fires blamed on e-bikes are actually caused by e-scooters, and argue that the two devices should be treated differently.

Image Source: Morning Brew,