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Website with all the data on every RS building - feedback?

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Website with all the data on every RS building - feedback?

Postby francisj » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:04 pm

Hi fellow tenants!
I made a website which shows you pretty much every available piece of data on every HPD registered building. Some of the data you can find on the city sites, like HPD violations, registered landlord & agents, Dept of Buildings permits & violations, etc. There are some other data sources, like OATH cases and penalties, rodent inspections, and sales, that I don't believe are available to search anywhere else - including for-profit sites like Propertyshark! And, you can check which other properties your landlords are linked to, which hasn't been easy before.

Using all that data, I also built an "AI" that predicts whether a building is likely to have maintenance issues (i.e. class C violations) in the coming year. I think this is the first time anyone has used machine learning tech to try to spot bad landlords...

If you're interested in helping make this the most powerful tool for NYC tenants to research buildings and landlords - please try it out and let me know what you think! There is a "chat" feature on the page, just click the little blue message button in the bottom right corner of the screen to send me your feedback :)

The site is here:
https://beta.getaugrented.com/

Thanks for your help!
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Re: Website with all the data on every RS building - feedbac

Postby TenantNet » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:32 pm

Oh boy, not another one.

This is not the first such app - even though you say it is. This seems oriented to the smartphone set, at best. But you're not reinventing the wheel.

The premise is flawed. You can't tell what a building is really like by importing city data - no matter how extensive it is. That's because (among a number of reasons) the city data is inaccurate.

So this site - and the others - often report inaccurate information.

I entered a number of addresses from around town. In each case I got "address not found." Update: I found one that worked, but the information provided is meaningless.

Sites like this seem to be a favorite of people who want to make apps; but who are not tenant advocates and who have little understanding of tenant issues or real estate.

BTW, I've said similar things to some of the other app developers, so don't take it personally.
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Re: Website with all the data on every RS building - feedbac

Postby TenantNet » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:55 pm

As an example, I went to a building of which I am familiar, and which I know a DOB violation was issued within the last few months. The violation is set to be heard later this summer after one adjournment. The condition has not been repaired, the owner has not represented that by sending in a certification, and the fine has not been paid.

Yet, your web site says, "All Terms Met" which is false. DOB reports "No compliance recorded."

That's just one example. One can't assume conditions exist or do not exist based on a violation being issued. DOB inspectors have a long history of being influenced by LLs when no one is looking. If not that, some are just lazy. Or an inspector might show up, not get access, or no one is working on the project that has no permits.

And no data base will tell you how nasty or litigious a landlord is, or if the super drinks all day, or harasses tenants.

There is no information on RS tenants or from DHCR.
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Re: Website with all the data on every RS building - feedbac

Postby francisj » Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:32 pm

TenantNet wrote:Yet, your web site says, "All Terms Met" which is false. DOB reports "No compliance recorded."


It's not possible to check whether this is a bug without the address, but generally "All terms met" is an OATH case status, not a DOB violation status...

TenantNet wrote:And no data base will tell you how nasty or litigious a landlord is, or if the super drinks all day, or harasses tenants.


Actually, I am working on obtaining eviction/court data and scoring landlords for that!!

TenantNet wrote:There is no information on RS tenants or from DHCR.


Information on subsidies (including 421a suspensions) will be available soon; there is (as I am sure you know) no official list of RS buildings and rent roll information is not public.

TenantNet wrote:This is not the first such app - even though you say it is


I am aware of Rentlogic (website, not an app), however they do not try to predict building quality. Can you tell me about any other apps for this, for NYC tenants, that you know of?

TenantNet wrote:This seems oriented to the smartphone set, at best.


I'm not sure what/who you mean by this? It's a website, just like TenantNet!!
TenantNet wrote:I entered a number of addresses from around town. In each case I got "address not found." Update: I found one that worked, but the information provided is meaningless.


What do you mean by "meaningless?" Just that you don't see any value in these official records? Are you sure these were all actual addresses, by the way?

TenantNet wrote:Sites like this seem to be a favorite of people who want to make apps; but who are not tenant advocates and who have little understanding of tenant issues or real estate.


Again I am not sure what you mean, there are almost NO apps (or websites!) for tenants to research buildings/landlords - PLEASE share if you know of more!
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Re: Website with all the data on every RS building - feedbac

Postby rentstubq » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:35 am

rentlogic.com does a pretty good job of this :)
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Re: Website with all the data on every RS building - feedbac

Postby TenantNet » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:16 am

In our view, Rentlogic, and other sites like them, are pretty flawed.

All of these apps purport to give the user a clear picture of what a building is like. But they can't. They use "official" data from the city, but there's a long list of reasons why the city data can't be trusted ... from lazy inspectors, to inspectors being caught taking bribes (happens more than you would like to know), to the inability of any data scheme to capture intangibles like landlord attitude, retaliation and harassment, lazy supers, over-zealous litigation and so on. There is no way any of these lunch-time app developers can capture any of that.

In all honesty, we can't either. But we don't pretend that we do. What we do have is experience ... over 30 years of it ... dealing with the landlords and bureaucratic and corrupt government agencies. We have over 6,000 DHCR decisions online (and more coming we hope).

One source we think might have some insight is Yelp. Every so often we see review of buildings or landlords coming from tenants on the ground. While not a tenant site, Yelp reviews probably give a clearer picture of a building or the landlord than any of these instant app developers. Places like Rentlogic might know some code, but they don't have knowledge or experience. Sites like this often list amenities that don't even exist.

I just looked up my building. It's often a mess, occasionally without heat or hot water. Cooking gas was out for many months. Yet Rentlogic gives it an A rating. I'm still looking for the bicycle room and fitness center in my building that Rentlogic claims exist.

These sites are often geared toward millennials (who often aren't looking for a place to live for more than 1-2 years) and unregulated housing.

And the person who created Rentlogic is a relative newcomer to NYC. With them it's all about code, not about housing. Data is fine when you understand its limitations. It's just as easy to look at the DHCR, DOB and HPD websites and get it from the source.
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