It is almost impossible to discover any rental or landlord problems prior to signing a lease for a property since there isn’t a way to check its history entirely. However, Yale Fox believes that this check should be a standard practice. This is why his website Rentlogic which is currently still in beta mode makes it easier for possible renters to right away understand any problems associated with the property including a no good landlord.
Rentlogic assigns a letter grade to Manhattan’s 1.1 million residential properties or buildings using an algorithm. This is done using open source data like construction violations, mold problems or vermin infestations. The site allows a user to search for rental apartments or properties coming from listing feeds or brokerages. This is displayed from the best to the worst and by neighborhood. When a building has a low grade, other rentals with higher grades are displayed or shown.
Fox mentions that the playing field between the landlords and the renters is not equal due to the high rent offered by landlords while keeping their operating costs at a minimum. He views his web site as a “smart city movement” instead of it being a part of the business of real estates. He hopes that through technology, urban life is improved. He hopes that it helps renters set the difference between good and bad landlords while pushing the bad to be good.
An example of an “F” rating property is one that has a history of issues like heat plus hot water problems while facing legal problems. This property also includes infestations from roaches, mice and bed bugs problems. Most of the Manhattan buildings got a rating of B at almost 35%. 21% were Cs, 19% were Ds and 16% per Fs. Only 9% scored As.
According to Aaron Carr of the Housing Rights Initiative, this is incredibly needed since many renters spend a huge amount of their money on rent alone. He applauds the site’s ability to get information that is usually kept hidden and hard to comprehend. With this innovation, renters are already informed of even the slightest information in a rental like its facilities or Bathroom Furniture to many more relevant information.