Nadel & Ciarlo, P.C.

New digital space offers apartment building information

Beautiful apartments in prime locations are difficult to resist in New York, and renters are paying increasing amounts to live in what seems like "the right place."

Many of New York's apartments and houses - small and large, old and new - may be hiding serious problems that have garnered tenant complaints and city-issued violations. New renters have limited opportunities to look into their new home's past.

An internet startup released a letter-grading system for New York real estate websites, which can be installed in seconds by apartment seekers. Now the company, Rentlogic, is looking to grade properties and their owners to address these problems.

Rentlogic used public data in its first iterations of landlord-grading technology, and negotiated with real estate brokers to publish their findings. Unverified complaints were left out of calculations to maintain fairness for landlords and tenants alike.

The system has yet to be perfected. The algorithm draws in all complaints in a property's most recent seven years, which can include complaints to a previous owner. Several major issues may have been solved by renovation, expansion or basic maintenance.

Rentlogic's management says the next step is to build a large pool of apartment hunters who are willing to use the program in their search, as well as verify any information they use in their decision making.

The system's development shows that residential lease seekers need more resources to avoid the wrong real estate deal, just as landlords try to determine the best tenants through credit checks and background verification.

If you believe your apartment has a major problem or requires repair, a legal counselor may help you determine what a landlord is liable for and your options for ensuring you are getting the living space you are paying for.

Source: Crain's New York Business, "Manhattan landlords are about to get graded by algorithm," July 18, 2017

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