UNHP

Community Resource Guide

table of contents

Tools for Building Research

The Building Indicator Project is a database developed by UNHP to identify NYC multifamily properties in physical and/or financial distress. In its current form, BIP has aggregated more than a decade of data for all 60,000+ rental buildings in NYC, tracking more than 120 data-points for each building.

BIP can be very useful when you are interested in looking at what has happened in a building over a long period of time. The database helpfully combines multiple data sources with information about the physical and financial characteristics of a building as well as information about who the owner of the building may be. BIP can also be useful if you want to look at the buildings within a specific geography such as zip code or community district. It’s flexible formatting allows you to slice or filter the data in a variety of ways.

WhoOwnsWhat is a tool developed by JustFix.nyc to track landlords’ portfolios. You enter the property that you are interested in, and it will retrieve other buildings that are likely owned by the same person. You can export this information as a csv by clicking on the “portfolio” tab at the top of the page. It will also provide you with building violation, eviction, and rent stabilization information. You can even start to look at this information overtime by navigating to the “Timeline” tab at the top of the page.

The website also has a “Useful links” section which you can use to quickly navigate to city sites - ACRIS, HPDOnline, DOB, etc - in order to find additional information.

WhoOwnsWhat can be a great jumping off point if you are looking to find out who owns the building you are interested in, or if you are interested in starting to research the landlord’s portfolio.

DAP allows you to search in two ways. You can look up information for a specific address or for a specific geography (community district, zip code, etc.). When searching for a specific property you will be able to view and download a variety of information as a csv. DAP pulls information from ACRIS, HPD, and DOB. It also gathers information about evictions executed by a marshal and legal actions that have been taken against the landlord. On the left hand side of the page you can find basic information about the building as well as information about rent stabilization and whether the building is a part of any special programs (J5a, 421a, etc.).

When you search by geography you will be taken to the “District Dashboard”. Here you can view the buildings in an area by housing type - rent stabilized, subsidized, etc. You can then use the sliders next to the different datasets to filter your results. For example, you can filter for properties with 5 or more HPD Complaints as shown below. Note, if you want to use more than one dataset at a time, you will need to pay attention to whether you want to use “AND” or “OR” logic. If you choose AND then a building will have to meet all of your filter criteria in order to be included in the results; if you choose OR it must only meet one. You can export your results as a csv by clicking on the “TABLE” button on the right hand side above the map. Do note that you can choose the time range of the data included in the District Dashboard view in the top left hand corner.

DAP is really helpful if you want to quickly pull together spreadsheets with historical data from a variety of sources for a specific building. It is also a good place to look if you are starting broader and trying to find a building that meets certain criteria or determine statistics about the state of the housing stock in a certain area.

  • Open Data

Open Data is NYC’s initiative to make data from a variety of agencies easily accessible to the public. Through the website you are able to view a variety of data sets in a tabular form. You can easily write your own conditions to filter the data and export it as a CSV. You can also create visualizations and complete aggregate analysis. For more information about how to use the more advanced aspects of Open Data see their How To section here.

The NYU Furman Center has created CoreData.nyc, an interactive tool that allows users to interact with a variety of datasources. Importantly, information about building subsidies such as 421a, J51, and LIHTC is accessible through CoreData. Click here to read through their User Guide which includes a How To section as well as a Data Dictionary. You can also learn more about the various types of Housing Programs via the Directory of NYC Housing Programs. Another helpful part of this website is the Neighborhood Profiles section. Here you can view and download data by borough or neighborhood regarding demographics, the housing market and conditions, land use and development, neighborhood services and conditions, and renters.

  • Public Lists

There are a few lists published with the goal of identifying landlords who are bad actors in NYC. These lists are helpful as they allow you to quickly find out whether or not the building’s owner is known for their bad behavior. These lists also are helpful because they take into account landlords’ full portfolios, not just one building. In other words they show landlords who have a pattern of bad behavior.

  1. Worst Landlords Watchlist

This list is published annually by the City Public Advocate. It ranks landlords based on the number of open Immediately Hazardous and Hazardous (HPD C & B) violations in their buildings. You can read more about how the list is created here.

You can see portfolio wide statistics for each landlord as well as information on the individual buildings that are included. While DOB violations, evictions, and tax liens do not affect a landlord’s inclusion on the list, data on them is included on the list.

  1. Worst Evictors List

The Worst Evictors List tracks landlords with the greatest number of evictions executed in their buildings. It also takes into account the number of evictions that the landlord filed across their portfolio. This is important as filings better capture the full picture of evictions. Many times tenants “self evict” meaning they vacate the apartment before a marshall comes to remove them which is when an eviction is technically considered to have been executed.

There is also a mapping component to the list. You can view where the evictions carried out by the worst evictors are taking place in NYC. This can be really helpful in understanding where tenants who may be experiencing similar problems are located.

The list is created through a joint effort of the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition, JustFix.nyc, and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. The site includes information about the proportion of rent stabilized tenants as well as the lenders, lawyers, and eviction marshalls that the landlords work with.

Talk to Your Neighbors and Fellow Tenants

Looking up information online is a great way to start. However, if you really want to capture the full picture of what is going on in your building, the best thing to do is talk with the other people who live there. They may be able to corroborate and add to experiences you have found - it is important to remember that many things occur in buildings without ever being recorded or tracked. Ultimately, data will never be able to tell the full story - seeing that there is a violation for mold in an apartment is not the same as hearing from the tenant who is having to live with mold in their home. Data is often best used as a support for storytelling and lived experience.