Rental report card: New site rates landlords and apartments using letter grades

Rental report card: New site rates landlords and apartments using letter grades

Rentlogic assigns a letter grade to each building based on complaint records.

The average NYC resident tends to avoid eating at a restaurant with a C rating — would they rent an apartment with a D- rating? That’s the grade my current apartment received according to a new site, Rentlogic, that uses an algorithm to calculate letter grades for apartments and landlords in the city. Now, before you sign the next lease, by going on Rentlogic you’ll be able to check a given apartment’s history of safety violations, vermin infestations, legal action and the like. Think of it as a way to run a background check to supplement your Craigslist search.

The CEO, activist and entrepreneur Yale Fox, who is behind Toronto’s Landlordwatch.com, told DNAInfo that he created the site because “renters really never come first.”

“It’s not a level playing field between landlords and renters,” he said. But by providing crucial information to renters, he’s hoping to change that.  

___________

Rentlogic wants to show you what's really going on with your apartment. via Rentlogic.

Rentlogic wants to show you what’s really going on with your apartment. via Rentlogic.

On Rentlogic, you can search listings by address or neighborhood, and apply filters for price, letter grade, amenities and more. You can search for landlords by name, and their name appears next to the apartments they own. There’s a field where you can write a review of a building or a landlord, and although that won’t hold any bearing on the letter grade rating, it would certainly be helpful to get the 411 on a place from its past tenants. Sort of like a Yelp for real estate?

At this point, it’s unclear what impact the site, which is still in beta, could have, as far as holding landlords accountable. Fox told DNAInfo that his efforts with RentLogic are part of the “smart city movement” which uses data and tech, as opposed to legal or civic action, to affect citizens. He’s continuously adding data to the site to keep up with the 4,000 complaints New Yorkers file with the city daily.

___________

Rentlogic uses publicly available data to rate buildings and landlords. Photo via Rentlogic

Rentlogic uses publicly available data to rate buildings and landlords. Photo via Rentlogic

Right now, it serves as a sort of FYI to renters, revealing the grimy realities of any given building — which are usually concealed by shady landlords — so they know what to avoid, or at least, what they’re getting themselves into. We definitely appreciate the heads-up. How well did your apartment do on its RentLogic report card?