Data / Housing / Technology

Is your apartment rent stabilized? Are you sure?

A new site aims to combat landlords who lie about the rent stabilization status of their apartments to incoming renters.

According to amirentstabilized.com, more than half of apartments in New York City are rent stabilized. But plenty of landlords forget to mention that when they’re charging the city’s freshest arrivals literally whatever they feel like.
“Currently rent stabilization and rent control have to be renewed periodically, and each time they are renewed the real estate industry attempts to weaken them,” according to the site. “The real estate industry has succeeded at this since the 1990’s when destabilization was first introduced, and since then the city has lost an estimated 300,000 rent-stabilized apartments!”
Like other sites that contain an entire sentence in their urls, this one is very simple. Just type in your address, pick your borough and the site will tell you if your apartment is likely rent stabilized.
Before you angrily dial your landlord though, be cautious. The site says that actual data on rent stabilization is hard to come by because so much of it is self-reported by landlords. It recommends, rather, getting in touch with a housing attorney or civil rights group. If indeed you’ve been paying market rent for a rent-stabilized apartment, you might be eligible for a lump sum payment of your back rent.

Am I Rent Stabilized is the work of Chris Henrick, a San Francisco-based geo web developer and cartographic designer. Formerly of New York, Henrick has an MFA from Parsons School of Design and has done work with Pratt’s Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative.
On his site, Henrick writes that he created the Am I Rent Stabilized “to solve the problem of NYC landlords lying to tenants about rent-stabilization and illegally deregulating rent-stabilized apartments.” The web app was his Parsons thesis project.
Tenant’s rights in New York have a long and complicated history. Rent stabilization started during World War II, when Franklin Roosevelt signed a law to combat inflation in the housing market. Since the 70s and 80s, rent control and rent stabilization regulations have been eased by the state in favor of a free-market approach to the housing market. Here’s a video from Am I Rent Stabilized.

As it happens, despite living in a modern-day tenement house, my address is not listed as being rent stabilized, though I have no doubt that my devious landlord would have kept it from me if I were. You win this round, Dorothea.

Series: Brooklyn

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