Am I Rent Stabilized?

Chris Henrick

background in geography, cartography, gis, --now work as a web developer. completed this project as part of my masters thesis for the Parsons MFA Design & Technology program


A web app to encourage NYC tenants to find out if their landlord is illegally over charging them for a rent-regulated apartment.

for a rent stabilized apartment

What I'll be covering:


New York Rent Laws:

Limits how much a landlord can raise a tenant's rent each year; guarantees renewal lease; harsher penalties for landlord negligence; has its historical roots in the labor movement of the late 1800's / early 1900's
Rent Stabilization affects ~50% of all apartments in NYC Really the one thing keeping NYC affordable for millions of people. However...


Landlords not telling their tenants they are rent-stabilized.


No pro-active enforcement by government for non-compliance.
Burden of enforcement is placed on the tenant!

Enter Open Data

(well sort of open...)
List of NYC Buildings registered with the DHCR that contain Rent Stabilized units A list of buildings registered with the DHCR containing rent-stabilized units. Again the process is voluntary.
BBL's!!! Borough, Block, Lot number = a unique identifier. Problem was the data is trapped in a PDF.
FOIL request Was able to obtain the data in a machine readable format
Map PLUTO NYC Map PLUTO = tax lot data for the entire city
Registered VS. "likely non-registered"Determine properties that have registered RS units; and those that may have un-registered units;
SQL query:
      SELECT * FROM map_pluto2014v2 
        yearbuilt < 1974 
        AND unitsres >= 6 
        AND bldgclass not ILIKE 'r%';        
Anything that was built before 1974, has 6 or more units, and is not a coop or condo


complexity of data: ambiguous, lack of cooperation with DHCR (claiming its private)


How to make this data more useful?


To use Open Data
as a prompt for Civic Action.


all the things:


Has it been successful?
App is being used by tenants rights and affordable housing advocacy groups.
Working with ProPublica to improve upon & spread awareness of the app.

What I covered:

Thank You