Manhattan property managers and landlords should be put on notice that Manhattan buildings will be graded by using a new Google Chrome Extention by Rentlogic. The four year old company’s software will allow apartment hunters who are viewing an apartment on a broker’s website or listing service to see the building’s grade in a pop-up window. The viewer will also be able to see violations, complaints as well as other issues which may affect quality of life (electrical issues, rodents, bedbugs, etc).
Initially, Rentlogic attempted to have brokerages send their listings in order for them to be evaluated and graded. However, they found that most companies were only sending their best listing according to Yale Fox, their CEO. As a result of this, Rentlogic decided to go with an algorithm which is similar to what he believes will be a Zagat for properties.
The data that Rentlogic uses derives from government reports but according to Bloomberg “ the assumptions his algorithm makes are subject to scorn by the industry. One complaint is that he goes back seven years, meaning that the system can include violations incurred by previous owners. Another is that it uses data on tenant complaints regardless of whether the landlord responded quickly or whether the complaint was verified by a city inspector. Fox said the algorithm doesn’t consider unverified complaints and, in general, is designed to give landlords the benefit of the doubt. He said he plans to introduce functions to help landlords improve building grades.”
They are hoping that the software will provide a level playing field as they will not sway too close to landlords nor be overly critical as well. Being able to prevent disasters such as tenants living in buildings such as the ones owned by Steve Croman would be a goal of the company. Last summer, the Attorney General Eric Schneiderman brought 20 felony charges against Croman for harrassing rent regulated tenants. He is facing up to 25 years in jail and up to 8 million dollars in fines.
The Rentlogic plug-in, which works on Chrome, Firefox, or Opera browsers with Internet Explorer and Safari on the way.