New Yorkers could be one step closer to finding out if they’re paying too much for rent.
A new open data site, called amirentstabilized.com, was created by Chris Henrick, 33, who is in the MFA Design and Technology program at Parsons The New School for Design, according to DNAInfo.
New Yorkers curious if they’re being overcharged enter their building address and borough on the site, which combs through rent records. Whether or not your building is listed as rent stabilized, the site recommends the next steps for finding rental history and filing a complaint.
There are about 1 million rent stabilized units, and about 2.5 million New Yorkers are affected by rent stabilization.
“If people actually know they’re rent stabilized, it doesn’t mean anything unless the agency that protects and oversees rent stabilization are proactive,” said Sheila Garcia, a community organizer with Community Action for Safe Apartments and tenant representative on the RGB.
Garcia gave the example that if a tenant moved into an apartment 10 years ago and started paying $1,000 for rent when the previous tenant paid $500, that higher amount should be a red flag for the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR).
“That doesn’t happen,” Garcia said.
Garcia wasn’t previously familiar with the site took a quick spin at Metro’s request. After typing in a few buildings, Garcia said she was somewhat concerned with the accuracy of the site, which determines rent stabilization by building, since individuals apartments can be stabilized.
“The website looks really cool. I don’t know if I like the fact that you are only basing it on the building because I think the only borough where it will be super accurate in the Bronx,” said Garcia, adding the borough has the highest concentration of rent-stabilized buildings.
If renters do request rent history, Garcia recommends visiting your borough’s DHCR office and ask to be walked through the complicated information. Renters who have been overpaying need to file an overcharge application within four years to get the money back, Garcia said.