So what is this?
The NYC Landlord Lookup
portal is an experimental tool
created to provide easy access to various information sources in the NYC real estate
data ecosystem (some well known, others not well-known). It's a project run by volunteers,
and ultimately intended to be open source.
Features and Scope
It doesn't do a whole lot, at present -- but what it does do, it tries to do
very accurately. The primary area of focus is on what we call the "backbone"
(making sense of, and smoothing over gaps in the City's somewhat archaic numbering
system for tax lots and buildings), and on (rigorously) identifying current
property ownership. Importantly, it aims to capture every
taxlot and building
in the system, and to work on any (reasonably) valid address or property identifier
you might wish to feed it in the search bar.
And the second area of focus is on identifying properties that have some form
of rent stabilization, or are otherwise enrolled with the city as "affordable".
This is somewhat tricky (especially in regard to identifying stabilized properties),
because while it's easy to tell if a building might be stabilized,
to tell whether it actually is stabilized you have to cross-check various
obscure datasets. So far as we know, this the only search portal that provides
this category of information.
And finally, we put it all on a map. Because everyone likes looking at maps.
Currently the portal makes use of some 25+ datasets, taken from various city agencies.
We'll be providing a detailed list in the near future, but special credit and thanks
- Socrata for
hosting most of the city-provided datasets
- Local Law 11 of 2012
(aka the "Open Data Law") for making those datasets possible
- John Krauss for his crucial DOF taxbill
scrapes (which provide the most current and detailed counts of stabilized
properties and units, "in the large").
Usage + Caveats
By this point most address searches seem to go through, and when they go through
they're quite accurate (if in fact they describe a valid address). That said we're
currently entirely dependent on the City's Geoclient API
to do the actual address-to-BBL conversion -- which, while generally quite good, has been seen to fail on
valid addresses, occasionally.
And when it does identify a property, there are still various glitches in the
city's numbering system -- particularly as applies to recently built or demolished
buildings, and recently registered condominium projects. Statistically speaking
these "holes" are quite rare, but because they apply to newer development projects
(that you're more likely to do searches on), they appear often enough.
So this is one of the areas we're currently working on smoothing over at the
data aggregation level.
Also, it's not mobile-optimized. Sorry, haven't had time yet. We'll get to it, though.