AN APP FOR HOUSING JUSTICE

February 14, 2020 at 4:45 am

JustFix.nyc has developed an app that’s helping tenants all across the city turn the tables on their lousy landlords.

Aired on February 13, 2020. 

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>>> HAVE YOU EVER HAD A BAD
LANDLORD IN NEW YORK CITY?
IF YOU HAVEN'T, YOU PROBABLY
KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS.FO TENANTS
PAINT, LEAKY PIPES AND
INSUFFICIENT HEAT IN THE WINTER
CAN UNFORTUNATELY BE COMMON
PLACE.
NEW YORK CITY'S RENT LAWS ARE
SUPPOSED TO FAVOR THE TENANT
OVER THE LANDLORD.
WHY ARE PEOPLE STILL LIVING IN
SUBSTANDARD HOUSING?
AS PART OF CSIHE
MISSION, WE'RE TAKING A LOOK AT
JUST FIX NYC.
IT HELPS PEOPLE NAVIGATE THE
IN WOUSI EASIER FOR TEN ANTS TO
KNOW AND EXERCISE THEIR RIGHTS.
HERE TO TELL US MORE, ONE OF THE
CO-FOUNDERS.
GEORGE, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.
>> THANK YOU FORAV SO OF COURSE
NOW IN THE WORLD WE LIVE IN, IF
YOU HAVE A PROBLEM OR A
QUESTION, THERE'S AN APP FOR
THAT.
SO GIVE AS YOU LITTLE OF THE
BACKGROUND OF JUST FIX NYC.
>> AS YOU TOUCHED ON, NEW YORK
CITY HAS A SERIOUS AFFORDABILITY
PROBLEM.
50% ARE RENT BURDENS.
ALMOST A QUARTER ARE SEVERELY
RENT BURDENED PAYING 50% OR MORE
OF THEIR INCOME ON RENT.
THAT DOESN'T TRANSLATE TO
QUALITY INHA IN FIVE RENTING
HOUSEHOLDS IN NEW YORK LIVE IN
APARTMENTS WITH THREE OR MORE
MAINTENANCE DEFICIENCIES AT ANY
TIME.
SO TRE ROACHES, RATS, LEAD
PAINT, MOLD.
SO WHEN I MET MY CO-FOUNDERS A
FEW YEARS AGO, WE WERE REALLY

INTERESTED IN HOW WE COULD
SUPPORT THE RIGHTS
MOVEMENT IN NEW YORK.
AND WE WERE COMING FROM
BACKGROUNDS IN TECHNOLOGY WILL
AND DESIGN AND WE WANTED TO SEE
IF THERE WERE WAYS TO USE THOSE.
AND SUPPORT TENANTS AND REALLY
OUR NEIGHBORS THAT WERE AT RISK
OF THE.
>> SO WHEN IT COPS TO AN APP
LIKE THIS, BECAUSE I WAS GOING
THROUGH IT.
AND IT SEEMS U OF, I
GUESS, CROWD SOURCING FOR LACK
OF A BETTER DESCRIPTION.
GETTING PEOPLE TO GLOM AND SHARE
WHO THEIR LAND LORD IS.
WHATASN'TNNT IS IT TO GET AS
MANY NEW YORKERS AS POSSIBLE TO
BE ENGAGING WITH THIS KIND OF A
PLATFORM TO GET AS MUCH
INFORMATION TOGETHER?
>> TABSOLUTELY.
WE DO A LOT OF WORK TO ANALYZE
ALL THE INFORMATION THAT TENANTS
ARE SUBMITTING THROUGH THE
VARIOUS TOOLS THAT WE OFFER.
AND WE ALSO LOOK AT A LOT OF
DIFFERENT DATA FROM THE CITY
ITSELF.
SO DIFFERENT AGENCIES ARE
PUBLISHING OPEN DATA ABOUT
HOUSING VIOLATIONS, FINANCES OF
BUILDINGS.
WE'RE LOOKING AT THAT TO
IDENTIFY WHAT ARE THE BUILDINGS
IN NEIGHBORHOODS THAT ARE MOST
AT RISK.
AND ALSO, WHO ARE THE LANDLORDS
THAT HAVE TRACK RECORDS OF BEING
BAD ACTORS ACROSS THEIR WHOLE
PORTFOLIO?
SO IT IS REALLY CRITICAL AS WE
TRY TO DO THAT KIND OF
IDENTIFICATION, SO THAT THE WORK
THAT ADVOCATES ARE DOING, THAT
THE CITY IS DOING, CAN BE REALLY
TARGETED OF THE IT IS O WHERE IF
AN 80/20 OR 90/10 PROBLEM OF 10
OR 20% OF THE LAND LORDS ARE
RESPONSIBLE FOR 80 OR 90% OF THE
ISSUES.
D WHO THE EALLY TARGETED WORK
LANDLORDS, THE CORPORATE
LANDLORDS, THE MANAGEMENT COPIES
THAT HAVE BAD TRACK RECORDS,
IDENTIFYING WHO THOSE COMPANIES
ARE SO THAT THE ENFORCEMENT AND
THE OUTREACH CAN BE REALLY
TARGETED AT THE BUILDINGS EAN P.
>> OF COURSE, YOU DID JUST STAY
CORPORATE LANDLORDS.
SO MUCH OF THE CONVERSATION
WE'VE BEEN HAVING, ESPECIALLY
LATELY
ABOUT PUBLIC HOUSING AND
INSUFFICIENCIES WITH THE PUBLIC
HOUSING.
DOES THIS APP ADDRESS THAT AT
ALL?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
FOR AN INDIVIDUAL TENANT, AND
THIS IS TENANTS LIVING IN RENT
REGULATED HOUS I NYCHA OR MARKE
ANY OF THOSE TENANTS CAN GO TO
THE WEBSITE.
THEY ENTER IN THEIR ADDRESS.
YOU ENTER IN THE N
OR HOUSING ADDRESS
WITHIN THE FIVE BURROUGHS AND
YOU'LL GET SOME DIFFERENT DATA
ABOUT YOUR BUILDING.
RIGHT?
SO IF THERE ARE CURRENT
VIOLATIONS, IF THERE HAVE BEEN
EVICTIONS IN THE PAST FEW YEARS.
AND THEN YOU'LL GET A SERIES OF
ACTIONS THAT YOU CAN T B SITUAT
DEALING WITH.
SO THIS MIGHT BE EVERYTHING FROM
ORDERING YOUR RENTAL HISTORY TO
SEE IF YOUR APARTMENT IS RENT
STABILIZED OR IF YOU'VE BEEN
OVERCHARGED.YOSEETR MP A OFFICIF
COMPLAINT VIA CERTIFIED MAIL
DIRECTLY TO YOUR LANDLORD.
AND YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING UP TO
ACTUALLY CREATING THE COURT
FILINGS TO BRING YOUR LANDLORD
TO HOUSING COURT.
FOR TENANTS FACINGVIEY CO EVICTC

AND SEE IF THEY'RE ELIGIBLE FOR
A FREE ATTORNEY FOR THE
UNIVERSAL ACCESS PROGRAM THAT
THE CITY HAS RUDE OUT IN THE
PAST CAN YOU PLEASE YEARS.
AND SO MOST OF THESE SERVICES
ARE GOING T
REGARDLESS OF THE TYPE OF
HOUSING THAT YOU'RE LIVING IN.
CERTAINLY TENANTS IN PUBLIC
HOUSING.
IT HAS BEEN HIGHLY PUBLICIZED.
>> IN SO MANY OF THOSE
DEVELOPMENTS.
SO IT IS REALLY CRITICAL TO
OOS
WELL OF THE.
>> WHEN I WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR
APP, YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT HOW
IT WILL GIVE YOU SUGGESTIONS FOR
ACTIONS THAT COULD BE TAKEN, A
LOT OF THEN ARE WITH NONPROFIT
ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN
DOING TEN ANTS' RIGHTS WORK FOR
A LONG TI.MEERE
ADVOCATING FOR LAND LORDS, AND
THE LAND LORD ORGANIZATIONS,
WILL SAY THESE GROUPS HAVE
ALWAYS EXISTED.
THE LAWS ARE ON THE SIDES OF THE
TENANTS OF THE THE ORGANIZATIONS
THERE TO HELP THE TENANTS HAVE
ALWAYS EXISTED.
SO WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE
GETTING AT?
YOU'RE JUST CREATING MORE ISE,
WITHIN THE SYSTEM THAT'S ALREADY
OVERLOADED WITH A LOT OF
COMPLAINTS FROM TENANTS.
>>RE.TH OS THIS LINE
ABOUT THE LAWS IN NEW YORK CITY
ARE VERY TENANT FRIENDLY BUST
THE LAWS ARE ONLY GAS AS THE
ENFORCEMENT.
SO IT IS REALLY, REALLY
IMPORTANT TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR
TENANTS TO ACTUALLY ENFORCE
THEIR RIGHTS.
AND SINCE THE BEGINNING OF OUR
WORK, WHEN THIS WAS JUST SIMPLY
VERY, VERY CLOSELY WITH
ORGANIZING GROUPS, LEGAL AID
PROVIDERS ACROSS THE CITY WHO TO
YOUR POINT HAVE BEEN DOING THIS
WORK FOR DECADES AND DECADES.
AND REALLY, WE'VE WORKED ALONG
ONSIDEM TO BUILD THESE TOOLS
TO SCALE UP WHAT THEY'VE BEEN
OFFERING.

AND ABSOLUTELY NOT REPLACE ANY
OF THE EXISTING SUPPORT TT'THER.
BUT INSTEAD AUGMENT IT AND
HOPEFULLY MAKE THEIR WORK AS
ADVOCATES OR ORGANIZERS, MAKE
THEIR WORK MORE CIT,ALLOW THEM
OUTREACH INSTEAD OF DOING WORK
AT A DESK, TRYING TO FILE THE
PAPERWORK.
THAT SORT OF THING.
IT DOESN'T JUST END WITH AN
VINDIVIDUALS GET
CONNECTED TO THE COMMUNITY
ORGANIZING THE GROUPS IN THEIR
NEIGHBORHOOD?
SO THEIR EXPERIENCE CAN BE A
CATALYST FOR OTHER PEOPLE TO
JOIN IN ON THE FIGHT, AND THAT
IS REALLY WHERE THEY CAN BUILD
ROSCITY.
WE CAN START ADDRESSING THE CITY
AT THE SCALE OF THE PROBLEM.
>> LISTEN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
EXPLAINING JUST FIXNYC.
IT SEEMS LIKE SOMETHING THAT
SHOULD HAVE ALWAYS EXISTED OF
THE WEE BE WATCHING TO SEE WHAT
DO YOU KNOW TO HELP THESE
TENANTS BE ABLE TO USE A

SINGULAR SOURCE TO SOLVE THEIR
HOUSINPROBLEMS.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, YOU CAN
VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT
METROFOCUS.ORG.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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