AN APP FOR HOUSING JUSTICE

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. 

TRANSCRIPT

> 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 Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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