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Special-skills team shares talents to help NYC tenants

A rather singular group of New Yorkers currently making a bit of a stir in the landlord-tenant universe largely comprises individuals who might have gone by the moniker "geek" in former times.

That is, many of them are number crunchers, eminently comfortable with equations, formulae, statistical patterns/trends and coding platforms.

And there is this, too: Many of them are renters across the metro's vast boroughs. Collectively, they share housing-related experiences with bad landlords that have driven them together. They now use their special skill set to uncover problematic landlord behaviors, demand accountability, support a growing advocacy among tenants' groups and promote needed change.

Although the group lacks a formal name (New York's Housing Coders comes to mind as a serviceable title), several of its collective efforts have yielded various programs/apps that have garnered some attention across the metro. Heatseek is one, for example. JustFix.nyc is another. There is Who Owns What, as well.

All those initiatives have the same objective. Namely, that is to spotlight problem landlords and management companies, identify the deficiencies they have created and/or perpetuated and demand prompt fixes. Central to the coders' efforts is the culling together of vast and disparate data/info bits that really lets tenant groups and organizers know who they should be targeting in their demands for responsive change.

One of the coding principals terms his group's goal "civic technology," which is employed to track landlords "that are speculative or predatory in their neighborhood and to be able to organize around that."

As we have noted in past blog posts at Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph, we strongly support such efforts. Our deep legal team of pro-tenant advocates acknowledges the strengths and passions that many New Yorkers bring to bear on behalf of improved housing conditions in the metro, and we applaud it.

Our attorneys also stand ever-ready to support it as knowing allies in the constant fight to make NYC housing accessible, safe and affordable for all city residents. We are a longstanding New York law firm that is one of only a very few to solely represent tenants in every housing matter we undertake.

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