Browser Extension Lets Tenants Give Landlords A Good Or Bad Report Card

Rentlogic wants landlords in New York to receive a grade based on how well they take care of their properties

When renting an apartment, the potential resident wants to know all the little details about a building, from what the water is like to how quickly the landlord responds to a maintenance request. These questions don’t always get answered beforehand, sometimes resulting in a one-year lease that’s difficult to endure. Startup company Rentlogic makes finding out this information a little easier. The company created a browser extension for interested renters to download and use while looking at building webpages, giving the residences a grade of an A, B, C or F.

Presently, Rentlogic only operates in New York. The intention of using a browser extension was for users to know Rentlogic did not want to pick favorites. The idea started when the founder of the company, Yale Fox, had his dog get sick from a toxic mold growing in the apartment he rented from Steven Croman, a landlord who was sentenced to prison for his poor management of multiple buildings he owned. Fox didn’t want other renters to suffer the same problems. Rentlogic began in 2013 as a website where visitors could look up their current address and see a grade for their area.

Landlords get rated with a program based on an algorithm that gathers all of the public violations an establishment has received from the city. These violations are weighted based on their levels of danger or cruelty and how difficult they can make a resident’s stay. Buildings with an ‘A’ rating may still list problems, such as electrical issues that have been dealt with in the past. However, landlords with an ‘F’ rating typically have more recent problems, like water leaking from the roof that has not been fixed for months.

The more recently a problem was submitted, the lower the rating of the landlord. Renters dial the ‘311’ number to notify New York City inspectors about the issue. The inspectors investigate the issue, verify the claim and then formally establish the problem and bring it before the landlord. All issues listed by Rentlogic are ones that have gone through the city. Currently, the system is operating in beta, as not all landlords who received an ‘F’ truly deserve the grade. Fox plans to work with landlords and residents directly to ensure that the grade on the website properly portrays the actual experience there.

Should Rentlogic expand to other cities and states, the company may have to rely on other methods of making sure the grade accurately matches the landlord.