A new interactive map is attempting to warn New Yorkers of looming rent spikes before their landlord lowers the boom.
Designed by the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, an affordable housing coalition, the Displacement Alert Project map is intended to pinpoint blocks and buildings where affordable apartments may be threatened. According to the DAP map website, the map was created "to provide community groups, local residents, elected officials, policymakers, and the public direct" with a realtime database of the city's changing rental landscape.
"New York City’s housing market is born out of a legacy of segregation and inequity," the map's creators state on the site. "The DAP Map demystifies the information used to target neighborhoods for gentrification, often at the expense of a community’s long-term residents. The goal of this project is to build-up the knowledge, access, and capacity of local community institutions and residents in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color with accessible and useful data."
The map, which was created by mining several public databases, grades buildings based on three key "risk factors" for steep rent increases: loss of rent regulated units; volume of building permits on file, which is used as a proxy for tenant turnover; and relative costliness of sales, which can indicate whether a building's purchase was speculative.
Jack Freund, the executive vice president of the Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord group, criticized the map, telling the New York Times that work permits aren't a good indicator of buildings where tenants are vulnerable to harassment.
"The effort to link apartment renovations with harassment and illegal evictions is simply wrong," Freund said. "Existing tenants, their neighborhood, and the city's economy all benefit when landlords improve their buildings."
In gentrifying neighborhoods like Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, and Bushwick—where longtime residents are often paying much lower rents than newcomers—tenants say that an influx of new renters is motivating landlords to push them out, renovate units, and charge higher rents.
Gothamist recently chronicled the saga of 80 New York Avenue, an eight-unit building in Crown Heights whose tenants claim they've been subject to intense harassment by their landlord.
Despite Mayor de Blasio's 10-year plan to add or preserve 200,000 units of affordable apartments, the city's affordable housing market remains tight. Last year, a team of "civic hackers" put together a similar map highlighting the more than 50,000 apartments that have been deregulated in the past decade. According to the Rent Guidelines Board [pdf], there was a net loss of more than 8,000 rent-stabilized apartments in 2015 alone.