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This real estate startup gives out letter grades to NYC buildings

Does your your building get an A?

When former Mayor Michael Bloomberg made it mandatory for restaurants to display letter grades from their most recent health-code inspection, consumers were given another basis of choosing which businesses they would patronize. New York-based startup Rentlogic is looking to give NYC renters a similar type of power—this time, with their landlords.

Rentlogic hopes to make it easier for tenants to find out how apartment buildings fare in terms of adhering to building codes, reports the Wall Street Journal. Using publicly-available data on violations of NYC's building code, the website rates the city’s apartment buildings, with grades ranging from A through F, on issues that include infestations and mold to climate control. An algorithm calculates grades based upon the nature of the violations and the number of outstanding ones.

A downloadable browser extension gives apartment hunters the ability to see building grades as they search through various real estate sites and search engines like StreetEasy or Zillow. Landlords that are particularly proud of their good grades can choose to order a plaque to display on their property.

There are some concerns over grading buildings based upon those violations. Frank Ricci, the Rent Stabilization Association’s director of government affairs, told the WSJ that the city’s housing maintenance code is “grossly outdated.”

It’s not the first time a site has sought to empower renters in this way: Over the summer, the two college friends behind Whose Your Landlord shared details on their website, focused on giving renters a forum for Yelp-style reviews of the city’s landlords.