How technology can hold bad landlords and developers accountable

Just as proptech makes property management more efficient, new tools are popping up to empower residents

National /
Oct.October 08, 2021 02:05 PM
How technology can hold bad landlords and developers accountable
(iStock)

Venture capital is flowing into proptech, providing developers and property owners with a seemingly endless stream of new solutions to increase the efficiency of everything from collecting rent payments to coordinating projects.

Residents are now developing their own tools to fight back, particularly against slumlords.

Groups are popping up across the country with technology meant to hold bad landlords and developers more accountable, according to Bloomberg CityLab. Efforts include improving transparency about development sites left to languish and uncovering landlords leading pushes for evictions.

In Baltimore, scannable QR codes are being added to 17,000 vacant properties, directing smartphone users to information on the property owner and what’s happening with the project.

“We’re talking about democratizing access to information,” Brendan Schreiber, president of Schreiber Brothers Development, told CityLab of the project.

Blight texting began in Detroit in 2013 after a local software company now known as Regrid began collecting data on vacant parcels in the city. The Motor City Mapping project spun off of that work, sending volunteers across the city to take photos and log the conditions of properties, which then went into a public database.

Another problem the Motor City Mapping project is helping address is property tax foreclosures. An initiative called Neighbor to Neighbor pulls from Regrid and Motor City Mapping to identify properties in danger of foreclosure. Last year, the collaboration sent canvassers to 60,000 tax-delinquent properties to warn residents and educate them about ways to avoid displacement.

The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project has a similar charge. Founded in San Francisco in 2013, the project offers digital tools for users to see where eviction cases are taking place and which landlords are responsible for them. The suite of tools also identifies rental homes owned by REITs that can be difficult for tenants to research on their own.

While technological advances will continue to help homeowners and citizens, CityLab reports that there are drawbacks. For starters, information is becoming more accessible, but insights yielded by the solutions don’t always wind up in the hands of their intended recipients. Additionally, the information is as accessible to homeowners as it is to landlords and developers, who may be able to use it to take advantage of distressed properties.

[Bloomberg] — Holden Walter-Warner





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (Wikipedia, iStock)
    Golf course housing bill dies on the green
    Golf course housing bill dies on the green
    23826 Malibu Road (Redfin)
    Luxe test case as Malibu listing returns to market with 21 percent hike
    Luxe test case as Malibu listing returns to market with 21 percent hike
    Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and an aerial of the property (Getty, Google Maps)
    Kim Kardashian pays extra for Hidden Hills home abutting her, Kanye’s properties
    Kim Kardashian pays extra for Hidden Hills home abutting her, Kanye’s properties
    Whittier Mayor Kimberly Cobos-Cawthorne with layout of Montebello-Commerce Metrolink Statio tiny home village (Facebook, City of Montebello)
    Whittier opens village of tiny homes for homeless residents
    Whittier opens village of tiny homes for homeless residents
    Westmont's Andy Plant and Westmont Village Westmont Living, iStock)
    Senior community nixes industrial development for more residential
    Senior community nixes industrial development for more residential
    A photo illustration of 3620 Ocean Boulevard in Newport Beach's Corona Del Mar enclave (Toby Ponnay, iStock)
    Listing puts Corona del Mar mansion in OC’s $20M+ club
    Listing puts Corona del Mar mansion in OC’s $20M+ club
    FivePoint Holdings' Dan Hedigan (Fivepoints, Ranch on the River)
    FivePoint slashes workforce 29%, posts $37M loss
    FivePoint slashes workforce 29%, posts $37M loss
    Rendering of project at 12826 Philadelphia Street (City of Whittier, iStock)
    OC developer eyes Uptown Whittier for 52-unit apartment complex
    OC developer eyes Uptown Whittier for 52-unit apartment complex
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...