Is rent on the rise? There’s an interactive map for that

Interactive identifies 25K buildings where tenants may be displaced or harassed

The Displacement Alert Project Map (credit: Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development)
The Displacement Alert Project Map (credit: Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development)

A once-affordable neighborhood where rents suddenly soar is a familiar story, particularly in New York City.

A new interactive, called the Displacement Alert Project Map, identifies neighborhoods where affordable housing could be under threat.

The map’s creator, the nonprofit Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, mined several public databases, the New York Times reported. It collected data on more than 96,400 residential buildings with more than three apartments that were either sold in 2015, had a work permit obtained from the Department of Buildings since 2013, or contained at least one rent-regulated unit since 2007.

A high volume of building permits can indicate renovations, which could lead to rent hikes. Frequency of building sales can expose up-and-coming real estate markets, according to the group.

Buildings are assigned a “risk score.” In all three categories, 24,766 properties have been given the highest risk score in all three categories, Barika Williams, deputy director for the association, told the newspaper.

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The association hopes the data will help shape public policy and give activists the information they need to protect vulnerable tenants. Last year, more than 8,000 rent-stabilized apartments were lost, according to the Times.

Most of them occurred when tenants moved out of a rent-stabilized unit and a landlord re-rented it for more than $2,700 a month, which allows an apartment to be deregulated under state rent law.

But Jack Freund, executive vice president of landlord group the Rent Stabilization Association, is critical of the tool. He told the Times that permits are not a reliable barometer of buildings where tenants are vulnerable to displacement. “The effort to link apartment renovations with harassment and illegal evictions is simply wrong,” he said.

The de Blasio administration has attempted to deal with the city’s housing crisis with his signature Mandatory Inclusion Housing policy. [NYT]Miriam Hall