https://amirentstabilized.com is a web app that helps NYC renters find out if their landlord is illegally over charging them for a rent-stabilized apartment, and if so motivates them to take action. It uses open data obtained from a Freedom of Information Law Request and runs on CartoDB, a platform that makes it easy for making interactive maps, geo visualizations, and geospatial data-driven applications.
The site works in sequential steps / slides flowing vertically. A "sticky scrolling" interaction is used to transition from one step / slide to the next.
First, the user is prompted to enter their address & select the borough they live in. If "search" is clicked without the user completing these tasks then it displays form validation errors asking the user to complete them before moving on.
A CSS3 animation displays after the address is searched to give the user feedback that something is happening. The ghosts above the building bob up and down while the lights flicker on and off.
The address searched by the user is geo-located on a map that shows properties with likely rent-stabilized apartments in orange. If their address matches one of the properties they are told that they might be rent-stabilized.
If the searched address is not matched with a property that likely has rent-stabilzed apartments the user is still encouraged to move ahead in the sequence of the site.
Three options are displayed to the user for how they may contact the DHCR to request their rent history. If email is selected, a pre-populated email template is opened in the user's email client.
The app suggests to the user that they add a reminder to their calendar to check for their rent-history in the mail.
The app allows the user to create a calendar reminder a week ahead of the current day in a calendar client of their choice. The reminder instructs the user to check their mail for their rent history and then return to the website.
A sample rent-history is provided for the user to inspect.
By clicking on the image of the rent history or "view a sample rent history" a modal displays what a rent history looks like and how the user can tell if their apartment is rent-stabilized.
The app suggests that the user contact a tenants' rights group to get help with filing a complaint against their landlord. It also provides a direct link to the complaint form on the DHCR's website. The app locates local tenants rights groups operating on the neighborhood level and informs the user of groups operating in their neighborhood.
When the user clicks on the "here are tenants rights groups in your neighborhood" link it displays a modal listing the contact information and description for each group. If no groups are found for the user's neighborhood the user is pointed to the resources page.
At the end of the sequence the user may start over to search another address or view the "why it matters" page.
The app contains a page explaining why rent stabilization is important to NYC and how the real estate industry is attempting to remove it.
How it Works explains how the site functions as well as the research methods used to determine if an apartment is likely rent-stabilized. It links to the code for the project on Github and the datasets used.
The Resources page contains a comprehensive list of tenants rights and affordable housing groups as well as government organizations and related web portals that relate to housing in NYC.