If you’re a NYC renter there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself wishing there was a better way to hold your shady landlord accountable. Besides the public advocate’s worst landlord list, there aren’t many means to call out landlords who fail to take care of their tenants. That was the whole idea behind the website WhoseYourLandlord.com, which launched in Philly and is now taking root right here in Bed-Stuy.
Ofo Ezeugwu and Felix Addison started the business as students in 2012. It took off in Philadelphia and they made the decision to expand to New York. Their logical homebase was Bedford-Stuyvesant, where Ofo’s grandfather has owned a brownstone on Halsey Street for decades. (Ofo and Felix rent a floor from him. For the record, he’s a good landlord.) While they hope to attract renters throughout New York City to the website, they’re hoping to spread word through the neighborhood first about what this service does.
Essentially, WhoseYourLandlord is like the Yelp of landlords–tenants can leave their review (anonymously or not) to contribute to a database of landlord reviews. Renters, then, are more informed not just on who their landlord actually is–something many New Yorkers don’t even know–but also other tenant’s experiences. The reviews are meant to hold up good landlords as much as they can pressure bad landlords to get their act together before renting to new tenants.
“We want to empower people with knowledge and hopefully encourage and incentive landlords to be better equipped,” Ofo said. Since starting the business he’s identified a gap between residents and landlords and the resulting problems it creates. “One one side of the equation we have tenants with an emotional tie to their apartment, this is their home. On the other side, it’s a business transaction.” He hopes to bridge that gap by increasing communication between landlord and tenant, as well as helping tenants simply come into the renting process better informed.
So, Bed-Stuy renters, go ahead and review your landlord! Landlords also are able to respond to reviews and list apartments on the site.