About this Project

Who We Are

The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition is made up of tenant organizing groups, tenant advocates, homeless advocates, senior advocates, disability advocates, academics, legal services organizations and more! We led the campaign that resulted in the passage of Local Law 136, which ensures that low-income tenants are represented in eviction cases by attorneys when they defend their rights and their homes.  The Coalition is actively organizing and advocating while this law is being phased in.

JustFix.nyc is a nonprofit that builds technology for tenants and organizers fighting displacement. We currently support over 50 long-standing tenants rights organizations, legal aid, and neighborhood groups. We envision a New York for all - a place where working-class families can thrive without fear of landlord harassment or displacement.

The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project is a volunteer-run data visualization, data analysis, and storytelling collective documenting the dispossession of residents in gentrifying landscapes. Originally founded in the San Francisco Bay Area to support anti-displacement efforts in the wake of the latest tech boom, the collective expanding to New York City and Los Angeles in 2017, and has since been collaborating with NYC residents and community groups to document stories of displacement.

Acknowledgements
  • We are deeply grateful to the Housing Data Coalition for their work in cleaning, deduplicating, and geocoding the DOI Marshals eviction data to a stage where it could be mapped and analyzed and for conducting the research about the lenders.

  • Thanks to the organizers and tenant leaders in the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition,  Goddard Riverside Community Center, Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA), Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC), Flatbush Tenant Coalition (FTC), Catholic Migration Services (CMS), Community Voices Heard (CVH) and CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, for their thoughtful feedback on the design of the site and for conducting the research and interviews needed to tell the stories about the worst evictors and the organizing to challenge them, and for their courage to fight evictions.

  • Deep thanks to Marika Dias, from the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center for reviewing all of the content.

  • Thank you to Kayla Schwartz and Jenny Laurie from Housing Court Answers and to Sam Corman from Brooklyn Legal Services Corp A for their research on the law firms.

  • Thanks to Rob Robinson and Lynn Lewis from Picture the Homeless for their guidance and feedback for the Evictions Map

  • Thanks to Sebastian Hau-Walker and Glen Forster for fact checking the Evictors List, generating website content, and for providing general creative insight.

  • Thank you to the entire team at the Anti Eviction Mapping Project for your tireless work and your commitment to the tenant organizing movement in NYC!

  • Deep deep gratitude to the team at JustFix.NYC, but especially to Sam Rabiyah for all of their hard work and love that went in to analyzing the data, generating the list, and designing the website!

Evictions Map Methodology

Please see the bottom of the Map page for information on how the Evictors Map was made.

Worst Evictors List Methodology

Our methodology for making the worst evictors list combined data analysis from publicly available data with on-the-ground knowledge. We found it important to use a variety of tools and strategies when generating this list as an effort to make the most comprehensive survey of who is evicting New Yorkers, as well as to provide a list that would help and encourage New Yorkers to organize.

Generating the initial list:

  • Using HPD Registration data from December 2019, we generated a list of buildings (grouped by tax lot) associated with each HPD “Head Officer”, "Individual Owner", or "Corporate Owner" contact in the database.

  • We grouped owner contact names together that shared a common registered business address, which also generated an aggregated list of buildings for each grouping of owner names.

  • Using these lists of buildings for each landlord entity, we counted the number of 2019 Marshals evictions that occurred in these buildings to generate an initial ranking.

  • We then joined and aggregated several additional datasets to our evictor profiles by matching building records via their borough-block-lot codes:

    • Eviction Cases Filed between Jan 2013 and June 2015 (the most recent publicly-available data on Filings)

    • Residential unit counts in 2019

    • Rent stabilized unit count estimates in 2018 (most recent publicly available data on rent stabilized units, via nycdb)

    • See below for notes on lender, law firm and City Marshal data aggregation.

Curating and filtering the list:

  • Narrative information about the landlords came from press as well as from organizing groups and tenants who live and organize in buildings owned by the worst evictors.

  • When landlords were tied for a position in the worst evictors list, we generally broke the tie by looking at the rate of Filings.

  • Note: Dec. 2019 HPD Registration records for 333 East 181st Street, Bronx (BBL: 2031430130) include both Yona Roth (aka "David David") and Jay Rosenfeld's business addresses. Following analysis of the most recent deed for the property, which includes David's business address, we decided to attribute this building to David's portfolio.

You can look at our source code and rerun our analysis by visiting our Github Page.

Data sources:

  • HPD Registration Contacts (for Dec. 2019) from NYC Open Data via nycdb

  • HPD Registrations (for Dec. 2019) from NYC Open Data via nycdb

  • Marshals Evictions data (for 2019) from NYC Marshals via nycdb. Data cleaning, geocoding, deduplication, and validation by ANHD and the Housing Data Coalition. Work licensed under GNU Affero General Public License v3.0, available on the nycdb github. Records that had the exact same eviction address, apartment number, execution date, and Marshal last name were treated as one record and deduplicated. Addresses were geocoded using GeoSearch, with a 97% match rate to NYC borough-block-lot codes.

  • Eviction Filings data (total cases filed between Jan 2013 and June 2015) from the Public Advocate’s office. For more information, see this article from ProPublica.

  • Building unit counts from PLUTO 19v1 (Dept. of City Planning) via nycdb

  • Rent Stabilization unit estimates (for 2017) from nycdb, adapted from taxbills.nyc and the Dept. of Finance tax bills. This data is not conclusive, but should be seen as an approximation. See this page for more information.

  • ACRIS lender data (June 2020) from NYC Open Data

On lender data methodology (i.e. "Funded by"):

To approximate lenders that have originated loans to the landlord in question, we first pulled the Party_1 name on the most recent Mortgage or Agreement document in the ACRIS data for each BBL. We then pulled Party_2 for all Mortgage and Agreement documents in the ACRIS data where the Party_1 named matched that of the most recent Mortgage / Agreement document.

Because of concurrent analysis linking each BBL to a landlord on the Worst Evictors List, we can be confident that the most recent Party_1 (borrower) for each BBL is connected to the landlord in question. From there, we can query the ACRIS data for all lenders who have originated debt to the most recent Party_1 name.

In many cases, there is a long list of lenders for each landlord, but we only list up to four on the site for design purposes. There is no particular methodology for how we prioritized which lenders we named.

On methodology for adding the law firms and lawyers (i.e. "Represented by"):

For each evictor, we used the curated list of associated properties generated through our methodology to search the New York State Unified Court System database of cases. From there, we pulled out the lawyers listed.

On methodology for adding names of City Marshals (i.e. "Evictions conducted by"):

For each evictor, we pulled all executed eviction records from public NYC Marshals data that were used to determine the total count of evictions within the landlord's associated portfolio (see data methodology above). Since each of these eviction records contains the first and last name of the City Marshal that conducted the eviction, we then were able to find the most frequent Marshal name (or names) associated with the evictions that each landlord on the list carried out.

On Marshals Evictions data:

It's important to note that our citywide count of Marshals Evictions (14,802) may differ from other reports. This discrepancy can be explained by our data's deduplication method, which treats records with the exact same eviction address, apartment number, execution date, and Marshal last name as a singular eviction. Other sources deduplicate the Marshals data using identification numbers assigned by the court system— in some instances, there may be many records of an eviction reported in the court system that all correspond to an eviction of one specific unit on a specific date by a specific City Marshal. For clarity and simplicity in defining a singular "eviction" in this project, we chose to use data that deduplicates by location, time, and Marshal versus court identification.

On Eviction Filings data:

At this current time, Eviction Filings data is not publicly available through NYC Open Data— the most recent Filings data available to us is an aggregate count by tax lot of Filings from January 2013 to June 2015, made accessible through the NYC Public Advocate’s Office and ProPublica. Although an imperfect representation of Filings by current landlord, this data is the most accurate estimate that publicly accessible data can provide on Eviction Filing rates.

The State Office of Court Administration (OCA), the City’s Office of Civil Justice (OCJ) and the Furman Center all have access to current Filings data but have not made it publicly available. Members of the RTCNYC Coalition have actively tried to get access to current Filings data but have been denied access.  Access to current Filings data would allow organizers to do more effective outreach to prevent evictions and to better understand how landlords use the courts over time. We would have much preferred to use Filings data from 2018, but we don’t have it. If you have any concerns about highlighting Filings data from 2013-2015 and evictions from 2018, we encourage you to direct them to the state and city agencies that have the current Filings data but haven’t yet made it available to the public.

On data describing the total price paid for buildings:

In order to gather estimates of how much each evictor "paid for buildings" they own, we used ACRIS lender data to find the most recent deed transfer for each building in the landlord's associated portfolio. Deeds that had a recorded amount of one dollar or less were excluded. We also deduplicated any unique deeds that showed up more than once within the portfolio (indicating multiple buildings being sold as part of a group sale). The number listed on each evictor profile represents the sum of all available deed amounts for buildings in their portfolio.

Note that the actual "net worth" of each evictor is likely much higher than these amounts shown, as these quantities simply estimate the total cost of each building at the time the landlord purchased them.

Note also that for some evictors on the list, many of the buildings that they own do not have any recent deed amount on file (which often occurs for buildings purchased before 2003, when ACRIS did not record deed amounts). The amounts listed for the following evictors should be seen as exceptionally deep underestimates of the true amount paid to buy their buildings (as in, 50% or more of their buildings did not have a most recent sale amount we could use):

  • PHILLIP WISCHERTH (Lefrak)

  • PETER FINE (Atlantic Development)

  • LARRY GLUCK (Stellar)

  • MARK ENGEL (Langsam)

  • ADAM WEINSTEIN (Phipps Houses)

  • MOSHE PILLER (MP, Parkchester Apts)

  • LABE TWERSKI (Residential)

Archives from Past Versions of Worst Evictors

Here are links to previous versions of the Worst Evictors list, map, and methodology.

2018:

Citywide List | RTC Zipcode List

Citywide Evictions Map | RTC Zipcodes Evictions Map

About/Methodology Page


Please consider this a detailed, though not exhaustive, description of the methodology.  For more details about methodology or for general inquiries, contact info@righttocounselnyc.org.