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), and Catholic Migration Services (CMS), 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 Legal Services-NYC for reviewing all of the content.

  • Thank you to Kayla Schwartz and Jenny Laurie from Housing Court Answers 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 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 Raby 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.

RTC 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 2018, we generated a list of buildings (grouped by tax lot) associated with each HPD “Head Officer” contact in the database and then counted the number of 2018 Marshals evictions that occurred in these buildings to generate an initial ranking.

  • From our initial ranking, with help from the Who Owns What tool, we grouped top HPD Head Officers together with other Head Officers that shared a common business address.

  • Additionally, other HPD Head Officers were grouped together through qualitative investigation and on-the-ground, first-person accounts of shared business affiliation.

    • When affiliation between two Head Officers was in question, we chose to take a conservative approach and not link them together as one landlord.

  • 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 2018

    • Rent stabilized unit count estimates in 2017 (most recent publicly available data on rent stabilized units, via taxbills.nyc)

    • See below for notes on lender and law firm 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.

  • Co-ops, condos, nonprofits and small landlords (own less than 100 units) are not on this list because we wanted to highlight private, for-profit actors that we believe are some of the main drivers of displacement and gentrification, and are therefore the targets of many tenants and community organizing groups. The citywide map, however, lists all evictions and evictors.

  • While RTC applies to NYCHA tenants in the same way that it applies to all tenants in housing court, the implementation of RTC for NYCHA tenants in the zips was delayed in all boroughs except Staten Island.  While it is fully operational now in all of the RTC zips, it wasn’t in effect for most of 2018. That is in part why NYCHA isn’t listed here. As the biggest landlord in NYC, we believe that one way to bring down evictions and to protect affordable housing, would be for the city to reexamine how and why it uses housing court. If we do this list again in the future, and if advocates, organizers and tenant leaders find it useful to have NYCHA on this list, we will certainly consider adding NYCHA to this list. NYCHA evictions, however, can still be seen on the citywide map.

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

  • We are not putting landlords on the list for whom we don’t have filing data.  We only have filing data for 2013-2015, which means new landlords won’t be reflected here. We did this because we are interested not just in the outcomes of cases, but in how landlords use housing court.

You can review our Worst Evictor portfolio groupings, look at our source code, and rerun our analysis by visiting our Github Page.

Data Sources:

  • HPD Registration Contacts (for Dec. 2018) from NYC Open Data via NYCdb

  • HPD Registrations (for Dec. 2018) from NYC Open Data via NYCdb

  • Marshals Evictions Data (for 2018) from NYC Marshals. Data cleaning, geocoding, deduplication, and validation by City Council, Housing Data Coalition and Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. Work licensed under Creative Commons BY NC SA 4.0 International License, available here. 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 a combination of GeoClient and GeoSearch, with a 99.2% 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 18v1 (Dept. of City Planning) via NYCdb

  • Rent Stabilization unit estimates (for 2017) from taxbills.nyc, adapted from 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 (April 2019) from NYC Open Data

On Lender Data Methodology:

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 that Represent the Worst Evictors:

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 Marshals Evictions Data:

It's important to note that our citywide count of Marshals Evictions (18,007) 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.


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.