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Using Social Media to Track Slum Landlords

The New York Times has a story about a new website that tracks slum landlords in New York city.  Tenants can find out about any landlord’s portfolio by clicking a link, “NYC’s worst landlords,” on the apartment search pages on Craigslist.  Bill de Blasio, who is a public advocate in New York has launched NYC’s Worst Landlord Watchlist. The list will track irresponsible landlords and enable tenants to report bad landlords. Sometimes we underestimate the power of bad publicity.  In one set of cases I was involved in, the municipality issued press releases directed to the hometown newspaper of landlords who were renting without a license because of code violations in their buildings.  Nobody likes to see themselves in the local police blotter.  I was surprised how quickly some tenants received attention once names got in the newspaper and embarassed the negligent owners.

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