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NYC Renters Can Find the Worst Landlords on Craigslist

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Not even 48 hours ago, your author completed one of the most arduous, mind-and-body-destroying adventures any New Yorker can undertake: moving within the five boroughs. With space at an ongoing premium, the city's horrid rental reputation is well-earned and frankly nightmarish. (I actually had one landlord show me a place without a sink. He did, however, argue that the bathtub is a great place to do dishes. He had a point.) Sure, there are a couple of great resources, like the incredible NakedApartments.com, but these all require a modicum of tech savvy for brokers to use. In NYC, there are virtually no centralized sources, and nothing is more terrifying than giving large amounts of money to an unknown individual whom you only know by the information they themselves provided on Craigslist.

So, the C-List has partnered up with the office of Bill de Blasio, New York's city public advocate, to hold slumlords accountable by naming the worst of the worst. By culling infraction information -- tallied by four levels of violations -- Craiglisters can now see if their potential landlord is on the dreaded top 50 list of the city's worst landlords. Where was this when I needed it last month?

At the top of the housing page, you're taken directly to de Blasio's site by clicking NYC's Worst Landlords, a straightforward list that uses Google Maps to plot the properties owned by the city's most egregious homeowners. (Strangely enough, nine out of the top 10 were located in the Bronx or Harlem.) Not only can future renters check to see landlords to avoid, but they can also enter in their new address to see if any complaints have been filed. This is just one element of the programs newly implemented by Mayor Bloomberg's administration, but it is the only one teaming up with Craigslist, which is by now the de facto source for those on a housing search. Acting as a tool to both empower renters and deter slumlords, the Craigslist/public advocate project gives those on the house hunt official data.

Fortunately, my new place (and landlord) are nowhere on the list. (But now I wonder about the dude with no sink.) A centralized, city-condoned location for tenants to turn to when they are sailing the wild waters of Craigslist doesn't quite solve the bedbug/cockroach/mouse problem plaguing NYC, but reaching out with an easily accessible, near-universal online tool, the city gives a little bit of power back to the struggling renter who is being convinced that a sink is a frivolous amenity.

Tags: Bill de Blasio, BillDeBlasio, craigslist, craigslist.org, mayor bloomberg, mayor michael bloomberg, MayorBloomberg, MayorMichaelBloomberg, new york real estate, new york rentals, new yorks worst landlords, NewYorkRealEstate, NewYorkRentals, NewYorksWorstLandlords, rentals, renters, slumlords, top, web