Housing News

Rentenna tells renters where not to live in NYC


Rentenna has launched a Complaint Score in NYC and hopefully soon to other cities, indicating where renters should NOT live, a major twist on apartment hunting.


Rentenna isn’t playing around

When someone tells you to think of a real estate search site, you immediately think of the hundreds of ways you would go about finding where to live, but how do you uncover where you should not live? Renters are often subjected to fake reviews, spam listings across the web, misleading prices on units, and more in the name of getting them in the door at all costs. Rentenna launched in 2011, giving each apartment a score, and when we first introduced you to the site, it was not yet nationally available, but having spread to the largest metros, imagine the power it could yield by publishing a recurring list of the lowest rated apartments in town, just like restaurant health ratings – put a big F on the door and watch how quickly they fail or dramatically improve (either one being a win).

Rentenna has a really cool twist on the search process and has introduced the “Rentenna Score” which helps hunters to “filter out crappy (overpriced, run-down, far from subway, bed-buggy)” units on the market.

Additionally, users can see where friends they are connected to on Facebook have lived to get their direct opinion and find out what they recommend, making a play for the popularity of social recommendations. The company was built by with the expertise of a New York City rental agent combined with the coding and tech experience of the other three partners who have combined “the human knowledge of someone who knows the ups and downs of renting… and quantified it using algorithms, maths, robots, lasers, monkeys,” as they describe it.

The Complaint Score

In all 19 cities searchable on Rentenna, several scores are available, including Delivery Score (the number of restaurants that will deliver to you, which of course is critical), School Score (from GreatSchools.org, as is the industry standard for various real estate search sites) and in NYC, renters can search by Green Score (which ranks where parks/farmers market areas are).

The most important, however, is the Complaints Score which literally tells renters not to rent, and in NYC, the company publishes a monthly “Five picks for where not to live in NYC” list.

The Complaints Score is incorporated into the overall apartment building score on Rentenna and pulls data from all violations submitted to the New York Housing Department including reports of bed bugs, lead paint, mouse or rat infestations, lack of heat or hot water, broken elevators, busted smoke detectors, trash piling up, etc.

The company says, “With over 50,000 rental apartment buildings indexed in NYC, Rentenna is the new required reading before you sign an apartment lease,” noting that complaints fall into three categories:

  • Class A complaints are minor and non-hazardous (broken doorknobs, cracked tile, etc.)
  • Class B complaints are hazardous (issues like rodents, bed bugs, trash buildup, broken smoke detectors, etc.)
  • Class C complaints are immediately hazardous (lack of heat / hot water / electricity / gas or inadequate fire exits, etc.)

We anticipate that if/when these scores roll out to other cities, Rentenna will see a major boost in popularity because let’s face it – everyone really wants to know the bad news before they sign on the dotted line rather than after.


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