Feature Release: Owner Attributes
Identifying the ‘who’ behind the property has always been a challenge for city staff. Is the owner from out-of-state? Am I dealing with a mom-and-pop landlord with a handful of units or a private equity-backed investor with a huge portfolio? At the property level, this information can inform how to handle a permit application or a code violation. At the neighborhood level, it’s critical to inform redevelopment strategies and help target community investments.
But ownership information is notoriously messy and usually siloed in a database housing tax assessments. Even when it’s accessible, it’s never in a format that allows for quick insights and neighborhood-level analysis.
That all changes with the launch of a new Filter Group in BuildingBlocks called Owner Attributes, which houses any filters related to property ownership. Some of these filters, like Owner Occupied, were already in BuildingBlocks under Property Attributes. But some of them will be new to your application, and they provide exciting new ways to understand your community.
- Owner Occupied: Filter properties based on whether the owner’s mailing address is the same as the property address.
- Owner Location: Filter properties based on whether the owner’s mailing address is in the same city as the property address, in-state, or out-of-state.
- Owner Property Count: Filter properties based on how many properties the owner owns, with both predefined and custom ranges.
- Public Owner: Filter properties based on which agency or department is listed as the official owner
Like most of the innovations that we launch, the idea for these filters came from you, our users. You asked us to help you understand if absentee landlords are driving code complaints. You asked us if large investors are buying up properties in low-income neighborhoods. You asked us to help you understand where city-owned properties are concentrated and which departments control them.
“We just enacted a rental licensing ordinance, and we would have had no idea where to begin if it weren’t for the Owner Attributes filters. But it turned out to be incredibly easy to identify all non-owner-occupied multi-families. Then we looked at neighborhoods with a concentration of owners with five or more properties because it’s easier to coordinate inspections when we are dealing with a single point of contact.” Building Commissioner, Ohio
“When I respond to a complaint, the first thing I look at is the owner profile to answer two questions: who am I dealing with, and have we dealt with them in the past. The information is right there and easy to find.” Code Inspector, California
“We toss around these generalizations about out-of-town owners and large landlords bringing down our neighborhoods. And that may be true in some parts of the city, but until we had these filters, we didn’t have an easy way to bring facts into the conversation. I was at a community meeting the other week, and a resident declared that her neighborhood was being converted to high-priced rentals by developers from up north. In less than two minutes, I was able to pull up a chart that showed her that over 80% of sales in the past two years were to owner-occupants, and the majority of rental properties were owned by small-scale landlords from in-town.” Planning Director, Georgia
“I just wanted to say that I think the Owner Property Count filter is so wonderful. It will be very helpful to see the presence of owners with varying inventories and how neighborhoods are changing—especially on the issues of homeownership vs. rental, and shifting investment patterns throughout the city.” Senior Planner, Pennsylvania