Access Your Home’s Full Health and Safety History!
We pulled together a project team and jointly developed the concept for Housing Checkup as a submission to the 2013 Knight News Challenge on Open Government. We were one of 40 semi-finalist out of 880 submissions.
Everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home. Housing Checkup provides tenants and their advocates access to a property’s complete health history, such as landlord information, current code violations, and past health and safety inspections.
Imagine the place you call home is hazardous to your health. Nearly six million families in the U.S. live in substandard housing, according to the National Center for Healthy Housing. These are homes without adequate heat, broken plumbing, fire, electrical dangers, pests, mold, or chemical hazards like lead and asbestos.
More than 535,000 children have high blood lead levels, largely as a result of poorly maintained walls and windows with lead paint. Moisture and mold, cockroach infestations, degraded carpets, and poor ventilation can all contribute to asthma. Damaged wiring and non-functioning fire prevention systems can be life-threatening. And some communities face these harsh realities more than others. We believe that everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home, regardless of of income, ethnic background, or neighborhood.
Tenants have a right to know a home’s health and safety history before they rent, and government should support tenants’ right to know by making data on housing inspections and violations easily accessible. Improved access to data on housing inspections can support tenant advocates and legal assistance agencies in their work to protect healthy living conditions for families. Greater transparency of property inspection and violation histories and public exposure of landlords with a history of violations can help motivate landlords to comply with basic habitability standards.
Housing Checkup is a web application that integrates regulatory and legal data from all public agencies regulating housing conditions, allowing people to access the complete “housing health history” for either a property or a landlord – like a CARFAX for homes. By designing an application that leverages data from multiple agencies and multiple cities, Housing Checkup will help advance a uniform open data standard for residential health and safety inspection data in the U.S.