HouseFacts

Local governments inspect residential buildings and enforce health and safety codes. The Housefacts Specification helps government put the facts about housing into the hands of citizens.

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If these walls could talk: The case for open housing data

With an average of 36 million Americans changing homes every year, we’re a country constantly on the move. But too often there’s more than meets the eye at an open house. Broken plumbing, faulty heat, pests, or absentee landlords are just some of the unpleasant surprises that arise after the lease or deed is signed. More seriously, poor ventilation, asbestos, mold, and lead constitute hidden hazards that can lead to poisoning and chronic disease. The victims are most often children..

Now local government has a new way to get the facts about housing into the hands of more citizens. The City of San Francisco, Code for America, and a coalition of industry and government partners announced the House Facts Data Standard. This uniform, machine-readable data format — authored by Rajiv Bhatia and Cyndy Comerford from San Francisco Department of Public Health — amounts to a health and safety history of every house and apartment within participating municipalities.

This uniform format allows this data to easily travel to the online platforms people depend on to choose their next home.

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Apps and Outcomes


  • Trulia

    Trulia is an all-in-one real estate site that gives you the local scoop about homes for sale, apartments for rent, neighborhood insights, and real estate markets and trends to help you figure out exactly what, where, and when to buy, sell, or rent.

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  • Zillow

    Zillow is a home and real estate marketplace dedicated to helping everyone find and share vital information about homes, real estate, mortgages and home improvement.

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