‘Landlord ratings website open to abuse’

Earlier this week, Consumer Focus called for a website that would allow tenants to leave reviews and feedback about private landlords from whom they have rented.

The consumer watchdog believes that a site based on constructive feedback would help tenants to avoid rogue landlords.

Research conducted by Consumer Focus revealed that only 15% of tenants know anything about their landlords or letting agents prior to signing a legally-binding tenancy agreement.

Yet at the same time landlords can ask tenants for references, deposits and guarantors plus other personal and financial information.

In the same survey 25% of tenants said they had cause to complain in the past two years.

Consumer Focus, believes an online ratings service would enable tenants to make better informed decisions about who to rent a home from at the start of the tenancy and provide protection from unscrupulous and unfair landlords. This view was supported by almost nine in ten renters in the survey of 2000 tenants.

But Graham Kinnear, MD at Landlord Assist believes the idea is flawed for the lettings industry.

"Housing legislation is fairly complex," he said.

"It is therefore likely that tenants who lack a full understanding of legislation may feel that their landlord or letting agent is not acting in the way they wish or at the speed they require. This may not be down to the individual but in fact down to the constraints of the legislative system that they work within.”

Stephen Parry, Commercial Director at Landlord Assist is also concerned about the scope for tenants to leave negative and inappropriate feedback about landlords who may have done nothing wrong. This could unfairly impact the reputation of some landlords and have a damaging effect on their business.

"A website which allows tenants to rate their landlords could be open to abuse and become an outlet for damaging personal comments.

"Our view is that there is already enough redress for agents failings via the Ombudsman Scheme, the Association of Residential Letting Agents, The National Federation of Property Professionals and Trading Standards.

"These bodies provide independent and impartial opinion on issues which is probably far more reliable and useful for consumers than an internet blog."
‘Landlord ratings website open to abuse’

Proposals for a website which would allow private tenants to share their experiences about letting agents and landlords could be damaging for the buy-to-let industry.

That is the verdict of nationwide tenant eviction and rent recovery firm Landlord Assist.

Earlier this week, Consumer Focus called for a website that would allow tenants to leave reviews and feedback about private landlords from whom they have rented.

The consumer watchdog believes that a site based on constructive feedback would help tenants to avoid rogue landlords.

Research conducted by Consumer Focus revealed that only 15% of tenants know anything about their landlords or letting agents prior to signing a legally-binding tenancy agreement.

Yet at the same time landlords can ask tenants for references, deposits and guarantors plus other personal and financial information.

In the same survey 25% of tenants said they had cause to complain in the past two years.

Consumer Focus, believes an online ratings service would enable tenants to make better informed decisions about who to rent a home from at the start of the tenancy and provide protection from unscrupulous and unfair landlords. This view was supported by almost nine in ten renters in the survey of 2000 tenants.

But Graham Kinnear, MD at Landlord Assist believes the idea is flawed for the lettings industry.

"Housing legislation is fairly complex," he said.

"It is therefore likely that tenants who lack a full understanding of legislation may feel that their landlord or letting agent is not acting in the way they wish or at the speed they require. This may not be down to the individual but in fact down to the constraints of the legislative system that they work within.”

Stephen Parry, Commercial Director at Landlord Assist is also concerned about the scope for tenants to leave negative and inappropriate feedback about landlords who may have done nothing wrong. This could unfairly impact the reputation of some landlords and have a damaging effect on their business.

"A website which allows tenants to rate their landlords could be open to abuse and become an outlet for damaging personal comments.

"Our view is that there is already enough redress for agents failings via the Ombudsman Scheme, the Association of Residential Letting Agents, The National Federation of Property Professionals and Trading Standards.

"These bodies provide independent and impartial opinion on issues which is probably far more reliable and useful for consumers than an internet blog."

Have your say on this story using the comment section below

5 thoughts on “‘Landlord ratings website open to abuse’

  1. Jeremy Clarke

    perhaps “landlord Angel” should get their facts right on their web site?
    A section 21 is not and never has been an eviction notice. A Section 21 is merely the first part in the legal process for a landlord when it comes to recovery of his property legitmately, the web site leads landlords to believe that by serving a Section 21 they are able to evict their tenants! Not so!

  2. Milo O'Neill

    As a letting agent it should never be forgotten that we work for the landlord, therefore whenever a decision is made by the landlord that the tenant in unhappy with it’s the agent that gets the blame.
    You can log on to many community websites and see tenants ranting about an agent and very rarely will you see a landlord singing the praises……. and herein lies the problem, pretty much every lettings agency will be slaughtered by tenants that are unhappy because they are being charged for items they have broken or that an agent won’t send out a tradesman to change a light bulb or flick a fuse box, because the vast majority are young people that have never lived away from home or shared university accommodation and have no idea about looking after themselves.

  3. Matt Kerr

    There are also those that work on a “professional” or “expert” basis like trip advisor, what does the average Joe do when he looks to book a holiday? They review the accommodation, peoples experiences & opinions matter!
    So why should the Lettings industry not be subject to the same? As a previous Landlord & Tenant I loved being able to “rate” my lettings agent, i stumbled across this website after falling victim to an awful experience end of last year looking for legal assistance. http://www.rateorhateyourlandlord.com – I bet if you ask most tenants in the UK this is what they are looking for & the consumer watchdog are pushing for.
    I hope the review i provided becomes beneficial for all who are considering renting from one “mentioned” lettings agent. I really would not recommend them in the slightest, thankfully i could warn others!
    A feedback website could also help the industry establish a better reputation and build up much-needed trust with renters!

  4. Chris Horne

    Think about it. Trip Advisors a great site. But it works because of volume. A hotel with hundreds of rooms let by hundreds if not thousand of people will generate tens if not hundreds of comments in a year. This means that there is enough feedback for customers to make a pretty well informed judgment. On a landlords property which is let once a year maybe less than that. How much credence would you put on one comment left on Trip Advisor. Zilch!

    Nice idea…but as usual the policy makers have zero thats 0 clue about the practicalities!

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