HomeRenter, an online lettings platform, has launched a ratings and reviews service.
It enables both tenants and landlords to review each other after one month of engagement and then again at the end of a tenancy. HomeRenter says it aims to modernise the rental market and align it more closely with the likes of TripAdvisor and Airbnb.
Recent research by HomeRenter showed that both tenants (81%) and landlords (88%) expressed a desire to be able to rate and review their counterparts, encouraging a respectful and transparent relationship.
Through the ratings and reviews service, landlords can evaluate their previous and current tenants. ‘Mid-tenancy’ ratings are based on measures such as timely rent payment; any noise or neighbour issues; treatment of property and promptness in reporting issues.
The ‘end of tenancy’ ratings are similar, but include scores for the condition of the property when the tenant moves out. These ratings are then factored into the tenant’s ‘HomeRenter Tenant Score’ which is visible on their profile page on the site.
To capture reviews on landlords, HomeRenter invites previous and current tenants to share their renting experience. The five star rating system means tenants can rate the condition of a rental property. These focus on metrics such as value for money, maintenance, transport and how responsive landlords are to issues raised.
Ajay Jagota, founder of insurance-backed deposit-free renting service, Dlighted, said: “It’s interesting to see a Tripadvisor-style rating and review model incorporated into an online letting site such as HomeRenter. I’ve been a little sceptical of some previous attempts to build databases of rated lettings properties as standalone websites, but it will be interesting to see how this fares in a transactional site.
“What’s indisputable, however, is that both landlords and tenants are looking for new and alternative solutions to the traditional ‘referencing plus security deposit’ approach. We created the ‘Trusted Tenant’ system which allows landlords and letting agents real insight into their prospective tenants’ renting track record, financial commitments and insurance claims history. But there is nothing for tenants to be able to vet their landlords.”
Will Handley, CEO of HomeRenter, added: “In a connected world, consumers have become accustomed to being able to read ratings and reviews, from holiday lets to taxi rides, to inform all major purchase decisions. However, in the rental sector, this concept has scarcely landed. Choosing where to live is an incredibly important decision which no-one wants to get wrong.
“With people now renting for longer, it is even more essential that tenants are able to check their landlord’s previous letting history. And vice versa. What’s more, the traditional referencing and security deposit model for tenants is antiquated and in need of a radical shake-up to get in shape for 21st century renting. Having a review system in place facilitates a more transparent market place for both tenants and landlords.”