Oxford’s Labour council has given its support to a lettings review website because it claims it will help drive up the quality of rental stock.
Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, who has responsibility for planning and regulation, has backed the Marks Out Of Tenancy site, which allows renters to rate and comment on their agents and landlords..
“Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a decent home which is safe, warm and secure. Poor quality housing has a negative impact on the physical and mental health of the people who live in it” says Hollingsworth.
“The city council sets and enforces minimum standards for Oxford’s private rented sector housing. This new scheme for tenants to rate their experience of renting a home will help to apply pressure to the poorest landlords to improve towards the standards of the best. We must continue to tackle poor quality housing, to benefit the health of all Oxford’s residents and the quality of the city environment.”
In addition, Oxford Student Union is collaborating with the website, claiming the link allows students to “have a better idea of where they’re going to be calling home for the next year before they sign anything.”
Some 28 per cent of Oxford households live in private rented accommodation.
The review site claims to list around 20,000 letting agents from across the UK and says users can see “genuine customer reviews to build up a picture of what the letting agency are like to deal with.”
The site seeks landlords, agencies and trade organisations to join for £24, and in return they have the ability to “respond to tenant reviews” and “proudly display your landlord association or affiliation badges.”
The site claims that to reduce the chances of potentially defamatory reviews going live, all tenant reviews are passed through a 'Bad Word and Defamation Filter'.