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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

More politicians back controversial site that reviews letting agents

Local media in Bristol say politicians in the city are considering supporting a controversial website that allows tenants to rate and review letting agents and landlords.

Last week we reported that Marks Out Of Tenancy had been officially backed by Labour controlled Oxford city council. A spokesman for the council claimed the website would “help to apply pressure to the poorest landlords to improve towards the standards of the best.”

Now the Bristol Evening Post is suggesting that Labour politicians in that city, too, are considering supporting the website - especially as it is a start-up based in Bristol.

Bristol city council cabinet member for housing, Paul Smith, is quoted as saying: “I do back Marks Out Of Tenancy ... The council is checking if it can [officially support it] as they are a private company, and is talking to Oxford about how they have done it without falling foul of any rules.”

Bristol North West Labour MP Darren Jones says: "Marks Out of Tenancy is a fantastic Bristol-based service. Anything that helps tenants to understand what they’re getting for their rent is helpful, especially when so many people spend a high proportion of their income on rent, and struggle to save for a deposit."

Bristol council is currently undertaking an official consultation on charging private landlords  in 12 central wards up to £850 each for letting out properties.

Marks Out Of Tenancy 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'.

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