Buy to let investors concerned about landlord ratings website

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.”

Source: propertytalk Live!