The culture for renters has always been living at the mercy of their landlords. However, with the creation of Whoseyourlandlord.com, tenants now have the power to review their landlords and hold them accountable. Started by Ofo Ezeugwu and Felix Addison, Whoseyourlandlord was created to foster an online forum where renters could aggregate their opinions on their landlords or property owners, and in turn help future tenants in making a decision about who they choose to rent from.
According to Ofo, "Historically, there hasn't been this review kind of process in the housing space." By filling this void, Ofo and Felix hope to restore some balance to the renting process.
Users can rate their residence based on several factors such as respect, condition, pests, and safety. With 250,000 active members, the site is now a comprehensive database for tenants in their pilot cities: Philadelphia and New York.
Ultimately, the real value in the site lies in the candidness of the review process.
"We want people to understand this is a site where you can openly talk about information in a direct, cool way. When you're seeing reviews on a platform, you're seeing the titles people use to describe their experiences, it's funny."
Yelp reviews have frequently become the subject of memes and viral internet content. The humor and personality of these types of forums could be what makes them so effective in fostering open communication between parties. This nightmare review reads, "Refused to change my locks after a robbery and threatened me for complaining." The site is filled with a litany of complaints and stories from tenants who are looking for some form of accountability.
The website also allows proprietors to respond to reviews and incentivizes good business practices, since positively rated landlords often have higher retention rates and are listed by favorability. This issue has ultimately become more pressing as the U.S. census reported the number of American households renting has surpassed 40%. With increasing living costs and a lack of affordable housing in urban centers, Whoseyourlandlord is providing a much needed platform for tenants navigating a difficult housing market.
To top it off, new users could get their first months rent paid in their #FreeRent campaign.