Social media has been integrated in to most walks of life now, from the generalist such as Facebook and Google+ to ones with specific purposes – photo sharing, online dating or review sites. This last category has proven effective in many markets, with independent review and rating sites being the first port of call for many people looking to make a purchase.
The residential property market has attracted a number of these, with sites rating the landlords, tenants and landlords all appearing recently. The latest to launch is ‘RentalRaters‘ – referred to as a sort of TripAdvisor for the rental market. However is this an accurate comparison – and is this something the rental market needs?
Unlike TripAdvisor or TrustPilot, which are opt-in services, the subject of the RentalRaters review does not need to sign up to the site to be reviewed, nor is there any way for the reviewer to leave contacts details for the person managing the reviewed property. This can make the ability of a landlord to respond to criticism more complicated if they are unaware of the review.
However, it’s not all that bad. Looking at it from a different angle, sites like this provide the landlord with an incentive to improve or solve the issue the tenant has exposed online. Furthermore, good properties which receive positive feedback can standout on sites like this, catching the eye of tenants and helping seal the deal.
On the other side of the coin, sites like Tenants History allow landlords to leave feedback on previous tenants, acting as a sort of pre-approved reference. And in the case of Tenants History the tenant has to agree to be rated before the feedback is accepted by the site.
Of course, any social media site takes time to establish and it will be a while until these sites become part of the letting process. In the meantime, landlords are still better off getting a full credit check and set of references when searching for a new tenant.