Guest blog by Marks out of Tenancy, a new review site
In 2016, The Argus reported that Brighton and Hove was ranked third for having the most people in Private Rented Accommodation out of the UK’s largest 63 towns and cities, with only Oxford and Cambridge ranking higher. It’s clear that something needs to done about renting in the Brighton and Hove area and it’s great to see Rent Smart Brighton and Hove have stepped up to do this.
Our goal is to provide tenants with a space to research and share their experiences of landlords, letting agents, properties and neighbourhoods all over the UK. On Marks Out Of Tenancy, tenants are able to share their experiences by rating and reviewing the four aspects that we consider to make up a tenancy; landlord, letting agent, property and neighbourhood. We also allow users to rate specific desirable characteristic of each of these aspects, compiled through consultation with tenants action groups, local councils, charities and think tanks, for instance the quality of repairs by a landlord or the soundproofing of a property.
One Brighton tenant, Chris, said “Renting in Brighton can be a nightmare. It’s so hard to tell the difference between good and bad landlords, or letting agents. After looking at Marks Out Of Tenancy, it’s definitely something I’d like to use to see who tenants’ recommend and who they suggest you avoid, I hope Brighton embraces it as much as Bristol has”.
Marks Out Of Tenancy is a really useful resource in its own right, but we also want to be involved with making renting better as an ongoing process. We’re doing this in various ways, firstly by developing Marks Out Of Tenancy to be a tool that can support tenants throughout the renting process. This includes a Legal Resource Centre being built in conjunction with multiple legal advice groups, law firms and tenant’s right organisations, an image gallery where tenants can upload time and date stamped images to their secure and private profile to ensure their deposit deductions are accurate and fair.
Tenants reviewing their letting providers doesn’t just help other tenants, our reviews help groups like Rent Smart Brighton & Hove to ensure they can target issues and areas in the private rented sector that tenants are having the most problems with. It’s a space in which tenants’ voices can be heard and working with groups like Rent Smart Brighton & Hove means that tenants’ experiences are directly influencing agents of change in the city. We want to bring all participants together; landlords, letting agents, tenants, action groups, and anyone else who has has an involvement in renting privately, to make renting better and bring transparency to the sector. Our next stage of development is currently underway and should be completed within the next month, this will see landlords and letting agents able to reply to reviews, adding their side of the story.
So please, if it renting privately impacts you in anyway, get involved. Email voice@marksoutoftenancy and introduce yourself.