An online platform which currently operates as a review site in the student accommodation sector is to move into the mainstream shortly.
http://movem.co.uk/ currently publishes reviews of student accommodation, landlords and letting agents.
When it operates across the entire industry later his year, any tenant will be able to post reviews of their accommodation, landlord and/or letting agent.
Landlords and agents will also be able to post recommendations of tenants, although not full reviews.
The recommendations would be based on questions such as “Would you re-let to this tenant?”; or if the tenant had only been in the property a short time, the question might be “Why did this tenant vacate so quickly?”, giving the agent the opportunity to say that the tenant did not pay rent.
The site was founded by Peter Ramsey in 2013 after he lost hundreds of pounds on seemingly fraudulent deposit deductions.
He started it as a housing reference site in Bournemouth and it now operates in some 100 university towns and cities in the UK.
Ramsey says it has brought major benefits to landlords and agents, as it helps them strengthen their reputation and attracts the best tenants to contact them.
The site is endorsed by over 25 students’ unions, and by Dorset police.
Ramsey told EYE that this year “We’re putting Movem in the hands of every letting agent, landlord and tenant in the UK”.
He said: “We’ve been talking to hundreds of letting agencies over the last few years and this summer we’re releasing Movem v3, which introduces a system whereby landlords and letting agencies can find better tenants, with verified rental histories.
“We believe in a system where landlords are confident that the tenant will take care of their home, and it takes out the mystery of handing the keys over to a complete stranger.”
Free 12-month membership is being offered to all early access users – it would normally be about £50 a month.
Any letting agency and landlord can register their interest in the free subscription, with 364 still on offer yesterday.
Ramsey told EYE: “Obviously there’s a huge issue around the validity of reviews.
“We have a number of checks to remove fake reviews; landlords and agencies can reply to reviews and we’re introducing community features.
“For example, anybody can comment on a review as a user, so if a tenant commented ‘I lived here, this wasn’t my review’, then clearly we will take action on that review.
“By focusing on this community, similar to Airbnb, we have a self-cleaning system that encourages everybody to be more open and honest.”