Renting in the UK can feel like the wild wild West, especially if you are a student/young and are looking for affordable accommodation. Despite the government banning Article 21 that had allowed landlords to evict tenants for no reason, and the banning of estate agent fees, many renters across the country still encounter problems with substandard properties and unreasonable landlords.
With the internet just about the only tool renters have to fight back, the Marks Out Of Tenancy website is a long overdue database of reviews by renters all over the country. You can rate the properties you've lived at on everything from the structural condition of the building to the quality of the decor and furniture if you're renting a furnished flat.
The website was founded by Ben Yarrow after a landlord quibbled with him over a £3 bedspread, despite having failed to keep the property in good repair throughout Yarrow's tenancy.
Marks Out Of Tenancy drew swift criticism from the Residential Landlords Association, who were worried about defamatory or unverified reviews. However, Marks Out Of Tenancy moderates all reviews, ensuring that they are by genuine tenants – and gives landlords a chance to respond.
We've browsed lots of reviews on the website, and have encountered plenty of glowing ones, praising clean and well-maintained properties, as well as good landlords. Hopefully, as the site grows, it could become the TripAdvisor of renting, encouraging landlords to keep to high standards and enjoy better tenants staying longer.
Renting for the first time? These are the questions to ask your landlord before renting.