A new rental property review website that only allows consumers to post negative comments has come under fire from industry professionals.
The website, dontrentme.com.au, allows a consumer to locate an address that they have tenanted and write a review about their experience with the landlord and property manager. The consumer can also rank the property out of five 'negative' stars.
According to Leighton Walters, business development manager at True Property, the website lacks credibility as it only allows for negative posts.
“I think it will have nothing but a negative impact on the industry because it doesn’t reveal any positive aspects of an agent,” he told Real Estate Business.
“It is going to give tenants an unwarranted reason to not rent properties and it will discriminate against owners who do actually maintain their homes.
“There is nothing stopping an upset tenant or one of your competitors going on there and posting something that is completely untrue.”
But according to website creator Anthony Ziebell, dontrentme.com.au is an “online movement” that will help make the rental market a more honest and even place.
“We want to make sure there is an understanding that the website and its community has been put together in order to make all things equal and fair,” he told Real Estate Business.
“Bad agents and landlords probably have a reason for concern, much like the agent who recently was banned for five years in Melbourne.
“Just like any other crooks, bad agents should have [reason] to be concerned and those who are honest agents have no reason for concern.”
However Tim McKibbin, CEO of the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW), said the creator of the website has done themselves an injustice by not allowing for both negative and positive comments on the site.
“Firstly, these sorts of sites are going to be offered to consumers. We already see that in a number of other industries including travel, with the very successful TripAdvisor.com,” he told Real Estate Business.
“I think they do themselves an injustice because they are not showing both stories. If they wanted to provide a genuine opportunity for consumers to draw attention to property managers then they need to have space for both negative and positive comments because it adds credibility to the entire site.”
Mr Ziebell said that there were no plans to allow agents an area to respond to comments about their properties or services.
“If evidence of falsification is provided and is by our opinion reasonable, we will remove a false review,” he said.
“It is our plan in the future to collect enough data that we can offer data analysis to good agents, so that agency directors can ensure that the good practices they implement inside their businesses are followed through by their agents.
“This data will also assist good agencies in avoiding known, bad landlords.”
Mr Walters is calling for the site to be taken down.
“This website will add nothing to our profession. It brings down good property managers that devote their lives to our industry and our career,” he said.
“It undermines the whole profession and I call for it to be taken down.”