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Website: Tenants strike back with landlord checking website

Time will tell whether a new website where tenants can make unverified complaints about their landlords will last the distance, reports Diana Clement

Monday, April 2nd 2007, 12:00AM 7 Comments

by The Landlord

Product: LandlordCheck New Zealand
Price: Free
Overall rating: 2 out of 5
Website: www.landlordcheck.co.nz
LandlordCheck.co.nz was launched in February to give tenants the chance to rate landlords and property managers online. Landlords with good ratings can advertise properties to let for free on the website.

In the words of the site itself: “Landlord Check New Zealand aims to improve the quality of service provided by New Zealand landlords and property managers. On this site tenants can create reports on their renting experiences, good or bad, that can be accessed by others who are intending to rent a property”.


The reports rate landlords from one to five in four areas:
1. What was the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy?
2. Did the landlord/property manager respond promptly when repairs were needed?
3. Did the landlord/property manager give the tenant quiet enjoyment of the property?
4. Did the landlord/property manager give at least 24 hours notice to the tenant before entering the property?
There is also a space at the end of a review for comments.

Once you’ve joined as a landlord or property manager and logged in the home page shows a list of the best landlords and worst as well as the most popular listings of property to rent on the site.

The idea is that both good and bad landlords get a listing. For example, one tenant wrote about Richardsons Real Estate Tairua: “The guys at Richardsons were a breath of fresh air. My partner and I had a lot of trouble finding a property in Auckland because we have never rented before and we are considered very young. When my company relocated me to Tairua, Richardsons were understanding and helpful. I’m dreading being moved back to Auckland now!”

But another complained that Dave Murray, of First National, Whangarei, hadn’t given the bond back because of some dust, crumbs in the oven and a small stain on the carpet.

When the New Zealand Property Magazine contacted Murray he told an altogether different story about the property. The stain was 18 inches in diameter and the property empty for some while because it needed bringing back to a decent state of cleanliness after the tenants left. “I am a good landlord 99% of the time.”

Murray believed the site would mainly be used by disgruntled tenants and didn’t give a balanced picture. “It is a one-sided site.”

Signing up is pretty simple. Once you have signed up you’re directed to a page listing landlords/property managers already listed on the system. You’re asked to check if you are already there. On sign-up your details are automatically listed in the directory and you can search for references about yourself posted by tenants.

Once you are registered as a landlord, you will receive an email alert each time a report is entered in the system about you.

On the listing side landlords can list their rentals for free. If, however, you have no LCNZ rating or a poor LCNZ rating, “viewing of your advertisements will be restricted,” says the site in its frequently requested sections list.

Listing on the site is incredibly simple – more so than Trade Me if you list your properties individually. Big users of Trade Me who keep 50 or more properties for rent current on Trade Me at any one time ‘pipe’ information from their computer system directly onto Trade Me – cutting out the one-by-one manual uploading process. You can’t currently do such bulk uploads with LandlordCheck.co.nz.

Multiple lines of marketing always make sense and Landlordcheck.co.nz is free and quick to use. As a result, landlords might find it a useful way to attract tenants.

Stephen Hall from Professionals Real Estate in Panmure (Auckland) was one of the first property managers to list rentals on the site. He said, “We are advertising rental properties on this new site primarily because it is free, it is obviously targeted to our desired market and because we always strive to maximise our exposure”. A secondary reason, he says is “a desire to assist new start-ups that could possibly produce the next Sam Morgan”.

The downside of LandlordCheck.co.nz is that the information on this site is not verified. Unlike landlord websites such as Tenancy Information New Zealand (TINZ), the ratings of landlords are subjective and not limited to Tenancy Tribunal judgments.

LandlordCheck.co.nz says it ensures accuracy by:
· collecting the contact details of anyone posting a report on the site, along with a verified email address
· auditing reports before they are displayed on the site
· allowing landlords or property managers to respond to reports about them
· recording IP addresses (the unique address of a computer connected to the Internet) to prevent one person from creating multiple accounts.

Unlike websites such as TINZ where tenant references can only be added if the tenancy agreement made it clear that they would be, any tenant can enter details about a landlord on LandlordCheck.co.nz.

Whether ultimately LandlordCheck.co.nz can be successful with the “them and us” attitude between many landlords and tenants is something that only time will tell. The site will no doubt be labour intensive with email contact to the administrator from both landlords and tenants for its founder and unless it provides a revenue stream, running the site could become a burden.

One also wonders if the type of tenant that is likely to dob in landlords on such a site and may be particularly hot on their rights is the type that landlords might want as tenants.

From a design point of view, the site isn’t the best. It is, however, pretty simple and straightforward and it doesn’t take too much trouble to find your way around.

Contact: admin@lcnz.co.nz
System requirements: Internet access
Verdict: A website that landlords should watch with interest
Pros: Free listing of properties to rent
Cons: Landlord ratings are not verified and are at the whim of the tenant.





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Comments from our readers

On 3 December 2009 at 1:47 pm Jane said:
I do believe there should be a site for tennants to write their experiences with various landlords and also be able to ask the landlord to sign an agreement as to what he/she will be doing for the tennant. eg: lawns weekly fortnightly or whatever, redecorating, when is it going to happen, annually 5 yearly, while it is said that the tennant is responsible, they deserve a commitment from the landlord.
On 5 May 2010 at 2:10 pm Michelle said:
i think there should be a site for us renters as i have rented from some real bad landlords not coming to fix repairs at all and then trying to charge me for the repairs when i leave too bad for them i make sure i get it all in writing now learnt my lessons the hard way. So why cant people like me give advice to others?
On 17 May 2010 at 5:22 pm Matt said:
Landlords have held the monopoly for to long, take Dunedin for example where bad landlords rent out disgusting dwellings at top dollar and then get away with it. I recieved a bad rating as a tenant despite doing nothing wrong, all in order for the landlord to keep my bond to go toward new heat pumps so that they could charge more. And there was nothing I could do about it!! well with a site like this, we (tenants) can fight back so all you dodgy landlords should obey the law from now on because we (tenants) will be fighting back and putting YOU on black lists :)
On 13 June 2010 at 4:40 pm baiba4 said:
Yes there are some very cunning landlords out there, I have one now, who turned the place into a building site doing non-urgent repairs that I did not ask for - with only 24 hours notice. I have been harrassed by her and her family and her builders for one month with all the noise, being on the property everyday including weekends, and now I have permanent ringing in my ears. I had zero privacy throughout this time, and I still have no idea when all this is going to start up again...she said she does this every year...
On 6 August 2010 at 1:54 pm patrick said:
What happened to this site? It is a very good idea. I have had more bad landlords than good ones. I could not believe the stunts some of them pulled. They operate with no fear of any consequences more like feudal lords, with a high level of extreme dishonesty
On 20 July 2011 at 11:11 am Matt said:
dont worry guys n gals, Ive watched this space for over a year, and the link never works, have no fear, I will be opening an online renters association soon, whereby tenants CAN write about bad landlords, give them a star rating etc. Anyone wanting to help me develop the site please just email me at Matt_1@hotmail.co.nz. im sure we can run an ethical and fair, landlord rating website, after all, they have one on us right!!
On 6 November 2011 at 2:37 pm Matt said:
Ok guys n gals, back in July, I made a promise to take a shot at creating a workable website that allows all of the above and more. Im pleased to announce, that in a few days, we will be opening this site. You can take a sneak peek at our front page, by going to http://www.tenancysupport.co.nz. Or by following the link attached to this article, as we purchased that domain, and linked it to our site. We have found ways to make this site perfectly legal under New Zealand law, we look forward to retaining most if not all of the key features that were on the old Landlord check site, and we have upgraded, revamped, and added new and exciting features so that we can be the one stop shop for all of your needs. And a note to all the Landlords and Tenancy Agents reading this, do not be afraid, if you get good ratings, we will offer you the chance to advertise your rentals for a small fee, on our site, and we have made sure that our ratings systems are unbiased, but rather fair, so if you are a good Landlord, or Tenancy Agent, our site will actually encourage our members to go through your rentals. I think the future is now shining a little brighter for all of New Zealand. Welcome, Ki ora, come on in.
Commenting is closed

 

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AIA 4.55 2.29 2.59 2.65
ANZ 4.44 2.89 3.25 3.39
ANZ Special - 2.29 2.69 2.79
ASB Bank 4.45 2.29 2.59 2.65
Bluestone 3.49 3.34 2.99 3.34
BNZ - Classic - 2.29 2.59 2.79
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.15 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 4.60 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 4.55 2.89 3.19 3.39
BNZ - TotalMoney 4.55 - - -
CFML Loans 4.95 - - -
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China Construction Bank Special - 2.65 2.65 2.80
Credit Union Auckland 5.45 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.65 3.95 3.85 -
Credit Union South 5.65 3.95 3.85 -
First Credit Union Special 5.85 2.95 3.45 -
Heartland Bank - Online 2.50 1.99 2.35 2.45
Heretaunga Building Society 4.99 3.50 3.40 -
HSBC Premier 4.49 2.25 2.35 2.65
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - 1.99 - -
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ICBC 3.69 2.25 2.35 2.65
Kainga Ora 4.43 ▼2.67 ▼2.97 3.13
Kainga Ora - First Home Buyer Special - 2.25 - -
Kiwibank 3.40 3.20 3.50 3.50
Kiwibank - Offset 3.40 - - -
Kiwibank Special 3.40 2.35 2.65 2.65
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Nelson Building Society 4.95 3.20 3.24 -
Pepper Essential 4.79 - - -
Resimac 3.39 3.35 2.99 3.35
SBS Bank 4.54 2.79 2.79 3.15
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SBS Bank Special - 2.29 2.29 2.65
Select Home Loans 3.49 3.34 2.99 3.34
The Co-operative Bank - First Home Special - 2.09 - -
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 4.40 2.29 2.59 2.79
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 4.40 2.79 3.09 3.29
TSB Bank 5.34 3.09 3.29 3.45
TSB Special 4.54 2.29 2.49 2.65
Wairarapa Building Society 4.99 3.55 3.49 -
Westpac 4.59 3.09 3.29 3.39
Westpac - Offset 4.59 - - -
Westpac Special - 2.29 2.69 2.79
Median 4.55 2.73 2.99 2.80

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