A reviews website for student accommodation landlords and letting agents launched in Lincoln this year has been so successful that it is to be rolled out across the UK.
CribAdvisor is a TripAdvisor for student tenants which enables them to leave anonymous reviews about landlords and letting agents.
The site has already attracted 450 reviews for properties in Lincoln, which is where founders Natasha Hopewell and Lawrence Thorpe completed their degrees.
Although reviewers are able to leave moderated but anonymous comments about landlords or letting agents, they must register on the site using a valid student email address. Those they criticise have a right to reply.
The idea for their website – which is a familiar one – came after battling a letting agent in their third year over a dispute which they only won after promising to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Hopewell claims one of her rental properties featured a broken hot water boiler that took weeks to fix and maintenance and letting agent staff who let themselves in without warning.
Following these experiences, Hopewell has told The Guardian that she wants to “improve the standards of [rented properties] by giving students the tools to take control of their tenancies and demand from their providers,” she says.
“Students renters are first-time renters. We are naive and inexperienced, with no idea of what to expect, our rights or what to do when things go wrong. Providers take advantage of students because they think they can get away it.”
Lincoln is a hotbed for property service innovation. Earlier this year specialist student lettings firm Student Lets started up in the the city, and fast-growing hybrid agency Accommodation.co.uk was initially based there.
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