25-Year-Old Creates Website To Protect People From Nightmare Landlords In Gentrified Areas
If you’ve been in the renting game for a while, chances are you’ve come across at least one bad landlord. How could you have known that s/he was such a nightmare before signing that 1-year lease?
Thanks to a site co-created by 25-year-old Ofo Ezeugwu, you can now check out a landlord’s reviews and ratings before committing to renting anything. Ezeugwu is the CEO and co-founder of WhoseYourLandlord, a tech company committed to providing renters with as much info about potential landlords as possible. Past renters share their good, bad and ugly experiences, giving you, the potential renter, a clear understanding of what you would be getting in a new landlord.
In an interview with NowThis, the former Temple University student explained how the idea was born four years ago while he was a senior, noting that fellow students, especially trying to rent in gentrified areas, were the biggest targets of slum landlords, something he wanted to curve.
“I was in a position where a lot of students would come to me and ask questions about housing and how we could help them out. For those who don’t know, there’s a lot of gentrification in the North Philly area because of the universities,” he said. “What would happen is you would have these landlords come into the community, they would build these shabby properties and rent them out to students by room and then wouldn’t do the quality service necessary to make sure it was a good experience.”
And now, in an age where everything and everybody is exposed, landlords will be, too.
“We’ve seen Yelp and Netflix. You can look at the movie and look at the ratings before selecting it but in housing it’s never really been that way so this is really an untapped space when it comes to the real estate industry.”
But what if you’re a landlord? Don’t worry. Ezeugwu’s site isn’t meant to slam you. He believes that this site ultimately benefits you. If you’re an excellent landlord, then your tenants will leave rave reviews, driving more interest in renting your properties.
“I think from the landlord’s perspective, once we’re in the market they realize too that our review process are the questions that any renter would legitimately ask,” he said. “I think because of that, we get a lot of buying from landlords once we’re in their market just because for them it’s a cheap way to get the word out. If people have lived in your building had good experiences they’re going to share that and it’s free marketing for a landlord.”
As Ezeugwu continues to market WhoseYourLandlord as the go-to site to check out potential landlords, he wants it to evolve as well, particularly for renters.
“Right now, a renter can receive reviews, they can see listings that are available, they can see the content that we create, but what’s next is really connecting and integrating those renters so that they can message each other, talk to each other, you know who’s in your building now. Our goal is to be a resource for our renters, not a place where they can just fulfill one thing.”
You can check out the entire NowThis video detailing Ezeugwu’s story behind WhoseYourLandlord below.