Dealing with a horrible landlord who either refuses to fix the leaky faucet in your apartment, or decides to drop in whenever they feel like it, can make any living situation unbearable.
That’s why Todd FitzGerald created BostonLandlordReviews.com, a site that helps first-time renters and people moving to the Hub avoid an apartment catastrophe.
Beyond just listing the conditions of rental properties, FitzGerald said the site, which takes on a “Rate My Professor” approach, separates the good Boston landlords from the bad by gathering input from current and past residents about those who own the buildings.
“We don’t want people to get trapped in a bad situation,” said FitzGerald, a former real estate agent. “Freshman year, I was looking for an apartment and I had no idea what was going on. It’s both about the place people are living, as well as the people who manage them.”
Users can log onto the review page and rate a landlord’s performance based on maintenance, availability and friendliness. The scores, which use a 5-star rating system, are combined for an overall landlord review.
Renters can also leave comments and share their landlord horror stories, said FitzGerald.
“It’s vital information for people to know— am I going to be dealing with [a landlord] who is intrusive coming to the apartment everyday, or dealing with the ghost who will never show up to fix my garbage disposal?,” said FitzGerald.
The site isn’t just a place to find the bad news about your new digs, however. FitzGerald said he hopes it also serves as a platform to help nail down that perfect pad for renters.
“We want the good and bad reviews, we want a transparent view of what the rental system like,” he said.
Landlords won’t be left to have their names dragged through the Boston mud, either. According to FitzGerald, he plans on adding an option to allow apartment and homeowners to refute claims that may sour their renting capabilities.
“There will be a little rebuttal system where they can put in their two sense as well,” he said. “Just in case it’s someone who ranted and raved about their landlord and it wasn’t a valid perspective.”
So far, there have been over 1,000 landlord reviews submitted to the site. Once there are more comments and inside scoops about peoples’ living situations, FitzGerald hopes to spawn similar resource sites in San Francisco and New York City.
“Places where a lot of students and those renting for the first time have a high turnover rate,” he said.
The site comes at a time when city officials, including Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, have been discussing holding bad landlords more accountable for their lack of supervision at certain properties.
Last month, city officials met and discussed a proposal to rewrite some of Boston’s rules when it comes to inspections of rental properties.
The changes, if implemented, would effect 80-percent of the Hub’s rental market to make sure tenants are living in a safe environment.