User Generated Content is Powering Change for Renters

Think your voice counts for nothing? You're wrong.
By Ben Yarrow
11 October 2019


Up until recently the world relied on a relative handful of experts to collect and curate the knowledge we could gain access to. Mapping the earth accurately was left to surveyors, geographers and cartographers – highly trained, very well equipped individuals. Encyclopedias and dictionaries were researched and written by well educated and well informed experts and news was gathered and broadcast by journalists and organisations that dedicated years in training to bring us the headlines.

However, since the birth of the internet, all that has changed.

Now we have access to services in which maps are built through the collaboration of everyday people, providing the most up to date and accurate information, online encyclopedias mean that information is updated almost instantaneously and contributed to by experts in all sorts of fields and news is available to be broadcasted as it happens, directly from those involved.

We at Marks Out Of Tenancy love this idea of sharing knowledge, probably because it’s what our concept is built on.

This is why on our website we’re using as much user generated content as we possibly can. Who knows a house better than the occupant? Who knows the area better than the local? Who knows the landlord better than the tenant? This is the basis for Marks Out Of Tenancy.

We’re encouraging tenants to share their rental experiences with each other, that way when we go into a tenancy we can know exactly what to expect and avoid any nasty surprises. It’s quite simple; we want real information available to tenants - not the wide angle images of the flat posted on Zoopla, not the five minute whip around viewing where half the rooms are locked - real information from the tenant's perspective. The more information available, the better informed decisions tenants can make before signing the tenancy agreement.    

As well as letting users share their experiences, we are also using OpenStreetMap, a collaborative, editable map that distributes free geographical data for the world. Using OSM means you have access to consistently up to date area information that can help you discover the most about the places you wish to move to. You can contribute almost any map element you can think of to OSM using tags and, as long as it is verifiable by other users, it will appear on the map. The great thing is that it’s constantly changing, updating and staying relevant because it’s sustained by the users.

Quite often we can come to take the things we’re used to for granted and the internet is certainly one of those things. So sometimes we need reminding what a powerful tool it is and what a massive change it can bring about when we use it to work together and help each other out.

Hopefully at Marks Out Of Tenancy, our project can continue to do just that. 

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