Dispelling Some Myths About Marks Out Of Tenancy - Part One

Part One of this 'Dispelling Myths' series looks at some of the questions and statements we address on a regular basis.
By Ben Yarrow
28 January 2020

As you can imagine we’ve fielded a ton of questions about Marks Out Of Tenancy, so rather than repeating ourselves we thought it was the right time to publish some of the points / questions / posers / accusations and answer them one by one. This is Part One of the 'Dispelling Myths' series.

Point 1:
‘Marks Out Of Tenancy was thought up as a pun then the business was built around it.’

Sadly this isn’t true. The idea for the site came when Ben Yarrow our CEO had a sub-standard interaction with a landlord. He looked online for a website where he could share his experiences and it didn’t exist in the format he expected - so he built it. The company name followed soon after.
Sidenote: If anyone wants to start a property inspection firm called ‘Sherlock Homes’ please let us know.

Point 2:
‘Why can’t I rate and review tenants on Marks Out Of Tenancy?’

Landlords and letting agents can’t rate tenants on Marks Out Of Tenancy because the tenant is the paying customer.
It’s as simple as that.
Tesco doesn’t rate their customers.
Amazon doesn't rate their customers.
British Gas doesn’t rate their customers.
Landlords and letting agents don't rate their customers on Marks Out Of Tenancy.

But we realise the question isn’t ‘Why can’t I rate and review tenants on Marks Out Of Tenancy?’ it’s more along the lines of ‘I’ve been a landlord for years and had one tenant who didn’t pay their rent for 5 months and left the place in a right state - how can I make sure it doesn’t happen again?’

The answer to that is more complex, with available solutions that include advanced tenant referencing to ensure the right properties are being let to the right prospective tenants, more and better communication with tenants so landlords and letting agents are presented as approachable humans in case of any issues, increasing customer service levels to ensure problems that do arise are dealt with in the best ways possible.

Even so, there are websites for landlords and letting agents to rate their tenants. A simple Google search will help.

Point 3:
‘I don’t like sites like Marks Out Of Tenancy.’

For donkeys years, renters have been using all forms of communication and media to discuss their landlords and letting agents. Blogs, forums, Facebook, Twitter, face to face in the pub, the list goes on.
Now, for the first time in the UK on a large scale, tenants are able to share their experiences in a dedicated, centralised place.
Landlords and letting agents are notified when they’re reviewed, can respond free of charge, the reviews are verified to ensure the person writing the review actually lived in the property, anti-defamation filters and bad word filters ensure all the nasty stuff is blocked, on-site flagging and reporting systems enable users to report problems, a Bayesian weighting algorithm ensures extreme review scores are softened, and all reviews are moderated by real humans to ensure they meet our high standards.

That attention to detail isn’t in place on Facebook, forums, or other social media - Marks Out Of Tenancy has been built to help tenants share their experiences whilst presenting the information in a safe, usable and neutral way.
The website is merely a vessel for renters to share their experiences.
So, “I don’t like sites like Marks Out Of Tenancy” doesn’t mean ‘I don’t like sites like Marks Out Of Tenancy’, it tends to mean ‘I don’t like the accountability this formalised structure brings to me and my business’.

Point 4:
‘Marks Out Of Tenancy is completely one-sided’

Remembering the tenant is the customer, they can rate and review the interactions they’ve had with their landlord and/or their letting agent, the place they’ve rented and the neighbourhood they’ve been living in - all in separate boxes during the review process.

It’s the tenant that lives the experience, abides the abode and pays the rent, not the landlord or the letting agent; they’re the suppliers.
One of the main objectives of Marks Out Of Tenancy is to drive change.
We can only do that by providing information in a usable and practical fashion to those whose behaviour and practises we want to help improve.
We can only help to drive change if we listen to those experiences, and this is exactly what reviews on Marks Out Of Tenancy do.

Marks Out Of Tenancy is a customer feedback platform, a customer relationship management, a place for landlords and letting agents to read, listen and interact with their customers.

We help them to do this by:
Allowing landlords to respond to reviews - free of charge,
Alerting landlords when they’re reviewed - free of charge,
Allowing letting agents to respond to reviews - free of charge,
Alerting letting agents when they’re reviewed - free of charge,
Providing letting agents with detailed, branch-by-branch stats and analytics to help them identify which of their teams has the highest levels of customer service / best reviews and how their poorer performing branches can up their game - this is a monthly subscription service.

So is Marks Out Of Tenancy completely one-sided?
No. Landlords and letting agents are able to respond directly to tenants and be notified when they’re reviewed, free of charge.
Tenants, the paying customers, are free to share their interactions and experiences anywhere and to anyone they wish; Marks Out Of Tenancy just happens to be a centralised place for them to do so.
Landlords can sign up for a free account here: Landlord membership.
Letting agents can sign up for a free account here: Letting agent membership.

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