The identities of bad landlords and real estate agents will reach a wider audience through a new website that allows disgruntled tenants to share the status of their rental properties.
Tenant rights advocate Jordan van den Berg has been making short videos about poor rental conditions for years and has now launched a website that functions as a database for tenants.
S***rentals.org is a platform that allows tenants to name and shame sleazy properties and greedy agencies they have dealt with in the past.
Mr van den Berg manually uploads complaints to the public website which includes the property address and agency name.
He had already gained popularity on social media where he toured terrible rentals and helped tenants shame “exploitative” landlords.
Tenant rights advocate Jordan van den Berg has spent years exposing bad rentals and has now launched a website that functions as a database for tenants.
Renters can submit a home review or scroll through reviews others have posted to get an honest look at what their potential home is really like.
Mr van den Berg said his new website would level the playing field and provide tenants with an honest representation of the home they are considering moving into.
“Nine out of ten photos on a rental were from the last time a property was sold. You know nothing about the experience of previous tenants.
Mr. van den Berg personally reads all reviews before posting them on the Website to verify that they are true and accurate.
However, real estate agents will not receive a warning before a review goes live and will instead have to contact them after the fact if they disagree with what is said.
“Estate agents don’t give tenants a right of reply in their residential rental databases, so why should the landlord get one,” he told James Willis. on the 2 GB disk.
“They can contact me or disagree in order to have a right of reply.”
If a landlord complained about a review, Mr van den Berg would then ask the tenant if their response was correct before changing the upload.
Mr van den Berg made a name for himself online for visiting terrible rentals and shaming lax landlords (pictured, unrepaired leak in rental)
He discovered people living with waterlogged carpets, moldy ceilings, exposed electrical wires and asbestos (pictured).
In just a few days, s***rentals.org received 1,000 visits to its website and already has over 800 reviews posted on properties and agencies.
By accessing the website, viewers can submit their own review or read the review database.
Among the reviews, there are both positive and negative views, ranging from the “beautiful location” of one property to the “crumbling plaster and bricks” of another.
“DO NOT LIVE HERE IF YOU Value YOUR PRIVACY AND TO AVOID MOLD/LEAK PROBLEMS,” begins an appraisal of the property.
“In fact, on several occasions we lived here (and this also happened to people we knew who lived there), the owner would let himself into people’s apartments WITHOUT ANY NOTICE OR AUTHORIZATION, also for reasons not obligatory.
“We even had to install a security camera in case he tried to enter without permission or notice again while we weren’t home.”
A study by the agency claimed a tenant risked losing their deposit after leaving an onion skin behind.
“They don’t respond to emails. They do not recognize the demands and needs of tenants. They tried to ask for a deposit on an onion skin left in a pantry,” the quick review read.
Mr van den Berg’s social media channels, where he is known as purplepingers, are dedicated to exposing the poor living conditions faced by tenants.
One property in Melbourne he visited had several plastered walls and graffiti on the walls which had not been cleaned before the current tenants moved in.
Mr van den Berg built his following online after constantly posting content criticizing low-quality listings, high rents and unresponsive agents.
A Melbourne property had carpet so waterlogged that tenants had to lay down planks so they could walk around the house.
Mr van den Berg found a house in Maribyrnong, northwest of Melbourne, riddled with mold, asbestos, crumbling walls and a leaking roof.
Another house in Fitzroy has been called out for a particularly misleading advertising image depicting a furnished bedroom.
When the tenants invited Mr van den Berg to come and inspect the house, he could not recognize in which room the photo had been taken.
“It’s a five-bedroom house and there’s only one picture of one bedroom and I’m pretty sure she’s not even in that house,” he said.
One particularly dubious listing included a photo of a lavish bedroom (pictured), but Mr van den Berg couldn’t even find the room where the photo was taken.
Vacancy rates in Australia are near an all-time low, with just 1 per cent of the two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, being unoccupied.
A healthy rental market is around three percent of available rental properties.
With the market so difficult for tenants and with no signs of improvement in the near future, Mr van den Berg said his review would be useful.
“Sometimes things can be put right if the right person is aware of them,” he told The Age.
It is committed to keeping the website free and never introducing subscription fees as it continues to develop it and add new features in the future.