Why does Marks Out Of Tenancy exist?

We came to realise that with renting it's not that the process that's too complicated - it's that we weren't being given access to all the information.
So we needed to bridge the gap from one renter to the next.
Marks Out Of Tenancy exists to help renters make better informed decisions about the place they want to call 'home'.

What is Marks Out Of Tenancy?

Marks Out Of Tenancy is a website than enables tenants in the private rental sector to rate and review their tenancy experience.
When leaving a review, tenants rate their landlord, letting agent, the property and the neighbourhood.
This approach makes reviews incredibly useful to users to find out what a place is like to live in before signing a tenancy agreement.
Questions like "Is this neighbourhood good for families? What's the landlord like to deal with? What sort of track record does this letting agent have? What's the flat like to live in?" can all be answered before signing a tenancy agreement.

What are the aims of Marks Out Of Tenancy?

Marks Out Of Tenancy aims to improve conditions in the private rental sector.

How does Marks Out Of Tenancy reduce fake reviews?

We use a number of systems in an attempt to stop fake reviews.
Using publicly available information, the Marks Out Of Tenancy system cross-checks various records to ensure a reviewed tenancy actually happened.
There reporting / flagging system on the site which enables any logged in user to flag a tenancy.
If a review is flagged we then take steps to contact the reviewer, asking them to provide evidence that the review is legitimate.
If it's not, we remove it immediately from the site.

What measures does Marks Out Of Tenancy have in place to ensure landlords and letting agents are not affected by fake reviews?

In addition to the measures we have in place (listed above), the Marks Out Of Tenancy review system uses a Bayesian weighting algorithm as another safeguard against the affect of potential fake reviews.
Bayesian weighting works by levelling out any spikes in extreme ratings until there are multiple high or low ratings.
The more reviews a landlord or letting agent gets, the more accurate the ratings are.
See this Wikipedia article on Bayesian average for more insights.

How does Marks Out Of Tenancy handle defamation?

Marks Out Of Tenancy is a review platform, not a site for defaming tenants, landlord or letting agents.
While using the site to write or respond to reviews, our system checks for swear words and words which are potentially defamatory.
The Marks Out Of Tenancy system will not allow any words in the blacklist to make it to the live site.
You can notify Marks Out Of Tenancy of defamation by following the process here: https://marksoutoftenancy.com/complaints-procedure

How secure is data on Marks Out Of Tenancy?

We've taken steps to ensure all data is kept as secure as possible on Marks Out Of Tenancy.
We constantly keep our codebase and versions up-to-date to ensure all the most recent patches are implemented.
Marks Out Of Tenancy uses resilient hosting which provides us with a high level of uptime, and uses SSL protection RSA 2048 bits (SHA256withRSA).
You can test the Marks Out Of Tenancy SSL certificate here: https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=marksoutoftenancy.com

Why is Marks Out Of Tenancy classed as a 'social enterprise'?

A social enterprise is an organisation that uses commercial methods to create and maintain improvements in social wellbeing, and maximise social impact.
Although not registered in the UK as a charity, Community Interest Company (CIC), Marks Out Of Tenancy is not a vanity project, labelled as a social enterprise for the marketing purposes; our core focus is improving conditions in the private rental sector and maximising the social impact we have to improve lives for all renters.

Why is Marks Out Of Tenancy such a vital tool in the fight to improve conditions in the private rental sector?

Marks Out Of Tenancy enables the market forces to drive improvement rather than waiting for regulatory forces to do so.
Regulation plays it's part, but on it's own demonstrably cannot improve conditions in the private rental market.
Reviews on Marks Out Of Tenancy are tenant-lead, meaning we do not wait for landlords and letting agents to voluntarily sign up before reviews go live.
Using this method rouge and unscrupulous landlords and letting agents who may fly under the regulation radar, or tick boxes and pay for a landlord licence can be highlighted on Marks Out Of Tenancy.

How are some groups and organisations using Marks Out Of Tenancy to tackle poor housing conditions for renters?

Students' unions are using Marks Out Of Tenancy to give their students a voice, gain much needed feedback from tenants and use the data to help students make better decisions on where they rent. Often universities run their own landlords lists, which often do not take customer feedback in to account.
Local Authorities are using Marks Out Of Tenancy to compliment their landlord licensing schemes.
Community Action Groups promote Marks Out Of Tenancy to their members as a platform for tenant's voices.
Housing Charities can use Marks Out Of Tenancy to find landlords who accept tenants on housing benefit.
Landlords use Marks Out Of Tenancy to respond to reviews, show that they accept tenants on housing benefit and display which landlord association they belong to.
Landlord Associations can use Marks Out Of Tenancy to show ratings from current members and attract new members.
Landlord licensing organisations can use Marks Out Of Tenancy to catch unregistered or rouge landlords who choose not to sign up.
Check out our Partners page to see who we're working with at the moment.

Why is Marks Out Of Tenancy so important to landlords and landlord associations?

Landlord associations play a vital part in the private rental sector by disseminating information on regulation and legislation to landlords.
Keeping landlords up-to-date ensures they stay on the correct side of the law.
Landlords who are part of a landlord association tend to be better informed and, in general, treat their tenants and properties well.
And yet, landlords tend to have a very bad reputation.
It is unfair to tar all landlords with the same brush, so landlords and landlord associations can use genuine tenant reviews on Marks Out Of Tenancy to polarise themselves apart from rouge landlords.
This polarisation is important if tenants are to begin trusting landlords and landlord associations.

How is Marks Out Of Tenancy funded?

Marks Out Of Tenancy provides two commercial products.
One for landlords, another for letting agents.
When a landlord signs up for an account on Marks Out Of Tenancy we run them through several checks to ensure they are who they say they are, they are using the correct name, and they are connected to the correct properties.
We pass the cost of these checks on to landlords.
You can read more about our landlord product here: https://marksoutoftenancy.com/membership/landlord
Letting agents have access to analytics, benchmarking tools and brand management systems through their product. More information is available here: https://marksoutoftenancy.com/membership/agent

Are reviews on Marks Out Of Tenancy anonymous?

Yes, although users can choose to leave their name in the review if they choose.
Instead of usernames a unique icon is generated which offers protection to the reviewer from revenge evictions and other unwanted attention.