I have been a landlord for +/- 7 years and have encountered a number of tenants that have passed a full background check, and even reference checks that turned out to be some of my worst tenants. Most recently I had the DEA break in the door of one tenant, and as best I can tell she had other people she knew act as previous employers and landlords. I have other friends that have rental properties in my area and we have joked about having our list for reference. After this latest experience, I feel like there is some validity to the idea!
How it works
Landlords and Tenants create user accounts and basic profiles for themselves. The entire rating system would be based on 2-5 simple questions/factors like "Would you rent to this person again?" or "This person left the space damage free and clean." Tenants rate Landlords in a similar fashion with questions/factors like "I would rent from this landlord/property manager again." and "Property Manager was responsive to items needing repair.
Challenges I ran into
Adoption is the biggest challenge for this project. I believe that by making a simple, solid, and user friendly experience for all parties I can drive adoption by networking with real estate brokers in target markets who would serve as networkers to connect landlords and drive the initial user base from that side. As tenants hear about the system, I expect they will I'm sure there is some legal impact with this concept, but the star ratings would be based on simple questions that would be asked during a reference check anyway and should be viewed no differently than an archive of reference checks.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I feel like this is a very useful idea and is a way to bring the best of the new sharing community to a traditional market that is likely to remain.
What I learned
There is always a way to bring software to a situation to solve a real problem!
What's next for GoWebStar.com
Final development and launch.