Thursday, August 31, 2006

How much information can a landlord share?

I recently found this website,, which is a site where "tenants can share horror stories about lousy landlords they've had". Viewers email in their horror stories, which are then printed (including the Landlord's name) on the front page. This is in hopes that would-be tenants can use the site as a resource to avoid renting from "bad landlords".

According to the court officer in my town, the tenants that I just threw out have been evicted two or three times already, usually leaving the apartment heavily damaged. I know (from a different tenant) that they signed a new lease elsewhere a few days before moving out of my unit. I don't know where that landlord is, but surely they'd like to know what I've just been through. Ideally, they would have had a similar website to look through before signing their lease.

In actuality, there are ways to look up if a potential tenant has been evicted, since evictions are part of the public record. But what about bad tenants that aren't evicted but cause problems while living there or leave the place a disaster when they leave? These types of problems wouldn't be recorded anywhere, though they should be shared.

My questions to you are:

  1. Is this legal?

  2. Can landlords do the same?

  3. If so, is there something like this already?

Oh, and if you're a landlord and your name is on the site, I'd love to hear from you.

1 comment:

Lord of the Land said...

I hadn't seen that website before, but I'll definately be checking it out now.

As for your questions:
1) Yes, this is perfectly legal. As long as they stick to facts, no one can get in trouble for defamation.

2) Yes. And while I'm not yet aware of a website for landlords (the architecture would be interesting...) I strongly urge all landlord to require contact info for prior landlords on their tenant applications. I always do and I always call. For the most part landlords and property managers tend to be very helpful towards each other.

3) Not that I'm aware of.