WKYC in Cleveland reports on a new service for landlords which allows them to snitch on bad tenants. The site is called DoNotRentTo and the service also allows prospective landlords to find bad apples before renting to them. Landlords can add people to the list for free, but searching the list for the innocent renter will run you $30 bucks a year.
According to WKYC, tenants who have been badmouthed unjustly can contact the company to dispute the claim. The problem with this logic is that most tenants will not know they are in the database until they have already lost out on an apartment, that is, unless they fork over the money for a subscription.
I am all for warning potential landlords about crappy renters, you can't rent without running into at least one bad tenant during the course of your business, so any tool is helpful. Unfortunately this database won't keep you from renting to the frat boys from hell, who are out on their own for the first time. Despite this downside the service looks to provide useful background information so that landlords can make an informed decision. The available information includes, anecdotes, damages, drug use, sexual offenders, and more.
Besides the possibility of being listed by an angry landlord for no reason another issue really bothers me about this site. The tenant complaint form asks for part of the drivers license number, last four of the SSN, full name and address. All of which is collected on what appears to be an unsecured page. Granted this information is incomplete, but it does provide a good start to anyone who wants to use social engineering to con more information, maybe your birthday or your full SSN out of a past utility provider or other entity tied to that address.
Personally, I'd rather see renters who trash apartments living in the trash than perpetuating the damage on an unsuspecting landlord, but DoNotRentTo needs to add some more safeguards for security and wrongful accusations.
What do you think about this service? Sound off below.
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