Q: Why shouldn’t our HA just build our platform like OurHousing?
A: Apart from the wasted efforts, there are two good reasons. Firstly, tenants may feel awkward about sharing their honest experiences in a space which is moderated by their landlord. Secondly, tenant participation becomes isolated. The collective benefit of being able to collect, compare and share experiences across the nation is lost.
Q: We use Facebook for tenant engagement, it’s that sufficient?
A: Not everybody uses Facebook. Facebook is a closed and siloed system that forces tenants to login whereas OurHousing is an open, national system. OH is an independent, neutrally owned space whereas Facebook is full of ads and controlled centrally. OH uses careful moderation of stories and each story is structured and tracked – you even get alerts to new content.
Q: Why don’t you cater for private landlords?
A: At the moment there’s no mechanism for structured redress. We want tenants to feel they are being listened-to. We’re watching the space closely as a change in legislation might help us open up in this domain.
Q: Why do you moderate stories?
A: We have to be careful about libel and ensure there is no vexatious or abusive content. It wouldn’t be constructive any other way and it’s not fair if people are personally persecuted online. You could, however, devolve moderation to a tenant panel.
Q: Where can I find similar websites?
A: For patients, there is patientopinion.org. For hotels, there is www.tripadvisor.com. For police, there is http://www.rateyourlocalpolice.co.uk/