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How does your rating scale work?
Our star rating scale asks tenants to rate their rental experience on a 5 star scale according to four factors: Location, Interior Condition, Responsiveness of Landlord, Value for Money. These four scores are averaged and used as the overall score for that particular review. When more than 1 tenant reviews a property, these overall scores are averaged. One important feature of our review system is that, while we don’t give landlords the opportunity to rate tenants, we do give landlords credit for engaging in the review process. So if they take the time to respond to a review we increase the overall score by 1 point. If landlords have multiple properties, and they take the trouble to link them on the system, we will average the “Responsiveness of landlord” rating across their whole portfolio, to give a more representative view of how they are perceived by tenants. The individual property ratings for location, interior and value for money cannot be changed.
How do I know the reviews are genuine?
We ask tenants to validate their email address before posting their review. If the authenticity of the review is disputed by the landlord and he or she is able to prove that the review was not a tenant at the time stated, we will either remove the review or ask for further proof of the tenancy. For landlords, in addition to email validation, we also perform an identity check with the land registry. This is to stop landlords claiming properties that don’t belong to them and to stop estate agents leaving reviews on behalf of landlords. Lettings agents and estate agents are not allowed to respond on behalf of landlords. The only way to leave a response as a landlord, is to be the landlord.
My landlords has offered me money to leave a positive review, is that OK?
Landlords are not allowed to pay for reviews. If however, the Treehaus review system results in better treatment of tenants, for example by landlords return deposits in full, improving the standard of the accommodation or offering flexibility beyond the tenancy agreement, then we have done our job and tenants are welcome to leave a more positive review.
I have lived in several rented properties, can I leave a review for all of them?
Yes, tenants can leave reviews for all the properties they have lived in, as long as the month and year of the tenancy end can be provided.
My housemate has left a review, can I leave one too?
Yes, each tenant is allowed and encouraged to leave a review for their rental properties. Once you’ve left a review, it is easy for you to invite your other housemates to leave a review. The more reviews we have the more useful the information is to other prospective tenants.
Can lettings agents and managing agents claim properties and respond to reviews?
No – only landlords can claim properties and respond to reviews and post on the site. Any responses from lettings or estate agents will be removed.
Who can leave a review if the property is owned by a company?
If the property owned by a company, the directors of the company can post a response. This will be checked against Companies House and further proof of ownership may be required. Managing agents or lettings agents may not claim or respond to reviews.
What you can say
We encourage tenants and landlords to post honest and unbiased reviews and comments. Tenant reviewers should focus on what is going to be most helpful to other tenants and in particular on things that wouldn’t be obvious on a viewing. This includes things like the way the landlord maintains the property, the way the landlord communicates during tenancy, whether the landlord was quick and fair in returning the deposit. It might also include things like how well the heating, hot water and ventilation works, or useful information on the neighbourhood and local environment.
Our mission is to give tenants a voice and we expect that there will be differences of opinion. That is not an issue as long as comments remain respectful and objective.
What you can’t say
As you would expect, contributors to the site must not post anything obscene, defamatory, discriminatory, hateful or harmful. Reviews and comments are public, so you should avoid publishing any personal information about yourself or others. This includes information like full names, phone numbers, personal address, email addresses or anything that could be used to identify, contact or track someone.
You can’t promote or advertise anything or post links, email address or phone numbers.
And it is worth noting that we won’t get involved in disputes.
I can’t find my rental property
There are approximately 5 million privately rented properties in the UK, and we think we have got nearly all of them. We have also managed to identify the majority of rentals that are social housing. However it is possible that we don’t have records on some rental properties, particularly for properties that have had very long tenancies, where the properties have been let informally (e.g. between friends) or where a tenant shares a property with the owner of the property. If you have spotted a missing rental property please let us know.
The rental price on my property isn’t correct
We use our own proprietary algorithm to estimate rental price for each property based on current market conditions as well as the size and location of the property. This is normally very accurate, but it may over-estimate the rental price where landlords have not increased the annual rent in line with marketing increases. This is a good thing of course for tenants, and is not a reason for landlords to increase rent – landlords may wish to retain good tenants at a lower market rate to avoid void periods and lettings agent fees. If you spot a major error in the pricing though, please let us know.
The photo on my property is of the wrong property
Occasionally photos may get attributed to an incorrect property, particular in blocks of flats or where the exact property location is difficult to determine. Please let us know if this has happened.
The tenant has posted an unfair review
Any assertions or facts about the property should be materially accurate, however tenants are entitled to post their opinion on the Treehaus website and sometimes the truth hurts for landlords. We have guidelines on what can’t and can’t be said, and we will block or remove any reviews that are abusive. If you believe a review has violated our guidelines, please let us know here. Please note we will only remove tenant reviews where we have reason to believe they were not posted by bona fide tenants or there has been a breach of our guidelines. Our mission is to give tenants a voice, and we will not remove reviews simply because landlords don’t like what has been written.
For landlords, the best way to deal with a negative review is to post a fair response, and ask other tenants for that property to leave a review. If they have had a more positive experience this will increase the rating on average.
The person posting the review wasn’t a tenant
This is something we take seriously.
In our experience, negative tenant reviews are highly likely to be genuine. However, if you are a landlord and you believe that a review has been posted by someone who was not a tenant and you can supply us with evidence to this effect (for example a signed tenancy agreement for this period), then we will investigate and you can do this on our contact page.
What is more common, is for landlords or lettings agents to attempt to post positive reviews as if they were tenants to try to boost their scores. We track this with various technology driven processes as well as manual checking of suspicious activity. If you are a tenant and you do not recognise the name of someone who has reviewed a property whilst you were living there, please let us know.
The landlord’s response is not fair
Landlords are required to abide by our review guidelines, and we expect comments to be factual, objective and unbiased. We do not tolerate obscene, defamatory, discriminatory, hateful or harmful language.
However, it is important to give landlords the right to reply. Indeed we hope that by making landlords more accountable to tenants and giving them the opportunity to rectify issues with the property or tenancy, standards in rental properties will be driven up which is central to our mission.
If you think a landlord has breached our guidelines above, please let us know.
I am an estate agent / letting agent, can I leave a respond to a review on behalf of the landlord?
No – only landlords can respond to reviews. Estate agents and lettings agents are strictly prohibited from responding to tenant reviews, and any responses from estate agents and lettings agents will be removed.
I am an estate agent and you are using one of my photos on the website, which I think is a breach of copyright
Use of these photographs is permitted on the basis of fair use as described in s.30 (1ZA) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Copyright in a work is not infringed by the use of a quotation from the work (whether for criticism or review or otherwise) provided that the work has been made available to the public, the use of the quotation is fair dealing with the work, the extent of the quotation is no more than is required by the specific purpose for which it is used, and the quotation is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement which we provide by attributing the images to the copyright owner where we have been able to establish this.
I do not want the property on your website
Identification of the rental properties has been achieved using publicly available data in combination with our own proprietary analysis, and as such we there are no applicable legal grounds to request removal of specific properties on our site. For the avoidance of doubt, we will not remove properties at the request of landlords, lettings agents, estate agents or managing agents.