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Lincoln graduate sets up landlord rating website after her awful renting experience

No hot water and a dissertation due? That’s the fifth circle of hell

A University of Lincoln graduate has set up her own landlord rating website after living in poor conditions in her second and third year.

Natasha Hopewell lived without hot water for 10 weeks, an unprotected deposit and random unannounced visits to her student house. Maintenance people would even let themselves into her room while she was sleeping.

Natasha filed a complaint, but was made to sign a non-disclosure agreement after doing so. She quickly realised that this had happened to other students she knew too, so her and her friends set up a platform for the student community to share their experiences with the student accommodation providers.

After her final year at university Natasha and her friends, fellow Lincoln students Dominic O'Connor and Lawrence Thorpe, set up "CribAdvisor" which allows students to leave reviews anonymously and share their experiences. 420 reviews have been posted since the site first went live.

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As well as letting students to leave reviews, the website allows future student housing tenants to look for reviews left by previous residents about accommodation providers and a page allowing students to understand their rights when it comes to student housings and how to enforce them if there are any issues.

Natasha studied Law at Lincoln, so she was particularly aware that students aren't getting a fair deal when it comes to renting. She told The Lincolnite: “When students get to university it will be the first time that they rent, so they don’t know what to expect or what they can do when standards drop.

“It’s not just about bad experiences though, we are keen to highlight the good landlords on our website.”

The website includes reviews for letting agents, landlords and student halls.

The Crib Advisor website says: "CribAdvisor is a project for the entire student renting community to get involved in. Whether you're a student sharing your renting experience with a provider on our site, or an accommodation provider using our feedback to improve the service to your tenants, you can be sure the student population will benefit from your involvement!"