Whose Your Landlord Introduces Transparency, Accountability to Residential Rental Market
By Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — This business is redefining the landlord-tenant relationship.
While studying entrepreneurship, management and information systems at Temple University, Ofo Ezeugwu saw first-hand that the trust between landlords and tenants was broken. He thought there had to be a better system, and in 2015, he founded Whose Your Landlord.
“Housing started coming up a lot as we were talking to students,” he explained to Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.
“There was (sic) so many issues around infestation or harassment between male landlords and female residents,” Ezeugwu said. “Things that, you know, quite honestly, no one should go through.”
As a first-generation American whose mother is from Barbados and father is from Nigeria, he was motivated to make an impact and solve a glaring problem in the residential rental market.
“At first, I thought there had to be some way just to review landlords so you knew what to expect before signing your lease. And honestly, as we built that out, there was (sic) so many other value-adds that having that insight be more prevalent in this industry,” said Ezeugwu.
Whose Your Landlord launched in New York and Pennsylvania where he was attending school at Temple. Today, it is available in 400 cities with 25,000 different landlords and property managers reviewed on the platform.
Tenants share their experiences in an apartment building, which informs others looking to rent. Reviews are vetted so it is appropriately mixed between positive and negative, and topics range from the landlord-tenant relationship to living conditions.
“We see ourselves as being the number one used platform when it comes to resident reviews and analyzing resident insights for home providers,” Ezeugwu said, adding, “We also see ourselves really shifting that culture, that relationship between residents and home providers, forever.”
This year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 winner for social impact told WCBS 880 he has observed rental conditions improving in Charleston, SC, Dallas and Houston, TX.
“I think if we can kind of recreate how we think about our industry as a collective, it’s only going to lead to more positivity.”
He said landlords benefit, too, from data that helps them provide better service and grow their real estate businesses.
“They’re actively asking, ‘We want feedback. We want insights. Please share that with us,'” said Ezeugwu.
Some of the analytics Whose Your Landlord collects and provides property owners for a fee, include complaint trends from appliances being out of service to snow and ice removal.
The company also sells advertisements on its website to major brands who can further serve tenants.
“So if you are Allstate, you know, renters insurance is huge and it’s actually pretty cheap comparatively to other insurances. So, why not protect your apartment and your car if people don’t usually often realize your car gets broken into that covers it, too?” said Ezeugwu of one brand partnership.
“We would create content like that that helps support renters,” he said. “It was always adjacent to their experiences so that it would be more valuable to them as a(n) overall platform.”
See more about Whose Your Landlord and get growth ideas for your business on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above.