Ofo Ezeugwu knows all too well what renters — especially Black renters — are up against when they go on the hunt for an apartment. That’s why he says that a platform like the WhoseYourLandlord app was all too important.
“The problem is, when it comes to renting, there’s no real transparency,” he told AfroTech. “And that’s on both ends. Landlords don’t know what to do when it comes to preventing a high turnover rate. They don’t know the steps they need to take to correct what’s wrong with their property. And renters, for their part, lack the means and tools necessary to ensure a fair and quality living experience.”
Although designed for the renter, WhoseYourLandlord addresses both of those salient issues. Regardless of whether the property in question is a private home, a corporate-owned apartment building, or a city development, the app serves as a “Yelp of home rentals.” Here, landlords can read reviews from tenants — and, hopefully, use that feedback to improve the renter’s experience in the future — and reduce their rental turnover rate.
But, Ezeugwu says, there’s another advantage that the app offers for renters: advocacy.
“We especially learned during this past year, thanks to COVID, that there are far too many Black renters that can find themselves without a home thanks to the pandemic,” he said. “It’s not even just regular Black apartment residents — we’re also talking about Black renters who operate their small businesses outside of their homes. Think about the economic impact of something that massive — all these people, displaced; all these landlords, without renters — that we really didn’t have a choice in the matter but to help. But even if we did have a choice, we’d help anyway.”
Renters who use the WhoseYourLandlord app will also get quality listings in their area.
And using the app is pretty easy:
- Renter visits www.whoseyourlandlord.com
- Renter posts a review of their current (or previous) home provider, or:
- Renter searches for homes in their desired area and filters by parameters of choice
- Renters interested in inquiring about the available listing can provide their credit report, background history, and eviction history directly to the landlord posting the listing
- Throughout their stay, renters can read and engage with WYL featured content to assist through different living situations.
The app is also looking to expand its reach in the near future.
“The bottom line is, we’re here to help,” Ezeugwu said. “Sure, we all have our nightmare landlord story — the deadbeat landlord, the slumlord, the crazy racist, whatever — but at the end of the day, there are far more great landlords that just want their property taken care of than there are nightmare landlords. And we’re all in this together — and we’re all gonna look out for each other.”
Editorial note: Portions of this interview have been edited and condensed for clarity.