The short answer to this is, “No.”
While it may seem like a natural thing for TNH to include among its other business reviews, there are too many issues with such reviews to make it feasible.
1) Verifying Landlord Identity. Two things would be reviewed in cases like this: a physical space and a landlord. While we may be able to find and verify a physical space, verifying the identity of the landlord would be beyond our means. We would need photo identification and paperwork establishing their relationship to a given property. Any landlord who may be receiving a negative review would make this difficult to the point of impossible.
Also, property changes hands. Any system that is going to be serious about reviewing landlords would need to take this into account. If a house has been sold, the new owners should not be under the burden (or advantage) of the previous owners. Less than scrupulous owners would use this necessity to their advantage and claim new ownership any time a negative review threatened their likelihood of getting tenants. Family members or neighbors would provide easy and plausible stand-ins should such a charade be desired. It would be almost impossible to catch.
2) Landlord Participation. Were this implemented, landlords would get the opportunity that all business listed on TNH get: they would be able to publicly reply to reviews and give their interpretation of how things played out. In such a case, they would clearly know the identity of any site user reviewing them, and as such, review replies would likely end up revealing very personal details about tenants and their time in the residence. To say that this is likely to get ugly is an understatement. Is this really a scenario that TNH members want to invite upon themselves?
3) An Expat Residence Directory? Reviewing landlords and residences would result in a large directory of places that foreigners have stayed and are likely to be staying again. Do we really think it is a good idea to publish the web’s most comprehensive list of where foreigners live in Vietnam, down to the individual addresses? While Vietnam is a relatively safe place, property crime is a significant issue many of us have had to deal with. As foreigners in a developing country, we are often presumed to be owners of significant wealth and objects of value. We can become the targets of thieves. A list like this could quite easily facilitate such targeting. Even worse, someone who moved into a reviewed property without knowing of its listing on TNH would be taking that risk wholly involuntarily.
Additionally, you can all but write it in stone that the Vietnamese police are going to object to this list. Many ward-level police already consider it a great inconvenience to have a foreigner living in their area. It means a greater likelihood of property (or even violent) crime that they will have to be on the look out to prevent or will have to deal with after the fact. Most of this uptick in crime comes at the local level, where would-be criminals who can visually identify their targets come into play. Publish a list for the whole country? You won’t be making many police friends with that.
Because of these factors, we will not be implementing landlord reviews any time soon (if ever). The only reviews of residences that you’ll see on TNH come in two forms:
- Real Estate Agents. If you found your residence through an agent, they should be prepared to help you liaise with the landlord when any issues arise. While they are clearly not responsible for every possible problem that may arise with a landlord, one should find them helping to fix what is reasonably within their power to help with. In those cases, you’ll find that tenant review agents both positively and negatively for their efforts.
- Branded Properties. Some apartment buildings or property management companies are established brands listed on our site. As companies independent of any individual landlord and already highly visible as foreigner-centric residences (with the necessary security), they overcome many of the issues outlined above.