In 2007, a couple of Pitt students created a landlord/tenant rating site called landorslum.com.
The “about us” link describes the site as a way for people who rent apartments to combat some of the problems they face.
“Being students at the University of Pittsburgh led us to an appreciation of the struggles that students and others can have with landlords and rental agencies. With the demand for housing so high, landlords in many areas have the luxury of charging high prices and offering little maintenance. Until now, there haven’t been many options to combat such behavior.
“That is why we created this website -- to finally give renters a voice and a means to avoid the proverbial “slumlord,” or to give credit to landlords who truly do care about their tenants."
It is signed Adam Gorzelsky and Katie Wilson.
I have been trying to reach them or whoever runs the site to no avail so far.
Beside the names on the list of landlords, there is one of each of three kinds of icons — a happy yellow face with a waving hand for great, a sort-of-smiling orange face for good and a blue face that breaks out into tears for slumlord. Some landlords were variously rated as good and bad by different people.
Most of the descriptions make me realize how lucky I was as a renter for 20 years in six different cities. I had one sort of bad landlord, who did not return a security deposit, two or three mediocre ones and 10 who were good or great. One of my landlords in Tulsa was from Ireland and would bring us Jameson's, oatmeal and ham for holidays -- my hand to God.
When I read comments about landlords that had the happy yellow faces beside their names, I saw a pattern of description that made me a little suspicious. Some seemed too pat, as if landlords themselves were writing the reviews.
Besides ratings and descriptions on this site, you can read discussions. How old these exchanges are is hard to know. Reading one rant in ALL CAPS with lots of LOL and abuse of the English language thrown in, I had a flashback to 7th grade when I witnessed a fight between two trashhead girls who could have killed each other and made the world a better place immediately.
Until I can talk to the site tenders, it's probably wise to vicariously enjoy this site with a shaker of salt.