Information for Owners & Managers
What is ApartmentRatings.com?
ApartmentRatings.com is the Internet's most comprehensive forum for renters nationwide to share renting experiences and opinions. ApartmentRatings.com provides an organized venue for renters to share their experiences and opinions, bringing the Internet's vast potential for person-to-person information sharing to the market for rental housing.
The reviews posted on this web site are generally protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and ApartmentRatings.com makes them available under protection of The Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) 47 U.S.C. Section 230 and supporting case law.
Are there other web sites like ApartmentRatings.com?
There are several web sites that let consumers share their experiences and opinions on a variety of topics:
- Yahoo! Local (*) (!)
- Verizon Super Pages (*) (!)
- Yelp.com (*) (!)
- RateItAll.com (*) (!)
- Insider Pages (*) (!)
- Citysearch.com (*) (!)
(*) Offer consumer ratings of apartments.
(!) Do not allow managers to respond to reviews.
How do I benefit?
In the past, a common dilemma faced by property managers was that investments in high quality service, construction, and maintenance were often "invisible" to prospective residents. A property's true value was known only to the residents who had already become customers.
Now, with ApartmentRatings.com, prospective residents can learn about all the unique attributes of your property by connecting with your best sales force... your existing and former residents. ApartmentRatings.com lets residents relate their experience both through ratings and in their own words. A resident's endorsement is the best marketing and it's free!
The Manager Center is designed to help managers educate prospective residents about life at their property. The service allows a manager to:
Respond to opinions: Managers can respond directly to residents' opinions with designation as a verified manager (see sample). ApartmentRatings is the only apartment ratings/review service which allows you to post on a web site as a verified apartment manager.
Update community information: Managers may publish helpful information about the community for prospective residents. Update key information about your community such as community name, address, photos, floorplans, rents, move-in specials, and email.
Link to the community's website: A prominent link invites prospective residents to click through to the community's website to learn more about the property or contact the manager.
Purchase leads: Manager Center customers can purchase leads at discounted rates. Please contact us.
Get started: Sign Up
Our Incentive Policy
At ApartmentRatings, we encourage our property managers to seek feedback from their residents via reviews left on our website. What we don't encourage is incentives of any kind offered for providing those reviews. See below for a little guidance from us on this topic.
What is an incentive?
We consider an incentive to be any form of reward offered in return for writing a review. Rent credits, gift cards, entries into any kind of drawing are just a few examples.
Why doesn't ApartmentRatings allow incentives?
Quite simply, offering an incentive to leave a review could affect residents' perspective, causing them to leave reviews that are not 100% in line with their true outlook. Raving or not so flattering, we want feedback that is consistent with residents' experience.
How does ApartmentRatings identify incentives?
Currently, all incentive programs are brought to our attention by our user community. The very individuals being offered incentives to leave reviews are the same ones informing us of the incentive. This further solidifies for us the importance of unfiltered, valid content.
What happens to those identified as using an incentive?
The minute an incentive is reported to us along with some form of proof (letter, flyer, email, etc) we will post a Consumer Alert on the offending community page(s) informing any visitors of the violation. We provide a visual copy of the incentive and ask that visitors use caution when using the reviews in their decision to make that community their home. We attempt to remove reviews that are clearly written as a result of the incentive, but we may not have enough evidence to remove a review solely for that reason. Therefore, we utilize the Consumer Alerts in an effort to allow our visitors to make an informed decision. The standard length we leave our Alerts up is 90 days, but additional factors can reduce and/or extend that.
Resident Satisfaction and Retention Feedback Programs
Our sister company, SatisFacts Research, is the multifamily industry's leading provider of resident feedback, performance monitoring, retention and reputation management services. Providing year-round and annual resident feedback programs, as well as unrivaled educational and consulting support, SatisFacts helps clients improve satisfaction and retention rates, which has clear bottom line implications due to the high cost of turnover and being able to achieve higher renewal rent increases.
Resident Surveys: The starting point for managing one's online reputation is managing the resident experience. Insite©, a 365 day/year, 24/7 survey program, gathers resident feedback at critical events such as move-in, after service requests are completed, before lease expiration as well as after prospective residents visit a community. Learn what your residents have to say in real-time.
Education and Consulting: Our dynamic educational programs are structured to help you get the most out of your resident feedback program. The education programs will help you understand and take the necessary actions to improve resident satisfaction based on actual feedback.
ApartmentRatings Verified Resident Program™: SatisFacts and ApartmentRatings.com offer the ability to help clients manage their online reputation. The ApartmentRatings Verified Resident Program™ is a simple addition to existing surveys that are already going out to residents; this allows you to dramatically increase the number of reviews for a specific community. Increasing the number of reviews by verified residents will help paint a better overall picture of the community and helps increase the flow of highly interested and motivated prospective residents…and rentals!
How is an apartment's "Recommended by" percentage calculated?
Based on feedback from our users, we have changed the calculation of apartments "% Recommended" score to weight more-recent reviews more heavily.
Reviews aged between 0 and 4 years are weighted based on the age of the review. For example, a review received today is weighted approximately 4 times more than a review that is 4 years old. Reviews that are 4+ years or older receive no weight, unless they are the only reviews available for a property, in which case they count equally.
We believe this change neither systematically helps nor harms scores, but merely gives greater weight to newer reviews. Both users and apartment managers requested this change to ensure that reviews posted 4+ years ago (and likely posted regarding conditions that have since changed at the property), not unduly influence the "% Recommended" scores of apartments.
To remain unbiased, ApartmentRatings.com does not accept paid reviews or alter reviews for apartment complex owners or managers. Reviews posted on ApartmentRatings.com represent the opinions of individual reviewers and DO NOT in any way represent the views of ApartmentRatings.com, its employees, partners, or affiliates.
Both the statute (CDA's Section 230 provisions) and case law are very strong in the exemptions granted to the operators of a computer service from the duties and liabilities of a traditional publisher. Every direct challenge brought against an online service provider regarding speech contributed by a third-party has been defeated both at trial and in appellate court.
- Zeran v. America Online. U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of defendant, AOL, that defendant was NOT responsible for defamatory statements made via its service by a third party per Section 230 of the CDA. Subsequent appeal was denied by US Supreme Court.
- Ben Ezra, Weinstein, and Co., Inc. v. America Online Inc. The US District Court in New Mexico held that AOL "clearly qualifies" for Internet service provider immunity under Section 230 of the CDA. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld this finding.
- Curzon Brown v. San Francisco Community College District Plaintiff charged that TeacherReview.com was responsible for defamatory comments made on its web site about a professor at San Francisco City College. In settlement, plaintiff abandoned claim and paid $10,000 to TeacherReview.com for legal fees.