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Lincoln Uni law grad launches ‘CribAdvisor’ website to help students avoid rental ‘horror stories’

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Puts BPTC plans on hold

An entrepreneurial law graduate has set out to tackle rogue landlords through the launch of a new website that allows students to share their letting “horror stories”.

Natasha Hopewell — who graduated from the University of Lincoln last month — was moved to create the website after her own less than positive letting experiences during her second and third year.

Hopewell, 23, claims she lived without hot water for ten weeks, landlords would make unscheduled visits to her student digs and maintenance men would access her room while she was sleeping. The law grad was even asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement after becoming involved in a legal dispute with her former letting agent, which eventually settled out of court.

But now she says she is fighting back with CribAdvisor, a platform which allows students to leave anonymous reviews and share their rental experiences — both good and bad.

Speaking to Legal Cheek, Hopewell explains she’s been working on the site for the past year with her former housemate and computer science grad, Lawrence Thorpe, and Dominic O’Connor, a graphic designer and graduate from De Montfort University.

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“When we spoke to other student renters in Lincoln, we quickly realised that this was an experience shared by the majority, and people had similar horror stories about their provider, or an even worse one,” Hopewell tells us. “When we started questioning why there wasn’t a platform for students to warn each other to stay away from the worst student accommodation providers, we immediately got to work.”

Natasha Hopewell

The website, which has attracted over 430 reviews since it went live in July, focuses on the student letting market in Lincoln, however Hopewell hopes to expand into other UK cities in the “very near future”.

So does this mean a career in law is off the cards? “It was my plan to do my BPTC [Bar Professional Training Course] and become a barrister — the dream is to specialise in commercial trusts. But I had to turn down my BPTC offers starting this September so that I can dedicate this year, and potentially a few more, to growing CribAdvisor,” Hopewell explains.

She continues: “I plan to work on the site for as long as I can, then when it is in a position where I’m confident I can hand it over to someone better equipped as a project manager than I am… I will go and do either a masters in law, or go straight to my BPTC and go into practice.”

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22 Comments

JDP

So what if “maintenance man” is my favourite cosplay, ok?

Loopi

Hmm…

If the reviews are anonymous surely the property in question won’t be named?

The landlord would be able to work out the poster from the review, surely?

Libel lawyers at the ready…

Rosie Morten

Go for it. A friend had a landlady who repeatedly ‘dropped by’ without warning and screeched at her because, among many things, her desk was untidy and she hadn’t capped her toothpaste.

Rosie’ friend’s friend

I think that was her mum

Anonymous

More demand for reviews on tenants than on landlords I bet. And better business model that you can charge for, when landlords would rather pay a review fee of a tenant history that’s cheaper than getting rent arrears or your property trashed, alongside courts costs.

Greenberg Glusker

Unlikely, it concentrates on “student letting market in Lincoln” – students would leave Lincoln after a couple of years, almost no point in checking reviews on them.

Legal Officer with a 2.ii

University of Lincoln and then on to pupillage in a commercial chancery chambers.

Okay then…

Former Bazza

@Legal Officer I was thinking the same thing. The lie that still continues by BPTC providers is amazing. Someone should tell her..

Angry

Someone should tell you to fuck off my shouldn’t a young confident woman follow her dreams or are you afraid she’s smarter than you huh?

Legal Officer with a 2.ii

None of us are stopping her ‘dreams’.

It’s the barristers on chancery pupillage committees that haven’t gone to the University of Lincoln who may stop her.

Angry

Whatever youre all just the same whats wrong with a young confident woman (yes woman sorry) trying to break the glass ceiling?? Pls just be supportive or shut up

Legal Officer with a 2.ii

Again, we don’t make the decisions on any ‘glass ceilings’.

Why not publicly ask any female chancery barrister on Twitter what they think of the University of Lincoln?

If you don’t receive a reply, that tells you all you need to know.

Angry

But what are you doing to help? Nothing? Thought so

Phil

Goodbye first-rate education.

Hello, the University of Lincoln!

Anonymous

Predictable

Not a Lincoln Grad

Goodbye originality and wit.

Hello, Phil!

:)

The law grad was even asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement after becoming involved in a legal dispute with her former letting agent, which eventually settled out of court.

Why do law students do this? Makes me cringe every time I see it. Couple of years in a second rate university and ready to sue the world.

:)

I don’t disagree, the fact that it wasn’t the baby in the harness, but the ‘small shoulder bag’ that was the issue. She was so outraged that she tweeted them and went to the local rag when they ignored her tweet.

Anon

But of course a cut-price Mulberry handbag is worth the drama. Can a self-respecting barrister be seen out in anything less?

Screw Syria.

Deed U No

Pls stop projecting your negativity every time.

Poopooface

Why??????????

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