Looking for a place to live in San Luis Obispo can be hard, but Cal Poly students Kiyana Tabrizi and Haley Perkins created a new website to help make house-hunting a little less difficult — Sharptenant.com.
The website is a place where students can search property and landlord ratings throughout San Luis Obispo.
Both Tabrizi, a political science senior, and Perkins, a psychology senior, decided to create the website for their senior project after a “horrendous” experience last year.
“I would say we came up with the idea about a year ago,” Perkins said. “We had a horrific landlord situation and realized that if we had some basic information beforehand, we would have been much better off.”
The duo was faced with a rat infestation in their house, which was only the beginning of their problems. They said their landlord was antagonizing and verbally abusive when the two went looking for a way to solve the rat problem, and eventually ended their lease.
“If we had this resource back when we were about to sign our lease (last year) and we were able to see a profile of this landlord, maybe we would have decided to live elsewhere,” Perkins said.
The goal of the website is to inform and empower students so that they understand the power they hold and can use it, Perkins said.
“This website was made to inform students of landlord/tenant laws as well as to warn students about potential landlords or properties,” Tabrizi said.
Students who visit the website have access to a list of landlords and properties, their ratings and a search function where students can simply enter in the name of a potential landlord or property to see how it has been rated in the past.
Amanda Nespor, a kinesiology junior, said Sharptenant.com is a great way to help out students looking for housing.
“It will allow (tenants) to know what to expect,” Nespor said. “Students will know which landlords are strict or not and whether or not the landlord is reliable, which is pretty important.”
But both creators stressed the importance of student input. The website will only be meaningful if students participate, Tabrizi said.
“It’s a resource for students and it can only be utilized if students actively use it,” Perkins said.
Tabrizi compared it to a popular website amongst Cal Poly students — Polyratings.com. Similar to Sharptenant.com, the website simply does not work without student input. If a student cannot see other students’ terrible (or not so terrible) experiences, they could end up, unknowingly, in the same boat.
“The landlord that we had last year also owned at least 20 other properties in the area so we felt like we wanted to give students a resource that is lacking in the community,” Tabrizi said.
Ratings are not the only resource available on the website. There is also a “Know Your Rights” tab where future tenants can sort through a variety of information on topics ranging from home inspections before renting to managing repairs.
“There’s just so many basic rights that many students don’t even know they have,” Perkins said. “For example, under California law it is up to the landlords to provide heating.”
Nespor said as a tenant, there are many things she does not know about her rights. The creators of the website said Nespor is not alone and that there are many students out there who could benefit from the information on the website.
“I’m sure there are a ton of things that people should know, but don’t about their rights,” Nespor said. “I guess this gives people a better idea of what they’re entitled to (as tenants).”
Sharptenant.com was launched a month ago and already has information on thousands of landlords and properties in its database, according to the website.
“We want to encourage more people to go on and rate,” Tabrizi said. “Give good landlords more business and warn students to stay away from the bad ones.”