Welcome to the GAPSA Landlord Survey

In coordination with the Undergraduate Assembly, and the Graduate Associations at Drexel University and the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, GAPSA is now collecting survey data from renters in the Philadelphia area. Only with your help are we able to publish statistically significant results on landlord ratings, which will help incoming and current students make better-informed decisions about housing. Please note that the survey is a work in progress and continually improving each semester.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Landlord Survey?
Who should take the Landlord Survey?
Is the survey response kept confidential?
How are the results analyzed?
Trouble with survey submission?

What is the Landlord Survey?

The Landlord Survey seeks to inform university students and the community at large about the property owners and managers in the University City, Center City and greater Philadelphia area by soliciting tenant feedback and making the results available to the public. The survey is a brief compilation of questions regarding landlord/tenant relationship, repair responsiveness, and condition of rented properties. It only takes five minutes to complete and provides space for comments in addition to quantitative ratings.

The history of the Landlord Survey began with the Penn Consumers Board more than eighteen years ago. More information about the history is available here. Some of the questions in this year’s survey were rephrased and new questions added in order to elicit more specific responses from students.

Who should take the Landlord Survey?

We welcome feedback from all University of Pennsylvania students, staff, faculty and affiliates, as well as students of Drexel University, University of the Sciences, Temple University, and other area universities. A valid e-mail address ending in “.edu” is required to complete the survey. At the end of the survey, you will be asked to simply verify the e-mail address you provide by clicking on a link we will automatically send to you.

Is the survey response kept confidential?

While the numerical evaluations of the survey are collected and analyzed with the intention of publishing average information for each landlord, be assured that your e-mail address will not be published or associated in any way with the content of your numerical survey or comments.

A street address is also necessary for the purposes of analyzing the data. This individual address will also not be associated with your provided e-mail address, however, in cases where there are only one or two units for a street address, anonymity may be slightly diminished. Where the address is a large building (e.g. 1500 Locust) we are likely to receive a number of surveys. In order to publish results for a particular landlord, we require a statistically valid number of survey responses (i.e., a single survey at a single address for a small landlord may not be sufficient for analysis). Your feedback is extremely valuable. Please try to be as objective as possible. Stick to facts. Comment openly and honestly in order to communicate truthful information to prospective tenants, but focus your comments on specific behavior rather than general impressions, keeping in mind that we would like to publish comments. Inappropriate comments may be edited and/or excluded.

If you are seriously concerned about the publication of your comments, please check “No” to the question “Do you want your comments to be published?” and your comments will not be published online.

How are the results analyzed?

Tenants are asked to rate landlords on a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, in three general categories:

  • Landlord-Tenant Relationship – 9 questions
  • Apartment/House Quality or Condition – 20 questions
  • Landlord’s Responsiveness to Repairs – 3 optional questions

Published results aggregate scores by grouping all the questions in an “Overall” category for the landlord / building in addition to the landlord, apartment, and repairs category scores. The scores consist of three pieces: a star RATING, the raw average (RAW), and the survey-wide average for all companies (ALL). You’ll see these three scores when looking at a detailed report of a landlord or building, while you’ll see just the star RATING and the landlord / building RAW average in the results list that links to each detailed report.

The star rating reflects a comparison to ALL surveys for the current date period. For example, a landlord may score a RAW average of 4.54 but that will not necessarily yield an excellent 5 star RATING. The star RATING reflects the comparison of the RAW average to the average of ALL surveys using some fraction of the standard deviation. For example, if the ALL surveys average is 3.5662, with st. dev. 1.4082, you actually need a RAW average of ~4.63 or higher for a 5 stars RATING. Note that you will see the ALL survey average for each category and question on the detailed report pages after the RATING and RAW average. The results list shows the star RATING and the RAW average for each landlord / building, while the ALL surveys average is listed on top of the page with the standard deviation.

Basically, you should interpret the star RATING as Poor, Fair, Average, Good or Excellent based on 1 to 5 stars. For example if the rating is 4 stars – Good – then the landlord has a good score compared to others surveyed for that question, category, or overall. With the comparison as the primary rating, you should find a landlord that excels in categories you care about (read the questions in the detailed reports) while eliminating those who score poorly.

Trouble with survey submission?

The survey software is regularly updated and improved. If you encounter an error, please follow any instructions on the screen. If you are unsure if your survey was submitted, check your email! Your survey will only be counted once you click the verification link automatically sent to you upon successful submission – until then you’re free to fill out another survey if you think something went wrong.

For best results, use the form’s links and buttons and *not* your browser’s back button. Also update your browser to the most current version available.

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Nearly Forty Years of Consumer Advocacy!

The Landlord Survey began with the efforts of a student group called the Penn Consumers Board, founded in 1970. The group consisted of students working under the guidance of some University staff and a lawyer to address numerous aspects of consumer advocacy. The PCB published a printed landlord survey every other year into the 1990s. More information about the function and staff of the Penn Consumers board can be found in the archives of the Daily Pennsylvanian (see “Student Agency Doles Out Free Legal Advice,” Sept. 20, 1990).

Throughout the 1990s, due to staffing problems, the PCB was active in some years but not others, though they continued to conduct and produce the landlord survey approximately every two years (see “Resources: Housing,” Feb. 4, 1994). In cooperation with the Undergraduate Assembly and West Philadelphia Committee, the PCB was reincorporated as an independent organization in the 1999-2000 academic year. Their hope was to increase the education of Penn students about their outlying community and the many consumer issues facing them.

The 1999-2000 survey was successful in expanding the populations surveyed; undergraduate and graduate students were polled and the survey rated a total of 16 landlords in addition to providing landlord information in a “profile.” In 2000-2001, the PCB received over 900 responses to the tenant/landlord survey which expanded the number of landlords rated to 64. In 2001-2002, under the guidance of co-directors Gabrielle Berlinger and Kirstin Emershaw (both SAS ’03), a breakthrough arrived: the launch of PCB’s website with which they would publish the survey on-line.

Since then, the survey has been conducted on-line to solicit the maximum number of responses. It is now hosted on the web by the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, in conjunction with the Undergraduate Assembly. Responses are welcomed from students of other universities in addition to Penn. GAPSA will make the results of the 2008-2009 Landlord Survey available in spring of 2009.

The Landlord Survey has a long history intertwined with a tradition of consumer advocacy at Penn, and it continues to serve the needs of the community by helping tenants and prospective tenants make better-informed decisions about housing.

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Disclaimer

The Landlord Survey response data collected and presented through RENTCi.com does not reflect the opinions, position or endorsement of RENTCi.com, the University of Pennsylvania Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) or the University of Pennsylvania. The responses and opinions presented are solely those of the survey respondents. RENTCi.com, GAPSA and the University assume no responsibility for users’ interpretation or reaction to the data.

The published survey results do not in any way constitute a warranty or representation by RENTCi.com, the University of Pennsylvania GAPSA or the University of Pennsylvania as to the quality, safety, or other features of a property or landlord. Students are reminded to check all available sources of information about landlords and properties prior to leasing (see, http://www.upenn.edu/offcampusservices).

Students are also reminded that dissatisfied tenants or very happy ones seem to be more likely to complete surveys. Furthermore, students should be aware that the landlord-tenant relationship requires both tenants and landlords to be responsible and responsive and that in some cases the renters themselves may not have exercised responsible behavior.

Reviews must present an accurate account of the individual’s rental experience in a particular unit/building and/or from a particular landlord. Please do not provide misleading information and reviews. Focus on facts and do not make use of foul language or insulting remarks. Reviews which appear to be malicious or vindictive will not be approved for publication. RENTCi.com and GAPSA reserve the right to edit comments which contain inappropriate language. The decision to edit or refuse to approve a comment for publication is at the discretion of RENTCi.com and GAPSA.

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