Need help finding a good landlord or a heads-up on the bad? Want to know specific strengths and weaknesses of a landlord? Or what to expect regarding repairs, parking, privacy, respect and security deposit return?

The good news is that Associated Students Legal Resource Center now offers you a working database of UCSB students’ anonymous opinions and detailed ratings of the performance of named landlords for specific addresses in I.V., Goleta and Santa Barbara. Go to and click on “New: Landlord/Management Company Evaluation Form,” then click on “Select a Landlord/Management Company from the list below,” then click “Submit Query.” Only 11 landlords at a time appear on the list, but scroll up and down to find another 29 landlords and how UCSB students have rated them.

The bad news is that UCSB students have not yet entered enough evaluations to make the database anything more than a promise of what could be. Only 54 students have entered evaluations of 40 landlords as of Feb. 24, and many widely used landlords have not yet been evaluated. The database now is only a fraction of what it will be if students take advantage of this unique opportunity to help themselves and their neighbors.

If only 10 percent of undergrads and grad students take five minutes to fill out an evaluation of their present and/or previous landlords this week, we will have a huge database by mid-March.

To submit an online evaluation form, click “Fill Out an Evaluation Form Today.” Fill in all of the fields before submitting. As long as you enter your name, perm number and the address of the evaluated premises, your ratings will be posted and readable in about a week, but your personal information (name, perm number, etc.) will not ever be posted for reading.

The 54 evaluations submitted to date provide interesting results. Contrary to others’ concerns that students would be unfair, unreasonable or irresponsible in evaluating their landlords, the responses provide a full range of well-balanced responses. Out of the 54 students who have evaluated 40 landlords, 13 students (24 percent) said they would recommend the landlord to a close friend, 7 (13 percent) said maybe they would, and 34 (63 percent) said that they would not. The students are using the evaluation process fairly: some students who would recommend their landlord rated some factors at less than satisfactory, and some students who would not recommend their landlord rated some factors at more than satisfactory. The form is detailed enough so students can and have written full and fair evaluations.

This is your unique opportunity. I know of no other example of this on the web. Only UCSB students can enter an evaluation. (UCSB faculty and staff will be able to do so once they have ID numbers.) Anyone can read the evaluations.

My hope is that at least 10 percent of UCSB students will enter evaluations in the next week. Use it or lose it; this online evaluation form is an experiment to see if it will prove useful to students. If it is not useful, or if it remains under-utilized in a year, then it is not likely to survive.

Dallas Atkins is the attorney for the A.S. Legal Resource Center.