In our LandlordsNY Spotlight series, part of the #IamLandlordsNY campaign, we shine a "spotlight" on some of our featured members and vendors to get a glimpse into their professional and personal backgrounds through an interview-style Q&A.
In this installment of our Vendor Spotlight series we get to know LandlordsNY @Rent Application
How long have you been in the business and how did you get started?
Rent Application was started in 2013. The main problem we set out to solve was the elimination of paper applications as part of the rental process. We believe that paper applications are cumbersome, slower, and less secure.
Tell us about yourself.
Rent Application is a real estate tech company based in Chicago. Our team is made up of former property managers, real estate agents and small landlords. We believe these experiences help us empathize with our customers and users.
One member of our team worked in the real estate industry in NYC for a few years and has been a landlord in NYC for 10 years.
What advice would you give to yourself if you were at the beginning of your career?
Buy real estate where you would live. This advice isn't new but is something that some of our team members didn't adhere to -and caused them some issues.
What do you find most hopeful in NY's real estate industry?
New York, as one of the largest states in the country and home to New York City, tends to lead in real estate innovation. The high paced nature of the NYC market requires constant innovation. While the new laws have created some uncertainty, landlords will continue to have a strong pool of applicants as people are drawn to NY.
What do you find most concerning?
The ban on eviction data is troubling. When I give tenants advice, I usually say that the number thing a landlord wants is a tenant who will not be a problem. Evictions are the ultimate signal of a landlord-tenant relationship failure. A landlord who is forced to use eviction to remove a tenant, likely has suffered a significant financial loss on that tenancy. It seems that the likely result will be an increase in credit standards used for qualification - which may end up actually making housing more difficult for those the state was seeking to help.
If you were to do anything else, what would that be?
Real estate is deep in our "blood" here at Rent Application. Its hard to imagine not working in real estate and technology. We'd likely work on another product to help landlords succeed in different parts of the real estate/investment lifecycle if we weren't focused on the rental application and tenant screening aspect today. Dream products that help landlords better manage repairs, financial records, and even buy and sell investment properties with vetted track records are dream projects.
How do you think the business will be different in 10 years?
Limits on the data used to screen tenants seem to be happening across the country - so it seems likely this trend will continue. Since our business is primarily built on helping landlords screen and compare tenants for potential tenancy, we believe that new mechanisms to measure and reduce risk will rise in popularity. Tools may become popular that look at how tenants spend money and compare to renter populations - to find patterns that may predict risk, tenancy duration, and more.
What's your favorite quote?
"I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things. You have to pick carefully. " by Steve Jobs
We're entrepreneurs and have worked at various types of startups and focus is so important to smaller teams. The above quote is all about focus.
Tell us how your business helps landlords?
We help landlords reduce the paperwork of collecting and managing tenant applications while providing landlords a number of screening capabilities including credit, criminal background, landlord references, and employer references.