Real-Estate Tech: Help with Landlord/Tenant Screening

3 Replies

Happy Holidays BP Family,

I'm working on my final graduation project at Illinois Tech focused on Web API/App development and I need you all's help. 

Problem: From podcasts, articles, and forums, it seems the biggest liability and risk being a landlord is having the right tenant. Perfect tenants:

1. Pay rent on time, in full, consistently. 

2. Keep your property in good shape.

3. Good neighbors.

4. They pay rent on time, in full, consistently!! :)

Solution: Using machine learning from rental application data sets, our platform would provide curated lists of most capable tenants for your property type based on the history of rental payments and a number of maintenance/ police calls in the past.  The incentive for the tenant would be they use ONE rental application, and instead of paying $35 for an application fee for each property, they would pay $7 a month to apply about 20-30 properties a month. The algorithm gets stronger the more they apply to properties they like. 

When they find the right place, the $7 will transition to rental insurance. 

My classmates and I need help with:

1. Other pain-points landlords have with the tenant-property vacancy.

2. Would a landlord pay for this service, if so, how much?

3. Any factors that you've empirically seen that leads to great long-term tenancy. 

Thanks a ton! We will open up BETA testing next semester.

other issues--1. adding tenants not on the lease. 2. requesting maintenance for minimal issues (change a filter/lightbulb, etc) 3. likelihood they will stay at the property for 3 plus years

I can't see why a tenant would apply to 20-30 properties.  In my experience, they see a couple of properties and apply to one and move to the next if rejected. It might be beneficial to the landlord/tenant to know a certain tenant won't make the cut before wasting everyone's time to show it.  

The service might be nice and worth $ (100+) but would have to empirically show how it is different and better from a credit score and prior history (which can be easily determined by calling prior landlords and employers).  

It would be interesting to see if other factors unrelated to "tenant" activities lead to good tenants--do safe drivers or people who have a gym membership equal good tenants?  

Other factors that I consider--work history and pay.  The longer they have been with one company and have pay between 45k-70k the longer they will be with you and not cause any issues.

Thanks a ton, John. The 20-30 properties I imagined was for cross country-international moves. Further, love the ideas of including other data that show reliability/responsibility as Upstart, a loan provider, does this with college degree etc.

Looking forward to making the algorithm stronger!

It may be that your project is based upon a flawed premise. The landlord needs to protect their investment and any tenant screening service needs to provide as many answers as possible for the landlord. The tenant already knows their problems.

It appears you are approaching this from the applicants view point and they don't have any skin in the game. They don't have an investment worth tens of thousands of dollars to protect. They need a place to live. 

Any worthwhile tenant screening service needs to provide the following information. Where that social security number has lived for the past 20 years, Credit score, Nation wide criminal history search, Nation wide eviction search and many other items.

We use a tenant screening service called Rent Perfect (formerly Investigative Screening and Consulting or ISC). They answer all of my questions except two.

The primary question is will they treat my property like a home or a pig sty. Pigs are pigs. They bring roaches, bed bugs and damage. The only way to answer this question is to go see where they live NOW. This is not something you have outlined above.

The other question is will the applicant lie to me? If I catch them in a lie they are done.

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