One of the most popular places to find apartments for rent online is Craigslist. This comes as no surprise; the website is easy to navigate and typically provides all the necessary information to contact potential landlords and roommates. However, some quick Google research yields an abundance of Craigslist apartment nightmares.
Rental horror stories range in severity. Some get a few laughs, while others are downright disturbing. But they all have two things in common; a lack of transparency and a lack of organization.
Unfortunately, a lack of transparency plagues online rental portals, whether Craigslist or otherwise. This is because there is a barrier between buyers and sellers. It is either a central corporation that connects landlords and tenants or an agent or broker. Either way, there’s a third-party mediator in the mix. More often than not, websites like Craigslist are just a way for renters to find apartment brokers through the internet.
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The lack of organization comes from outdated methods of onboarding tenants. This is either the fault of the landlord or the company that owns the rental complexes. Tenants are still required to sign forms by hand, submit paper applications, and pay in money orders or cashiers checks. This results in a wide variety of application processes that can really dampen the renting experience.
But what’s the solution? Is there a way to improve both rental application transparency and organization? The Rentberry team thinks so. Rentberry is a proven long-term rental platform with over 120,000 active users and 224,000 properties in their portfolio.
They are in the process of creating a fully decentralized, blockchain rental experience for both landlords and tenants. This process includes a transparent application process and provides independent tenant and landlord scores. These platform features can dramatically increase transparency and organization, thereby lowering the number of rental nightmares.
How Decentralization Improves Landlord-Tenant Transparency
The key hallmark of Rentberry’s platform is that it is powered by blockchain technology. Because of this, the platform is decentralized and allows users to connect directly with each other. No more third party operators are needed; corporations, agents, or brokers. Tenants are able to apply directly through landlords, thereby fostering a relationship from the get-go.
What’s more, Rentberry’s platform introduces an algorithmically driven scoring system for both landlords and tenants. The scores are quantifiable screening measures that can help landlords evaluate tenants and vice versa. Landlord scores are determined by a variety of criteria, including price competitiveness, maintenance accommodations, and property reviews. Tenants are scored on application information, previous payment history, and other public information like bankruptcy records and credit scores. Based on these factors, each user is assigned a numerical score.
This scoring method creates a truly competitive marketplace for landlords and tenants. It also creates a transparent atmosphere where different tenants are weighed with equal valuation metrics. Because all scores are visible to all platform participants, low-rated landlords can’t charge high rates in comparison to similar landlords with higher ratings. Likewise, highly-rated tenants will be able to get lower rent payments than lower-rated tenants. Rentberry’s platform has found a way to incentivize good rental behavior financially.
How Decentralization Improves Landlord-Tenant Organization
Rentberry’s goal is to have the entire application process handled online through the blockchain platform. This includes initial applications, personal data collection, and ongoing payments. Rentberry is also going to tokenize the system through BERRY tokens, which will be the uniform payment method for all platform features.
The effect of automating and tokenizing the rental process is that tenants don’t need to assemble a different application packet for each landlord. By streamlining the application process, the same packet (with updated information) can be used for each landlord. This cuts down on time and costs for both landlords and tenants, allowing them to focus on what really matters; fostering trusts and negotiating fair contracts.
Rentberry’s success has been demonstrated by their existing platform. Additionally, they’ve received $4 million in seed funding. In order to continue to develop their platform and incorporate the blockchain-powered features described above, they are having an ICO. The pre-sale starts on December 5, 2017, with the main ICO coming in January 2018