2020's unique challenges have affected everyone, and residential landlords are understandably struggling as the hardships of their tenants are often passed up the chain when the rent cheque is due. A two-to-four-times growth in Greater Toronto Area rental apartment vacancies means that landlords are having to find new ways to reduce costs, while COVID-19 precautions have eliminated traditional in-person leasing activities. As with many industries directly tied to the real estate market, advancing technology offers tools to allow residential landlords to adapt to the changed landscape brought on by the pandemic.  

Rental housing in Toronto, image courtesy of Rhenti

One example of a new platform being used to face these uncertainties is Rhenti, a cloud-based software for landlords that digitizes end-to-end marketing and leasing, limiting in-person interactions while allowing a landlord to reduce the all-in costs for marketing and leasing residential rentals.

Unlike paying for a real estate agent or having to spend significant time with the DIY approach, Rhenti utilizes software automation designed from the ground up to reduce costs, effort, and find perfect renters that check all of a landlord's boxes. The reduction of time and expense through automation is a common theme in disruptive technologies such as Rhenti, though the addition of a means to find renters that fit a landlord's specific preferences is what sets the software apart from other listing sites and rental screening services. 

Rhenti maximizes eyes on a listing by simultaneously posting it to nine of the top listing providers. Potential renters respond, creating profiles that include critical information like credit summaries as well as more minor preference-based options such as pet ownership. Once a potential renter applies, landlords can review basic details, while also making the necessary credit and background checks without ever leaving the platform. If everything checks out to their liking, rental transactions are done through Rhenti for an entirely self-contained process. 

Breakdown of how the platform works, image courtesy of Rhenti

Rhenti allows a landlord to offer services similar to a realtor, both increasing visibility while helping to find the best fit for a tenant. Aside from automatic listing on all leading rental and listing sites, Rhenti includes services like virtual tours, professional photography, viewing management, and other perks that become especially advantageous during the current pandemic. For landlords less versed in the current market conditions, the platform offers access to important market data that can help them establish a unit price, as well as active notifications that allow for on-the-fly price adjustments to reflect the frequently changing behaviours of renters.

Rental housing in Toronto, image courtesy of Rhenti

The alternative is a traditional realtor or property manager accepting applications manually, which can be negatively affected by anything ranging from unintentional bias or the screening out of potentially good candidates due to limited data availability. With Rhenti, automation's inherent advantages can collectively reduce the human input required to lease a unit by between four and six times, which can lower costs by about 70% and reduce human error by association.

Example of offer card with rental profile, image courtesy of Rhenti

Transparency is another aim of the software, allowing both landlords and renters access to equal information meant to offer a glimpse behind the curtain of an opaque industry where information on pricing and competition is often closely guarded. An example of this information-forward approach comes in the platform's open application model. Upon applying to lease a rental property, the software provides renters with live updates, alerts of other renters that are interested in the same property, and an indication of what they are willing to spend on the unit. With this information, a renter has a better sense of where they stand in the running for a unit. On the landlord side, each rental listing comes with visibility into all leads, including what listing service a renter found their unit through, and how much engagement they have shown towards their listing, helping a landlord gauge a potential renter's interest.

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