This Portland Startup Wants to Make Rental Application Fees a Thing of the Past

published Feb 9, 2017
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(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

As a renter, no doubt you’ve experienced the annoyance of paying rental application fee after rental application fee while searching for a new place. $20, $30, sometimes even $50 a pop—these fees can add up quickly. What’s more, if you live in a particularly competitive rental market, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, or Portland, you’re likely to lay out $100+ on fees before finally beating out the throngs of other applicants and landing a new rental., a Portland-based startup, looks to end the nickel and diming with their one-fee-pays-all approach to rental applications.

Applicants need only provide their Social Security number, date of birth, and pay a single $35 fee for a credit and background check. The fee is refundable once renters have paid their first month’s rent. Essentially, one application gives renters access to multiple rental listings which they qualify for automatically. Founder, Tyrone Poole, once homeless and himself encumbered by application fees during his own rental search, started with the goal of easing the financial burden on families and individuals attempting to rent affordable housing units. In 2015, launched a beta for the city of Portland in partnership with the Portland Housing Bureau. Today, the company is expanding its focus to include the general housing market.

(Image credit: June Bhongjan)

Poole’s goal is to take his technology to rental markets, nationwide and that eventually rental platforms, like Zillow, would utilize his software. A move that would streamline and simplify the rental process for renters of all economic standings. So far has launched in portions of King County, Washington (where Seattle is located), and areas of Georgia, in addition to continuing their rapid expansion throughout Portland. The company aims to perfect their one-app-pays-all approach in these markets, and then model that approach in more cities across the country.

Additional good news for renters like you and me: Zillow notes the rapidly escalating rents in sought-after cities, like Portland and Seattle, are expected to slow this year despite their increasingly hot housing markets.

h/t CityLab