Emerging Trends, Submerging Logic

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Emerging Trends, Submerging Logic

By: Nicholas A. Dunlap

One of the emerging trends in start up sites and smart phone applications is the landlord biz.  With millions of landlords and tenants nationwide, this is a bourgeoning market for tech and software developers.  Some of the newest technology pulls reviews (written by the public) and includes them on the actual website of a particular apartment community.  Others allow a landlord to proceed with employment verification via Linkedin or auto-population of a lease application via Facebook.  While I can appreciate the convenience of doing things via the internet and can certainly understand the ease with which the landlords can then verify their residents employment backgrounds, the sites lack the substance any TRUE property owner or operator would rely on to succeed.  What’s more, the Facebook and Linkedin components setup the potential for Fair Housing complaints based on a landlord knowing a little too much about someone’s personal life or preferences ahead of their move-in.

Part of having a Resident Manager or third party verify the employment and rental history manually and with a person as opposed to relying on what has been posted on the internet, especially in the case of a Linkedin profile or something so easily manipulated as a social media outlet.  Want to look like a great rental prospect? Change your title and the amount of time you have been on the job and you can beat the system.  The technology is new and I think the intention is good, however, it will take experts in the multifamily or commercial real estate industry to provide their insight and expertise in order to create a product that does landlords a service as opposed to a disservice.

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