RentCheck’s high-tech solution to security deposit disputes captures millions from investors.
How it Works
Tenants can schedule their own inspections at their convenience.
Inspections are virtual, eliminating contact and trips to properties.
Property managers can schedule reminders for inspections.
Landlords can send automated notifications to tenants for inspections.
Standardized reports are gathered and stored in one place.
2019 New Orleans Entrepreneur Week IDEApitch winner RentCheck — a locally based startup created by two Tulane alumni — is the first online, automated property inspection platform designed to cut through the struggle between renters and landlords over deposits and refunds. Early recognition locally for the platform was a key factor in the success of the company’s launch.
“Winning New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week provided us a stage to tell our story, and was a great catalyst,” said Marco Nelson, CEO, who co-founded the company with Lydia Winkler, COO. “We were in our last semester at Tulane’s MBA program, and winning gave us the momentum to build, raise capital, and hire our first employee, Lucy Warburton, who was VP of product at LevelSet and took a big chance to join us as our head of product.”
On August 9, the company announced that it had raised a combined $3.6 million from investors across the U.S. to continue to promote the application in new areas and with more tenants and property managers.
After successfully suing a previous landlord after a deposit dispute, Winkler realized she was far from alone in her struggles.
According to RentCheck, as many as 40% of tenants end up challenging their landlords over the amount they end up getting back, with an estimated total back and forth of $45 billion per year at stake. The online offering is designed to cut through the red tape by offering virtual, remote inspections that can be regularly scheduled, thus saving both landlords and tenants time and money.
“Renters benefit from RentCheck because it protects them against unjust deductions from security deposits,” said Winkler. “It builds trust between landlords and renters. And if we can ease that relationship, the world will be a more peaceful place.”
The application also has big benefits for property managers and landlords.
“Consistent property inspections help find issues that may create future problems if left unattended,” Nelson said. “When landlords make sure that the structural integrity of their building is maintained, they ensure that their tenants feel cared for.”
Nelson — who has experience both in managing properties across the country as well as a background in mobile engineering —created the initial application and software for RentCheck. The team quickly expanded, and the company has since grown its engineering team in-house to continue to develop mobile and web applications.
As homeownership rates decline and the number of renters increases across the country, keeping track of rental units and tenants is more important now than ever. According to an April 2021 report from Statista, “In 2020, there were approximately 43 million housing units occupied by renters in the United States. This number has remained steady since 2014, but is part of a long-term upward swing since 1975.”
RentCheck subscription rates are dependent upon the number of units managed by each landlord or property manager, from $5 per month (1-20 units) to $75 per month (81-150 units) with custom quotes for larger organizations. Plans are month to month, with no setup fees and no long-term contracts for use.
Since its launch, the company has seen tremendous growth, in part due to the virtual and remote nature of the product and the unforeseen quarantine and precautions taken during COVID-19.
“RentCheck wasn’t created with a pandemic in mind — however, it happens that our product enables property inspections to continue [during the pandemic], while they simply cannot be performed without a technology like RentCheck,” Winkler said. “In many parts of the world, property inspections have come to a halt due to social distancing measures. During the pandemic, we have seen a huge increase in adoption from property managers who, in the past, may have been slower to use new technology. The property management space, in general, has been slow to adopt new technology, and we have seen the pandemic accelerate technology adoption across the industry.”
The company currently has 10 full-time employees and a long list of subscribers, with the number growing organically, according to Nelson, as users spread the word.
“RentCheck works with thousands of different property management companies and independent landlords who, in turn, manage hundreds of thousands of properties across the United States and Canada. They then invite all of their residents to join them on RentCheck,” he said.
As the company moves forward with the $3.6 million in seed money from investors, Winkler notes that the successes they have seen are just the beginning.
“Though we have grown quickly during the past two years, we are just scratching the surface when it comes to the 46 million rental units in the U.S. Our mission is to eliminate disputes over security deposits, and to make the rental process fair and transparent. In order to achieve that, we plan to make RentCheck the standard-bearer across the industry.”
RentCheck investors include:
Jim Coulter, founder of TPG Capital
Jim Payne, MoPub
Ken Goldman, former CFO of Yahoo
Mark Zaleski and John Kuolt, BCG Digital Ventures
Brian Long, founder of Attentive
New Orleans has been a great place to launch a technology company. The local tech community has been very supportive, and we’re thrilled to be headquartered in the best city in the swamp.
Lydia Winkler, RentCheck co-founder and COO