With such a large section of the population unable to buy a home for the foreseeable future, rentals are rapidly growing in cities across the nation. As such, there's a growing demand for technology solutions to meet this market niche.
That's where the Y Combinator-backed startup Tenant Turner comes in. Founded in the aftermath of the 2008 housing crisis that saw millions of foreclosures, the platform is hoping to become the favored solution of landlords looking to adhere to laws like Fair Housing regulations while choosing responsible tenants.
It's easy to see why such a tool is needed. TechCrunch estimates there are some 43 million rental properties across the country right now, and an equally high number of renters. It's a fragmented market and landlords who don't know what they're doing could easily come to regret it.
Tenant Turner was founded by a landlord. Co-founder James Barret relates to TechCrunch how he became an “accidental landlord” in the aftermath of the housing crisis, when he was unable to sell a single-family property in Richmond, Virginia, but needed to move to a bigger place with his growing family. As a result, he was forced to rent.
“I’m an accidental landlord. I bought a townhouse at the height of the market in 2005 and then I needed a bigger home, and we really just couldn’t sell it,” Barrett said. “It became a real investment in handling the sublet with finding tenants and then the legal process of keeping in compliance with fair housing. There wasn’t really anything out there in the marketplace.”
That's when he decided to team up with Chris Stewart and Brandon Anderson, to found Tenant Turner as a platform that can help landlords find qualified tenants more easily, while adhering to the law. Now, the platform has raised a healthy $500,000 from Y Combinator Lighthouse Labs, Triad LC, Altron Capital, Duke Dodson, Doug White, Daniil Kleyman, and Jim Cheng.
Tenant Turner helps landlords to market their properties too, listing them on the country's top 20 listing sites. Renter applicants are also screened by having their income verified, and a credit and background check (including their rental history) is performed before the system “qualifies” them. Only once renters are qualified can they actually contact landlords to show their interest in a particular property.
Once ready, the platform will even coordinate property viewings. Tenant Turner's prices start at $119 for a rental listing, but can be cheaper depending on how many listing credits a user buys (ideal for those with numerous rental properties).
To date, Tenant Turner has sWith such a large section of the population unable to buy a home for the foreseeable future, rentals are rapidly growing in cities across the nation. ome 200 rental listings, including condos, single-family homes and town houses.