It never ceases to amaze me the number of agents, landlords and property managers that still use paper applications.
In my last 2 posts I covered how paper applications can complicate Fair Housing compliance and the create personal data security problems.
Today we will look at how time consuming paper applications are, how they make your business look antiquated and can affect compliance with Fair Housing laws.
Paper applications, whether they are handed out or a downloadable pdf, require the agent/owner/ property manager to enter all that information into the background screening program. (If you are not screening your prospective tenants, then you are just asking for big trouble.)
Typically this can take up to 10 minutes or more per application, which adds up when you have multiple vacancies.
Paper applications are usually accompanied by paper checks or credit card information application fees that need to be written out and then entered into a payment system, again requiring even more time with data entry.
Still not convinced? Do you still feel that all this paper and redundant data entry is really not that big of a deal?
Then consider the image that you are portraying to your prospective tenants. If you are using paper applications and collecting fees with paper checks you are giving people the impression that your business is not up to date. What are going to think about your property and its maintenance?
Fair Housing compliance is also an issue with paper applications. A blog post by OneRent http://blog.onerent.co/fair-housing-rental-application/ reports that “Many landlords notice that the paper rental applications that they receive, are rarely complete. In most of the cases, the tenant provides half-finished applications that make it difficult for property owners to scourge for and scrutinize additional information. Some tenants provide basic bio data at first and additional bank statements and credit reports later, leaving the property owners with no option but to hand over the house to a new tenant in the interim period.”
Due to the lack of complete information, landlords often discourage potential tenants from looking into their properties or steer such applicants towards another property. This constitutes a violation of the anti-discriminatory housing laws.
Using a reputable online application and screening company makes sense on so many different levels. The amount of time you save and the how you present yourself and business are just two reasons to switch.
Jay Apple is co-founder of TenantMagic www.tenantmagic.net, an online rental application and background screening provider that is free to real estate agents, property managers and landlords.