Landlords and real estate professionals can now incorporate rental applications and tenant screenings right into rental listing ads.

Boulder, Colo.-based paperless property leasing company LeaseRunner has launched its "Apply Now" service, allowing users to accept rental applications and screen potential tenants directly from ads on Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and other websites, the company announced this week.

LeaseRunner digitizes the rental process for property managers and tenants, including rental applications, background checks, e-signatures and rent collection. The Apply Now service is free to LeaseRunner customers and, should the landlord require them, prospective tenants pay for any credit or background checks.

Screen shot of LeaseRunner dashboard. 

"Until now, the rental listing ad was disconnected from the application and screening process," said Joe Buczkowski, CEO and founder of LeaseRunner, in a statement. "By integrating applications and screening into the listing ad, LeaseRunner is transforming the leasing process. Landlords save time, money and hassle. Renters gain the ability to complete the leasing process digitally and securely. Our customers have been asking for this feature."

In an email to Inman News, Buczkowski said most tenants would prefer to visit the property before applying, but once they do, the landlord can tell them to just apply from the ad if they are interested.

"This saves the landlord a few extra steps in the process, and the landlord can turn off the ‘Apply Now’ functionality of the ad at any time, like when the property is leased. This way, the landlord does not have to follow up with all of the potential applications individually," he said.

Landlords have varying workflows and Apply Now gives them another way to screen tenants, he added. Landlords can also email prospective renters an application link or email a screening request without an application.

In tight rental markets such as New York or San Francisco, "it is advantageous for the tenant to apply as soon as possible in order to not miss an opportunity at a preferred property," Buczkowski said.

Moreover, other than any screening fees, there’s no downside risk to the applicant, he said.

"With LeaseRunner, the tenant does not share his or her Social Security number with the landlord, and LeaseRunner’s background checks do not ‘ding’ the applicant’s credit score," he said.

Founded in August 2011, LeaseRunner rolled out updates to its service in March and was a finalist for an Inman News Innovator Award this year. The company counts thousands of landlords, property managers and real estate agents in about 2,000 cities nationwide as customers, LeaseRunner said.

A competitor, Chicago-based startup Rocket Lease, debuted in August.

Screen shot of property ad with LeaseRunner’s Apply Now button. 

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