Renting an apartment is a common middle ground for those not interested in bumming in their parents’ basement, but not quite ready for homeownership. Renters have the privacy of having their own living space without the stress of dealing with maintenance issues and upkeep.

But for a lot of renters, the attention they expect from landlords is lacking, and landlords are juggling a handful of tasks and requests at every moment.

Enter TenantCloud. The platform is intended to bridge the gap between renters and landlords, making both individuals’ lives easier. The maintenance and full cloud-based property management software is free for both renters and landlords to use and comes with a small price tag for service professionals.

Among components like online pay service, property and tenant management, and property marketing, one of the most exciting features is the maintenance request platform that eases tenant headaches and cuts landlord to-do lists.

For renters, this is a pretty big deal.

I lived in an apartment in Chicago for three years that was owned by a large property management company, which owned buildings throughout the entire city. My building was more than 100 years old and had its fair share of issues, many of which were left unattended for months. A broken back window, a flood-prone basement and a water leak in the back wall were just a few of the problems.

Putting myself in the property manager’s shoes, when you’re dealing with 100-plus buildings, it can be difficult to prioritize and determine what issues are actually issues without sending a professional to the apartment to check. In fact, all the issues at my apartment required multiple visits. Someone was needed to inspect the issue to determine whether it was a simple or big fix, then report back to the management company and likely send out a maintenance worker to get the job done.

“With TenantCloud, you can get a picture or video of what the problem is as a tenant and send to the landlord. Within seconds you can know whether or not you need to hire maintenance,” said Joseph Edgar, CEO and co-founder of TenantCloud.

“And as a renter working with a property management company, there’s no documentation on your side. You can say you’ve been telling them about a problem for months and they respond with, ‘Well, we never got it.’ With this, you have a third-party validating it. It’s a nice feature that tenants don’t typically have.”

Once an issue is documented, the landlord can send out a work order to service professionals in the system. They then have the opportunity to estimate a price and bid on the task. As service professionals complete jobs, they build their online profile with reviews.

TenantCloud also announced May 13 that it is working in collaboration with the secure online payment service Dwolla to make it easier for TenantCloud users to transfer funds between one another using a new technology called “OAuth Account Creation.” Dwolla is regulated with the United States Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and is a financial partner with Veridian Credit Union.

“Dwolla does charge 25 cents per transaction. It can be set up that the landlord pays the fee, but by default it’s set up so that the tenant pays. But it’s less than the cost of a stamp, and for tenants that’s the only fee they would ever have to pay,” Edgar said.

TenantCloud has plans to release a full bidding system by July 31 and expects to announce more partnerships to build its platform in the coming months.

Email Kimberly Manning.

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