RentalsTechnology

Startups from the West target multifamily improvements

New tech companies in the short-term rentals, application fees and online rent payments sectors

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When it comes to developing online efficiency-improving platforms for apartment sector niches, West Coast-based startups are leading the way.

During the past month, the multifamily sector has seen the launch or announcement of various apps and platforms focused on short-term rentals, application fees and online rent payments.

HomeSuite, a Palo Alto, California-based startup, launches an online source intended to overhaul the short-term rental market in the San Francisco Bay Area. The platform, which will match prospective tenants with landlords by finding properties to rent and vetting them, aims to offers renters more than Craigslist and Facebook.

Demand for short-term rentals are increasing in the Bay Area, as homeowners are finding the time it takes to sell a home is often significantly less than buying one. In short, a number of individuals sell a home, but are unable to purchase a new home until a few months later, equating to the need for a short-term rental.

Aside from these homeowners, the service also targets consultants traveling for business, homeowners awaiting renovations, tech interns, retirees on long vacations and construction contractors.

Up the coast in Portland, Oregon, NoAppFee.com won a startup challenge by designing a platform aimed at elimination multiple application fees and saving renters from completing paperwork for properties they’ll never lease. The platform accomplishes this by matching tenants and landlords according to rental listings and various screening criteria.

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According to Tyrone Poole, the company’s founder, the online service is specifically meant to assist the city’s low-income and homeless in finding a home with minimal effort and at a lower cost.

Los Angeles-based RadPad recently updated its online rent payment service, which now allows renters to pay for free if using a debit card. Unlike other online rent platforms, RadPad’s service doesn’t require a landlord to be involved, aside from processing the check the company sends on a renter’s behalf.

Another Bay Area-based startup, Yard Club, has teamed with equipment manufacturer Caterpillar to develop an online peer-to-peer rental platform that could be used by contractors who build apartments.

The platform allows a contractor to rent out equipment that’s in between jobs to another contractor in need of specific machines. The service will feature both Caterpillar and non-Cat products. Yard Club expects to have dealer and customer fleet info installed and ready for rental by mid-2015.

Email Erik Pisor.