When it comes time for a tenant to vacate a rental, everyone wants to keep that coveted security deposit for themselves.
But a new startup aims to even the playing field for property owners, landlords and tenants alike who are all hoping to keep a slice of the pie at the end of a lease. Automated property inspection startup RentCheck is gaining momentum, and the company has raised $2.6 million in seed money, according to a press statement released on Monday.
The seed round included participation from Cox Enterprises, because of its operations in the multifamily arena, and angel investors like Jim Payne (previously sold MoPub to Twitter), Ken Goldman (former CFO of Yahoo), Mark Zaleski and John Kuolt of BCG Digital Ventures, and Brian Long (previously sold TapCommerce to Twitter). Some institutional investors also joined the seed round, including Irongrey, Context Ventures and Techstars.
Prior to that, RentCheck had also earned $1 million in pre-seed funding, which included contributions from big investors like James “Jim” Coulter, founder of TPG Capital.
The startup’s digital platform helps property managers conduct remote, guided property inspections through an app. Since everything is done within the app, users can’t upload old photos of the property, and all documentation is time stamped. Once the inspection is complete, both parties must sign off on the inspection’s accuracy.
“In the future, we believe that transparency will be the key to renting,” Marco Nelson, co-founder and CEO of RentCheck, said in a statement. “Property managers and landlords will need to treat their relationships with tenants as a partnership, something that, in the past, hasn’t been the case. RentCheck is bringing tenants, property owners, and managers together on a single platform that’s built on trust, and it’s proving to be a better, smoother, and more efficient experience.”
Property managers can use RentCheck for a subscription fee based on the number of properties for which they use the platform.
Not surprisingly, RentCheck saw huge growth during the pandemic — roughly 1,000 percent, largely organic, growth — as property managers sought out ways to do more business remotely.
“Post-COVID, digital enablement is a top-three goal for most multi-family executives,” Vickie Rodgers, vice president of Cox Communications at Cox Enterprises, Inc., said in a statement. “It is critical for driving operational efficiencies and improving the resident journey. RentCheck supports both of those top objectives for owners and residents. That’s really empowering.”
There are about 48 million rental units in the U.S. that have an average deposit of $1,000, according to Tech Crunch. For many, that money is worth fighting over — about 40 percent of renters across the country challenge their security deposit refund amount, according to a survey conducted by renter resource platform Roost.
“What we love about RentCheck is that it’s using very clever technology to automate and solve arguably the industry’s biggest problem in terms of money and time for both property managers and tenants,” John Kuolt, former managing director of BCG Digital Ventures, said in a statement. “The deposit deduction issue needs a technology-based solution, and almost everyone, at some time, has felt like they’ve been screwed over on their deposit by a landlord. When you see and use RentCheck’s solution, it makes you think: ‘Why didn’t I think of this?'”