Applying for an apartment is hard. First you have to find one that’s moderately nice and within your price range, and then you have to get all of your documents together really, really fast. This would be easy if you were organized and had time set away to sort through your papers. But this is life and we’re not as organized as we’d like to be; it’s likely that you have a job and thus have limited time to collect your bank statements from the last six months.
Also applying for an apartment is pretty expensive: Landlords love charging $100 (OK, apparently the average is $40) for what feels like just looking at your name and social security number on a page. But change might just be coming, renters, and it’s brought to you in part by Zillow.
In a press release on Tuesday, Zillow announced two new features aimed at making the lives of renters a little easier: online applications and online payments. Renters can now fill out one standardized application, pay a flat $29 fee, and send out as many renter applications as they want within 30 days. The application includes a Experian credit report as well as a Checkr background check with eviction history. If you need to explain a few details to your potential landlord, the application has space for you to to do that too. The upshot? No more paper rental applications. (But don’t shred them just yet: landlords and property managers have to opt in, and since the feature was just announced, the participation is still minimal.)
Additionally, once you’re actually in the apartment, you can now pay your rent through Zillow. The new online portal allows renters to pay their rent via debit or credit, or through automatic payment. This is especially exciting to this writer who is prone to forgetting to stash her checkbook in her purse during that last week of the month.
To enable these tools, landlords and property managers need to set up a Zillow Rental Manager account. Now that you’re on top of the news, why don’t you forward this article to your landlord?