An OKCupid for Apartment Renting

A new app lets renters create a profile with their job, salary information and credit history.

Any city-dweller knows the drill: show up early, dress to the nines, carry ID-plus-credit-report-and-checkbook. Be prepared to get aggressive — renting an apartment is not for the meek.

Enter Cozy, a web app that handles landlord-and-renter interactions like applications and payments, which began welcoming invite-requests from the public today after an initial test-phase with friends. The company has raised $1.5 million in seed funding, according to TechCrunch.

"Since the press broke this morning, we're over a thousand [sign-ups]," writes Cozy CEO Gino Zahnd in an email. "We were purposely quiet before this so that we could focus on product design, system stability, and working closely with our initial group of landlords and renters. We'll now be inviting batches of customers every couple weeks on a first-come first-served basis."

The idea is straightforward: Simplify the renting and rental application process for everyone involved by bringing together the information in one place. As TechCrunch reports:

When it comes to applications, landlords really only care about a few things, Zahnd says, namely the applicant’s job, employer, income, and the percentage of their income that they’d be paying in rent. Everything else on the standard application is just noise. So instead of forcing renters to fill out a long application that the landlord probably won’t read, applicants create a shorter profile on Cozy. Landlords get an online dashboard where they can sort through the applications, while renters get a single profile that they can send to any interested landlord, rather than filling out the same application over and over.

Landlords can review applicants on Cozy.

For right now, during the "beta" phase, renters can't sign up without a landlord, according to Zahnd. But, he adds, "[W]e'll have some big news for renters in the coming months." Cozy can also handle renting with roommates.

Tenants can review submitted applications and pay rent via Cozy.

In early September, California passed a law making it illegal for landlords to require rent be paid via electronic funds transfer. So tenants (in California, at least) will need to still be able pay rent the old-fashioned way. For many, however, the idea of streamlining rent payments — either manual or automatic — probably just means one less task to keep track of.

"Our goal is to fundamentally change the way rental real estate works," Zahnd writes. "We’re making the entire process transparent, trustworthy, simple, secure, and available anywhere."

All images courtesy of Cozy.

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