How sharing rental payment data can benefit the entire multifamily industry

Tracy Levesque Jedrey, President of Virginia-based GrayCo Properties, sat down with the Experian RentBureau team to discuss the importance of rental payment history data. Below is a short Q&A as to why she believes the streamlined process of sharing rental payment data impacts the entire multifamily industry – from identifying risky prospects to improving your community of residents.

ERB:  GrayCo currently furnishes resident rental history records to Experian RentBureau and I’m curious to know what driving factors influenced your decision to participate as a furnisher. Was it the ability to improve bad debt recovery, ease of integration with screeners, ability to identify risky residents or even reduce the likelihood of resident skips? What’s been most valuable to you since contributing data?

TLJ: A combination of all of those benefits you mentioned influenced our decision to provide resident data to Experian RentBureau. Furnishing data makes sense as an industry: it’s an unspoken rule that you don’t rent to someone who owes another apartment community money. Rental payment history data enables us to see payment patterns and any outstanding balances in our qualifying stage. For on-site leasing professionals the data provides them another tool in qualifying applicants. A larger, more in-depth database benefits our portfolio and industry but it also benefits the day-to-day operations, delivering both holistic and local value.

ERB: What are the benefits of incorporating rental payment data into your screening model?

TLJ:  Honestly I think the benefits continue to grow as the data grows with the Experian RentBureau database and as more parties become involved. Everyone is so focused on their credit scores – this process becomes an amenity to an applicant as it helps them to establish their credit with solid rental history while providing the property with accurate financial data. The qualify criteria becomes more real time and provides instant gratification.   

ERB: Fantastic, it is great to hear you find the offering simple and impactful in your existing screening process. From an owner/operator perspective, is it more important for you to be able to identify high quality residents or risky residents?

TLJ: That is a fine line. It is imperative to spot both. Payment history can tell you many stories – seeing actual monthly rental history for the most part tell a very clear story. In my experience, this approach is much easier and helps to identify the prospects that might have great income but may not be financially responsible.

ERB:  How do you use the rental payment history data for bad debt recovery or collections?

TLJ: I feel the real time rental payment history helps you to decrease your bad debt up front as you are able to capture qualified applicants at the front end.  Better quality residents on the front side reduce the need for collections on the back side.