In 2014 it became clear to co-founder Matt Kruskamp that Rentler would have to find a solution to a growing problem in the online rental listings space—rental listing scams.
The majority of rental listings online are legitimate. However, some address scammers will occasionally use a fake address and post listings for places that don't actually exist. For instance, they might create a listing for 742 Evergreen Terrace in Springfield. Pictures from the listing will look legitimate because they've most likely been taken off a website with a real listing. The scammers then ask an interested tenant for first and last month's rent with a promise that they'll send the tenant keys in the mail, but in all actuality, the scammers are simply taking money from the would-be tenant and offering nothing in return.
Matt knew that as the CTO of Rentler, he needed to find a way to put an end to rental listing scams in their marketplace. Rental listing scams not only hurt potential tenants that were losing money, they also hurt landlords that would be viewed skeptically by potential tenants. Matt knew that tenants would continue to be taken advantage of, and it was only a matter of time before Rentler felt lasting effects if these fraudulent listings weren't dealt with.
lookup = SmartyStreets::USStreet::Lookup.new
lookup.street = '1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy'
lookup.city = 'Mountain View'
lookup.state = 'CA'
lookup.zipcode = '21229'
result = lookup.result
Matt and his team at Rentler are now able to provide their service with minimal risk, and they couldn't be happier. “Now that we've integrated, Smarty is the backbone of our address verification, and our tenants can find their landlords safely and simply.” This safety and simplicity has done wonders for the confidence that tenants are now able to show in not only the landlords that they're interacting with, but also the Rentler product as a whole.
Matt knew that this type of solution was being offered by providers other than Smarty, but after doing some research, he found that Smarty was the best fit for Rentler. “We looked at other competitors, and Smarty was the only one that had a fantastic API that could easily integrate with us,” says Matt. “They were lower priced than the competition for what we got. And they had great customer service, so whenever we had a problem, they were right there to help us through."
When asked how Smarty's US Address API changed the lives of Rentler's customers, Matt said, “The address is paramount to everything we do here at Rentler, because the address is actually the origin of the relationship between the landlord and the tenant.” And now that those addresses are validated and the risk of rental listing scams have been minimized, the relationship between landlords and tenants can easily start off in a trusted way.