PROPERTY NEWS - COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the economy, and maybe on your credit score too. However, losing your job and subsequently missing a few payments on your accounts does not necessarily make you a bad tenant, and shouldn’t be the reason your next rental application is turned down.
Averly, a locally created application for rental agents, property owners and tenants alike, uses technology and behavioural analysis to help determine if you’re a good tenant. And good behaviour deserves to be rewarded.
But instead of short-term incentives like vouchers, Averly wants to help provide proper, long-term benefits for great tenants.
It all starts with completing a simple survey, explains Zabeth Venter, CEO and co-founder of Averly. “Instead of asking psychometric questions like ‘Do you feel it’s important to pay your rent on time?’ we can ask direct questions such as ‘Do you always pay your rent?’,” says Venter.
“Asking a tenant if they take parking regulations seriously and consider themselves as good neighbours, reveals a lot about their true convictions.”
Top neuroscientists and psychologists from across the world helped Averly compile the set of 22 questions. What differentiates this survey is its ability to extrapolate the person’s emotion and convictions from their answers.
“Your brain reacts in split seconds and can therefore not be manipulated or fooled,” says Venter.
With the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence, prospective tenants receive a so-called Averly score, that can help landlords and rental agents determine if they’ll be a good fit or not. “Ultimately the decision to rent to a certain person remains human, but AI compliments that process.”
The very nature of machine learning also means accuracy will improve the more information is gathered.
Improve your score, reap the benefits
It’s also possible to improve your Averly score throughout your rental experience.
Good rental behaviour – paying your rent on time, being a good neighbour and looking after a property – can increase your score and help you reap individualised benefits.
“Thanks to good behaviour, you might be able to negotiate a waiver on your next deposit, or you could get a reduction in rent because of financial constraints due to COVID-19,” explains Venter.
Your good Averly score also follows you from property to property.
“The next time you apply for accommodation, you can use your Averly score to negotiate a better deal.
“You build your own benefits.”
Student stays, dad pays
Averly can differentiate between a tenant occupying a property and the person who pays the rent, evaluating their behaviour separately, explains Venter. Rooms within properties can also be managed separately.
A student staying in a big house won’t have his Averly score negatively affected because of his digs mate’s bad behaviour. Averly can be used to sublet rooms within a single flat or house, providing the same service to tenants who wish to rent out rooms on the property they’re already renting themselves.
Getting your Averly score and applying for accommodation is free for tenants, as is using its functionality to report maintenance issues to rental agencies and landlords.
If a tenant is in the process of applying for properties, the Averly dashboard also provides a bird’s-eye view of all their applications to monitor progress. Once you’ve loaded your verified documents onto the Averly platform, you don’t need to upload them again for future applications.
Get that deposit back
For some tenants getting their deposit back can be a massive hassle. Averly also hopes to rectify this.
That’s why a universal snag list for every property is built into the platform. Before moving in, rental agents or landlords would indicate on the platform what needs to be fixed. Tenants have access to that list, so there are no nasty surprises after moving in.
Throughout the rental period, tenants use the same list to indicate maintenance issues, triggering a notification to the landlord or rental agent. Photographic proof of issues can be loaded onto the platform as well.
“If the condition of the property remains the same, you have to get your deposit back,” says Venter. “We want to optimise that type of negotiation and make it fairer.”
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