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Miami and Los Angeles mayors join Rhino in urging more leaders to deliver immediate relief to renters

Today, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a Republican, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Democrat, joined Rhino Chairman Ankur Jain in authoring a piece published by CNN calling on city and state leaders across the country to follow the proven model for legislative action that Rhino has worked to drive in Cincinnati, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia.

This collaboration remains essential as renters around the country continue to search for financial relief. While the federal stimulus package passed in April provided short-lived assistance for families in the form of $1,200 checks delivered to Americans making less than $75,000 a year, those funds have been long depleted for households in need. …

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Tips to create top class resident experiences at your properties

Owner/operators who use emerging technology solutions to address changing needs of residents are experiencing measurable advantages at their properties. Investing in technology solutions gives you a leg up when it comes to attracting new residents, boosting current resident satisfaction, and increasing resident retention. Whether it’s helping you reopen common spaces in accordance with COVID-19 regulations, helping you decrease upfront costs at move-in, or making it easier to get listings off the market, here are some helpful tips for using technology to provide residents with the high quality living experiences that set your properties apart:

Make your buildings more accessible with keyless entry

Keyless entry is one of the fastest growing amenity requests from residents, and that number has continued to rise through the COVID-19 pandemic. Owners can choose from a number of mobile platforms that allow residents to access spaces around the property, open their own front doors, and manage their guests. Some of these platforms also come with the ability to allow residents to reserve common spaces in your buildings, which for many owners has proven especially helpful in keeping public spaces open while maintaining safety and minimizing contact between residents. There are a suite of options for these platforms available for owners of all types, click here for a list that we found helpful. …

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How owner/operators and their leasing teams can reclaim time

Looking for easy-to-implement ways to maximize profit at your properties? Creating efficient processes and making incremental changes to save time at the property level creates scalable impact on your bottom line. Through our close work with thousands of owner/operators across America, we’ve gotten an inside look at some of the methods they use to be more efficient in their leasing process. More importantly, we’ve seen firsthand how these methods convert to real financial impact.

We’ve compiled a list of steps for owner/operators to take at their properties to increase efficiency today.

Check in with your renewing residents yearly to inspect their unit

In some cases, multi-year tenants leave more cumulative damage to their unit than anticipated. Oftentimes extensive repairs could have been handled in less time and with less money if the damage was caught early. This small step to check in on the status of a unit every year can save days or even weeks of time spent repairing the unit and preparing it to be listed after a tenant has moved out. …

Our commitment to building an insurance product with the best protection for owners

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Rhino has become a trusted partner to owner/operators in over 1 million homes nationwide because of the entirely unique product we’ve built. We took an old concept in the traditional surety bond, kept the components that protect owners and help renters save money, and got rid of the parts that don’t fit real estate transactions. We created a surety bond no one has ever seen before. It’s propelled our growth since our founding in 2016, and today Rhino has processed $1 billion in lease transactions.

Every alteration we made to the surety bond model was to maximize protection for owners. Any component that didn’t allow our product to work better than a cash security deposit was removed. Other deposit alternative providers often criticize surety bond insurance products, citing issues with traditional models that put property owners at risk of losing protection. …

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What’s true, what’s false, and everything in between

While insurance agreements have been used to maintain accountability between multiple parties for decades, insurance products that replace security deposits are a fairly new concept. That means there’s a great deal of misinformation out there about deposit alternatives; what they’re used for, who can benefit from them, and how they stack up 1:1 against cash deposits. Since deposit alternatives are here to stay, it’s important to do some mythbusting so owners can make the most informed choices possible.

Myth 1: There’s a maximum number of claims I can submit with a deposit alternative

For this one we can only speak for ourselves, but to be clear, you can submit any number of claims on a Rhino policy so long as the total dollar amount doesn’t exceed the dollar amount of coverage you chose when the resident bound their policy and moved in. If a resident is responsible for ten incidents of loss (which we really hope isn’t the case), and those ten incidents combined are all within the coverage amount outlined in the policy, owners that partner with Rhino are 100% permitted to submit a claim for every one of those incidents. …

Rhino’s commitment to a more equal world

Our team is constantly learning more about what it means for our product to serve everyone. We firmly believe that our work to create and promote housing affordability will always be intertwined with the reality facing Americans. Today and historically, Black Americans and members of other marginalized groups face a reality of structural disadvantages that create barriers to participating in the Fintech industry and fully benefitting from Fintech products. This is our pledge to do more to break these barriers down. We’ll do more by acting in meaningful and direct ways, and taking an honest look at what needs to change within our organization. …

Deposit alternatives are here to stay, so what’s next…

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2020 has been a year no one saw coming. Our team has been inspired by the stellar work of the people across the country who make the multifamily industry move.

Seven months into the pandemic it’s beginning to become clear what the long term effects will be. August showed the first signs of a decline in rent payments since the pandemic began with a decrease of around 2% from the previous year. September is now showing indicators that this decline will continue. Mid-month reports for September rent collection show that collection rates are expected to be down 2.4% …

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The number of units offering deposit alternatives has increased over 7x each year for the past three years.

What this means

Sooner or later everyone will interact with one. The knowledge of another option is growing among renters. The answers to “have you heard of ___?” are changing. The best time to market a deposit alternative at your properties could be now, as prospective residents are primed to learn more about the offerings.

A permanent change is here, but it’s not one to worry about. Our deposit alternative has the potential to completely replace traditional deposits because it’s built to give our partners the highest quality experience within a product designed specifically for them. At the very least we believe we’ll occupy equal space within the multifamily industry as cash on hand. …

Local solutions to support the multifamily industry this coming fall

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Last week we were joined by:

City Council Member Cindy Bass-Philadelphia,PA

City Council Member Andria McClellan- Norfolk, VA

City Council Member Matt Westmoreland-Atlanta, GA

for a discussion about developing a clear understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the near future of multifamily housing. Through this dialogue we learned more about the specific pain points of these three cities as well as initiatives being carried out to provide support to the entire multifamily ecosystem — even during the wait for further federal pandemic relief. Here’s what we learned:

Survey data is making it difficult to understand the full impact of the pandemic, but many signs are troubling.

Taking into account various factors that include stimulus checks and other types of intervention, it’s proven difficult for some cities to understand exactly if or when rates of rent collection will see a sharp decrease. The data that cities have received from national housing organizations demonstrates that while it’s difficult to get a comprehensive, nationwide picture, it’s also clear that rates of rent collection by property class reinforce the idea that the impact of COVID is felt most in communities that were already facing other challenges, and that the pandemic has served to exacerbate many pre-existing issues in housing. …

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Despite a pandemic and housing affordability crisis, renters are still moving to new homes.

Because of this, the move-in moment remains the important first step in the relationship between properties and residents. We spoke to several of our partners about how the recent pandemic has impacted the ways they handle this moment and their work to deliver safe, comfortable community experiences.

In the next 6–12 months, hundreds of thousands of renters across the country will be evicted for the first time. “Stable” income has been exposed as something always subject to change. People with great credit before this past March now have good, average, or even bad credit.

Assessing financial stability will always be a central part of the move-in moment, but there are new ways to measure what exactly that means. Several of our partners spoke of a significant shift in how they consider the typical move-in qualification metrics. Trajectories and longer financial histories have become increasingly important as opposed to one-off submissions of credit scores and recent income in accordance with an application. In forecasting the future of their properties, one Rhino partner shared that they’d consider evictions occurring in the second part of 2020 and the entirety of 2021 with roughly half the weight they would for any evictions that occurred prior as they assess applications. …


Team Rhino

Our mission is to give renters financial alternatives to afford the homes they want.

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