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Learning the Landlord Ropes with Rentalutions

From renter to owner – it’s like the homeowner’s version of having their Bar Mitzvah. (Well, strictly in the becoming-an-adult kind of way.) And when an owner decides to rent out his property, well,  there’s no coming-of-age analogy that can adequately symbolize that transition. Becoming a landlord can be unfamiliar and overwhelming, especially for those with no prior rental management experience. Rentalutions is like the warm mentor who teaches private property owners how to be landlords and helps them manage their real estate. 

Founder Laurence Jankelow knows the situation well: he experienced it himself. After getting married, he decided to move out of his condo and rent the property. “All I heard were horror stories,” he recalls. Evictions, screening tenants – there seemed like a million ways renting could go horribly wrong. “I ended up backing away and taking a loss on the condo.” Then, in talking with his friends, he realized the same things were happening to them – when they became landlords, all sorts of complicated issues arose. So Laurence and his long-time college friend got together and decided to remedy the problem. “Look,” they said to each other, “let’s build something that’s going to help people like we were – and our friends are – and make things a little simpler for them.”



Rentalutions provides basic features for landlords: supplies all online applications, helps screen tenants, posts listings online for landlords, offers an online rent payment portal – it’s clear, simple and fast management for the “do-it-yourself-landlord.” There are lots of other software companies for landlords and property managers. But Jankelow explains, those companies use highly complex software, geared for more sophisticated clients who might own, say, ten thousand properties. And expense-wise, Rentalutions knows its landlords don’t need to spend a fortune to help manage their properties. Compared with the big boys who charge anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 a month to use their software, Rentalutions offers a variety of payment options at far more reasonable costs – as low as $5 a month per unit. 

Resources, management, affordability – Rentalutions truly looks out for their customers, even beyond the basics. Jankelow says the most valuable service Rentalutions provides is guidance. “A lot of landlords, especially in Chicago, face a lot of risk and liability. But a lot of them just don’t realize it yet.” He goes on to explain one example. Many landlords make the common mistake of not paying interest rates on security deposits – rates that are less than one dollar. They merely overlook this little detail due to lack of management experience. The consequences are severe, though – their tenants can end up suing them for twice as much as the deposit, all because of the basic error. So Rentalutions helps out with email reminders – a simple service that helps landlords immensely. “Small things like that,” says Jankelow, “that’s the most valuable thing we do.”

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