Renting is a pain. Sure, it saves you from financial doom when the housing market collapses, and it certainly is a lot more affordable when you're feeling a bit resource-constrained, but it can cause some massive headaches. Depending on your market, scoring a place may require applying to dozens of potential landlords, spreading your precious, personal information with wild abandon to folks you've never met. It's no pleasure cruise for those landlords, too, who have to chase down references and decide which of a pool of total strangers is most suitable to move in. And, when a rent check gets lost in the mail, nobody's happy.
These are just some of the issues that Cozy is looking to solve. The service, which formally launches today and is backed by Google Ventures among many others, is looking to reboot the way that renters and landlords interact. More info after the break.
Renters create a profile in Cozy containing information about themselves, including references and job information (verified through LinkedIn) that can then be quickly and securely submitted to potential landlords who are, themselves, looking for tenants. Importantly, once that renter finds a place (or gives up trying) he or she can retract those applications, leaving no trace behind and providing much greater security than a paper or traditional online application could ever afford.
Landlords, too, create profiles and list their properties, including photos and lease payment details. They can accept applications and, once a tenant is identified, process payments digitally -- no more lost checks. Cozy uses ACH direct debit payments, enabling a renter to push a money directly to the landlord's account from their own. The service even aggregates multiple payments from roommates and, should one person be lagging behind, send an email to all the happy (or unhappy) cohorts to let them know exactly who is holding up the process.
"Everyone is responsible for the entire amount on the lease," Cozy CEO Gino Zahnd told us, indicating that it should never the landlord chasing down individual checks from roommates. He also stressed the convenience factor of no longer having to mail in payments. "There are thousands of people who write 12 checks a year, and guess what those checks are. Cozy makes those checks go away."
But it won't be free, at least not for everybody. Landlords will pay $9 per month for every unit they list on Cozy, which seems well worth it to us -- at least for landlords managing a few properties on top of some other job and lacking the time to manage checks or screen tenants. "Those two things were obviously places where landlords waste the most time and spend the most money," Zahnd told us. "Of the landlords that we have invited that set up a property and received a payment, not one person has left the beta."
That beta launched in October of last year but, as of this morning, you can now try it for yourself. Of course, as a renter creating a profile won't do you much good if your landlord doesn't sign on, but maybe if you promise to start making those rent payments on time that'll be encouragement enough to get them onboard.
Cozy Launches, Aims to Reinvent the Experience for Landlords and Renters
New Service for Landlords and Renters Enables Automatic Rent Payments, Provides Innovative Screening Tools for Landlords, and Empowers Renters with Secure and Reusable Renter Profiles.
SAN FRANCISCO - June 6, 2013 - Cozy, the company removing headaches from renting residential real estate, unveiled its new service today which features a first of its kind rent payment system, innovative landlord screening tools, and renter profiles that give tenants full control of their private information.
Cozy's mission is to radically change the rental real estate experience with a focus on elegantly designed products, transparency, privacy, and total control of one's personal information. After an intensive six month beta period, Cozy has thousands of landlords and renters using the service in over 320 U.S. markets. Cozy has established itself as a trustworthy payment processor. During the beta payment volume increased 700%, and the company is already processing millions of dollars annually.
Landlords can sign up now for their free 60-day trial at: cozy.co. Cozy is free for renters.
"Renting property is one of the oldest systems in human history, and it is a miserable experience. Renting property has never been designed. At Cozy, we're making the entire process secure, seamless and even enjoyable from the very first interaction. The U.S. is moving toward a more renter-based economy, and the timing couldn't be better for a service like Cozy." -Gino Zahnd, CEO, Cozy
NEW TOOLS FOR LANDLORDS
Cozy's new payment system supports households with roommates. Each roommate pays individually, and Cozy bundles the payments so that the landlord receives one clean payment from the household. This system supports how leases actually work, and reduces liability for the landlord. Everything is based on recurring payments and is completely automatic.
Innovative screening tools enable landlords to accept applications from prospective renters online and make informed decisions on applicants. The renter applications call out key decision points such as employment, financial health and rental history.
Any Cozy property application can also be shared on sites such as Craigslist, Twitter and Facebook, via email, or at property showings.
NEW CONTROL FOR RENTERS
Renters can create a beautifully designed, reusable portfolio with unprecedented accuracy, legitimacy, and control. The Cozy renter profile can be used to apply to properties with Cozy landlords, or anywhere else online. A Cozy profile allows renters to:
• Introduce themselves to landlords in their own words
• Import their LinkedIn profile and verify their current employer
• Give a complete picture of their financial health
• Request endorsements from previous landlords and references
Cozy makes renting easy for both landlords and renters. With world-class customer service and first-of-their-kind products for rent payments, applying/screening, and personal security, Cozy is the best way for small landlords and renters to get things done.
Founded in March 2012 and based in San Francisco, Cozy's mission is to radically change the rental real estate experience with a focus on beautifully designed products, transparency, privacy, and total control of one's personal information.
Cozy is backed by The Social+Capital Partnership, Google Ventures, and noted angel investors Tim Ferriss, Jason Calacanis, and Gary Vaynerchuck. Our founders are former lead designers and engineers from Flickr, Kosmix (now @Walmartlabs), Splunk, and Capital One.
Learn more at cozy.co.