New renters, happy in their home after finding a home without a high-risk from rental listing scams.

Rentler Prevents Rental Listing Scams With Valid Addresses

At a glance

Challenge

Risk That Rental Listing Scams Could Erode Trust

Solution

Validation with the US Street Address API

Results

Fewer Listing Scams with Verified Addresses

The Client: Rentler

Rentler is an online property management tool serving landlords and tenants nationwide by processing thousands of applications and rental payments each month. Founded in 2012, Rentler has now reached over 1.3 million users in over 3,000 cities across the United States. Rentler's goal is to turn what can oftentimes be painful processes, finding a new home to rent or finding new tenants to rent to, and making it simple for both landlords and tenants. Rentler is able to do this by providing tools to landlords and property managers that help them find the right tenants, collect rent online, access legal forms, and more. It also helps tenants navigate the rental process with digital applications, online rent payments, and rental listings that are easy to search—so that finding a home is exciting, instead of aggravating.
rentler logo
rentler company image

The Challenge: Risk That Rental Listing Scams Could Erode Trust

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.

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Matt Kruskamp
CTO, Rentler
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Rental listing scams are a huge problem of people creating ads whose address doesn't exist. And then they ask for first and last month's rent with the promise of giving them the keys in the mail. And the picture seems legitimate because they're taken from some other website but in all actuality they're just taking that money from the tenet.

The Solution: Validation with the US Street Address API

Matt found Rentler's solution in Smarty's US Street Address API. Smarty's US Street Address API makes validating addresses incredibly easy. Address validation allows Rentler to compare all new listings against an authoritative list of confirmed addresses. By integrating the API into Rentler's system, Matt's team is able to both quickly and easily detect rental listing scams. Additionally, if a separate landlord claims that they own a property, that address can also easily be flagged for further investigation. This serves as effective prevention against rental listing scams.
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • Java
  • Go
lookup = SmartyStreets::USStreet::Lookup.new

lookup.street = '1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy'
lookup.city = 'Mountain View'
lookup.state = 'CA'
lookup.zipcode = '21229'

client.send_lookup(lookup)

result = lookup.result
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Address verification cuts rental listing scams because now we know that properties exist. And if some other landlord has claimed that they own it, we can immediately flag it as we know there is a problem and it needs to be resolved. Really, address verification is the first step in fraud management.
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Matt KruskampCTO, Rentler

The Results: Fewer Listing Scams with Verified Addresses

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.

company logo+smarty logo
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We looked at other competitors, and Smarty was the only one that had a fantastic API that could easily integrate with us.
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Matt KruskampCTO, Rentler
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