Tracy Levesque, senior vice president of North Carolina-based GrayCo Properties, sat down with the Experian RentBureau team to discuss the importance of rental payment history data. Below is a short Q&A as to why she believes the streamlined process of sharing rental payment data impacts the entire multifamily industry – from identifying risky prospects to improving your community of residents.
ERB: GrayCo currently furnishes resident rental history records to Experian RentBureau and I’m curious to know what driving factors influenced your decision to participate as a furnisher. Was it the ability to improve bad debt recovery, ease of integration with screeners, ability to identify risky residents or even reduce the likelihood of resident skips? What’s been most valuable to you since contributing data?
TL: A combination of all of those benefits you mentioned influenced our decision to provide resident data to Experian RentBureau. Furnishing data makes sense as an industry: it’s an unspoken rule that you don’t rent to someone who owes another apartment community money. Rental payment history data enables us to see if there are any outstanding balances before leasing to a prospect. For on-site leasing professionals the data helps them qualify better residents and the greater number of qualified residents you have at your communities, your overall operations are easier – quite frankly. A larger, more in-depth database benefits our whole business and industry but it also benefits the day-to-day operations, delivering both holistic and local value.
ERB: What are the benefits of incorporating rental payment data into your screening model?
TL: Honestly I think the benefits are growing as more data is entered into the Experian RentBureau database and as more parties become involved. More and more of our residents are becoming long-term renters so we’re seeing more of their actual, true rental payment history quickly and easily as opposed to having to make some of those old fashioned calls to previous landlords. It’s making the decisions of qualifying much, much easier and almost provides instant gratification.
ERB: Fantastic, it is great to hear you find the offering simple and impactful in your existing screening process. From an owner/operator perspective, is it more important for you to be able to identify high quality residents or risky residents?
TL: For GrayCo, identifying the riskier residents is by far more important. Qualified prospects are much easier to spot with regards to income, to verifying income to employment history, and through their credit scores. In my experience, this approach is much easier as opposed to trying to identify the prospects that might have good or even great income but may not be financially responsible.
ERB: How do you use the rental payment history data for bad debt recovery or collections?
TL: The way I see it, rental payment history data helps you to decrease your bad debt because you are bringing in more qualified people up front. Better quality residents on the front side reduce the need for collections on the back side, that’s the bottom line.