OpenProperty is a modern substitute for reference letters. It is available at participating properties as a free service for renters.
By signing up, a renter is telling their landlord to report information to OpenProperty, including: rental dates, rental amount, and the details of (or lack of) lease-end charges.
Renters get to build history that can be used like a reference letter. And to further encourage renter participation, OpenProperty discourages frivolous lease-end charges: Reporting builds public history on landlords. For both sides, low lease-end charges are desirable while high-dollar charges are undesirable. A responsible renter leaves minimal issues behind. A trustworthy landlord is open, with a history of reasonable lease-end billing.
Note that as rental history is tracked, OpenProperty is considered a nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA offers consumers a number of protections including limiting the ability for others to view their information.
It costs renters nothing. Properties lock in pricing based on date of enrollment. Contact us for current pricing.
Information includes lease dates, rent amount, and – most interestingly – collection of lease-end charges related to the security deposit such as for damage, cleaning, unpaid rent, renter bills paid by landlord, pet related cleaning or damage, and other.
Property and Landlord Profiles: Open to all. Simply use our search feature.
Renter Profiles: Private. Access is limited to: (1) the renter themselves, (2) a landlord on our system who has a legally permissible reason consistent with the FCRA, i.e. you are applying to rent at one of their properties, and (3) OpenProperty for its own internal use or to comply with a valid government request.
A renter may of course share their own profile. The easiest ways to share are to print a copy or, pending system development, to use our reference letter feature to generate and email a report.
OpenProperty was the brainchild of a habitual renter. He was able to lock in a few outstanding deals by getting landlords comfortable with him as a renter. Part of this was from coaxing a former neighbor and an old landlord to write recommendation letters. It was like pulling teeth to get them to sit down and write – but the letters came in handy. So, he set out to drastically streamline the process.
After you Sign Up, wait for an email that you are activated or are not activated. Participating properties are required to activate renters so long as (1) their information is accurate and consistent with a valid lease and (2) their lease is active. If you have not yet signed a lease or your lease has ended, please consult with the landlord on their activation practices.
No. As general rule, you should sign up prior to the end of your lease. Landlords are not required to offer the service after move-out.
Certain property pages may show a "Benefit" with dollar amounts. This indicates that the property will reduce move-in charges for people that sign-up for OpenProperty with their rental application and prior to paying the charge that would be reduced. If the benefit is relevant to a renewal charge, then the benefit, if offered by a property, will also be available to those who sign up for OpenProperty prior to renewing. Renter history determines the extent of available benefits per the benefit detail in the property profile. Likely if you are a new user there will be a modest benefit if one is offered, if you are a user with a positive rating there will be a more substantial benefit if one is offered, and if you have a negative rating there will be no benefit, even if one is otherwise offered, and your fees charged by the property may even be increased.
Ratings are based upon a score out of 5.00. A score of 4.25 or higher is rated GREEN or positive, 4.24 to 3.25 is rated GRAY or neutral, and lower than 3.25 is rated RED or negative.
Scores for renters and properties calculate similarly. The score for a landlord is based on the roll-up of its underlying properties. If there are zero lease-end charges related to the security deposit, both renter and property obtain a score of 5.00. Scores will be reduced consistent with the following ratio: a 0.05 reduction in a score for any charge or charges to the security deposit equivalent to 1% of the monthly rent, with the underwritten monthly rent being the greater of (a) $2,000 and (b) the highest actual monthly rent during the lease. For example, if the monthly rent were $2,000, a $100 cleaning charge would represent 5% of the monthly rent, thereby reducing the score from 5.00 to 4.75. Note that no reduction in a score will be made for a charge marked by the landlord as "no fault". A "no fault" charge means a charge for the payment of one or more utility bills for the final period of a rental as agreed to by the landlord and renter, e.g. every month a utility provider bills landlord who then passes individual bills through to renters with the expectation that after a renter moves out any final landlord-renter reconciliation will be handled out of the security deposit.
Other notes and exceptions:
Renter Rating: History on an individual rental will ultimately appear with a rating that is GREEN ("POSITIVE"), GRAY ("NEUTRAL"), or RED ("NEGATIVE") and/or that is a numerical score out of 5.00. The average of individual rentals produces an overall rating that will appear as GREEN ("POSITIVE"), GRAY ("NEUTRAL"), or RED ("NEGATIVE"), and/or a numerical score out of 5.00, and/or as stars. Renters can benefit from long-term rentals. If a rental went 2 years or longer, then the renter benefits from adjusted scoring as the dollar amount of charges reduces the score per this ratio: a charge equal to 1% of the monthly rent reduces the score by 0.045 (rather than 0.050). If a rental went 3 years or longer, then the renter benefits from a bigger adjustment: a charge equal to 1% of the monthly rent reduces the score by only 0.040. If the security deposit is inadequate and/or the charges result in an unsatisfied collections action then additional notices may appear. Accounts that are not collected in a timely fashion may result in a deeper reduction in the score.
Property Rating and Landlord Rating: History on an individual rental will ultimately appear with a GREEN ("POSITIVE"), GRAY ("NEUTRAL"), or RED ("NEGATIVE") rating. The overall score is the average of individual rentals and appears as a score out of 5.00 that is shown numerically, as stars, or both. To encourage quick turn-around, if the property inputs all information within 20 days of a lease ending, a bonus of 0.10 is given, increasing the maximum score to 5.10. While a property/landlord has leeway with lease-end charges, unpaid rent is viewed as a one-sided failing of the renter. Therefore, if there is a charge for unpaid rent, it will not negatively impact the associated property or landlord score.
Note that the grading system is subject to change. If a property were to drop out of OpenProperty prior to posting all information on a lease, then there would not be a complete record with a grade for that lease.
A lease will receive a rating as soon as it has been concluded in our system – the rental is over and the landlord enters the required resolution data into our system. This rating will be reflected in a renter's account immediately. The rating will not be reflected in a landlord's public profile immediately, rather history will be released in batches to maintain renter anonymity and at that time the overall grade will be updated accordingly.
Our default setting for renter profiles is to erase history and the associated rating that posted more than 7 years ago. Also note that a property may discontinue participation in OpenProperty, for example a property may be sold and new management may not like OpenProperty. If this occurs, you will receive more limited reporting that is likely to not include a rating.
For participating leases, landlords are required to report any money charged to the renter after move-out that was deducted out of the security deposit or could lawfully be deducted out of a security deposit. If the security deposit was inadequate, the property may also report if charges were paid or went into collections.
There is an exception for utility charges that are expected to be billed after the lease ends. At certain properties, the landlord is billed regularly for a utility like electric and will then pass the bill to the renter on a regular basis. Naturally, the final bill or bills will not be received until after move-out. Properties that engage in this practice will report such charges to OpenProperty but will have an additional means of qualifying them so as to not lower the renter score or the landlord score. However, if a renter does not pay the bill and it goes into collections it may negatively impact scores.
No, with two exceptions. See utility charges in the prior item. Also, if you and the landlord resolve a charge prior to move-out it should not appear in our system. For example, if you put a hole in your wall you could settle the matter with your landlord (pay for the repair) prior to move-out.
Currently, our service area is the United States. Use our search feature to find participating properties.
We are designed for all types of landlords – large, small, annual, short-term, vacation – who might benefit from the transparency offered by our service and the ability to acknowledge desirable residents. In other words, we are a good fit for landlords who want to do right by tenants.
We currently do not have applications for iOS/Android, but our site is mobile-friendly and easy to use in any mobile browser. Look for OpenProperty profiles through our site or through popular search engines.