Toronto landlord tenant

Toronto startup is trying to help landlords find reliable tenants

Toronto has its fair share of questionable landlords, but finding a good tenant can be tough, too.

With the Landlord and Tenant Board in shambles, small landlords are left with few solutions when tenants stop paying rent, terrorize their neighbours, or leave a rental in disrepair.

But a Toronto-based startup is trying to "take the risk out of renting" by helping landlords find reliable tenants.

SingleKey allows landlords to screen prospective tenants by running a credit check, criminal record check, and social media scan, and provides information on employment, rental, and financial history.

Rental payments made through SingleKey's payment processing app are reported to credit bureaus, "incentivizing" tenants to pay on time.

If tenants stop paying rent altogether, the company's Rent Guarantee program provides landlords with guaranteed rental income for up to 12 months, as well as legal assistance and property damage protection.

The program fees start at 5 per cent of a unit's monthly rent. To qualify, rent cannot exceed 45 per cent of a tenant's gross household income, and they must have no eviction or bankruptcy on their credit report in the last three years. 

With its recent aquisition of Naborly, a competitor founded in Toronto, SingleKey's user base will expand significantly as it absorbs the former's customers.

Naborly functions similarly to SingleKey, providing tenant screening services and background checks to landlords while helping tenants improve their credit scores with their monthly rent payments.

"The merging of our product, which has experienced 300% year-over-year growth since we launched it, with an industry pioneer like Naborly’s best-in-class screening data, technology, and AI provides a holistic solution to our half a million customers and over 1.5 million rental units nationwide," said Viler Lika, CEO of SingleKey, in a Business Wire release.

While landlords have resources like SingleKey to weed out unruly tenants, renters have their own means of vetting landlords.

Toronto-based Good Neighbour allows tenants to rate and review their past landlords, and there are supposedly improvements coming to RentSafeTO, a bylaw enforcement program that ensures landlords comply with building maintenance standards.

Toronto is also considering a vacancy control program that would limit how much a landlord can raise a unit's rent between tenants. 

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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