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Applicant screening and leasing moves online.

Leading building owners and leasing managers in New York City are upgrading to the Web-based tools powered by On-Site Manager, inc., a company offering an applicant screening and leasing system called RentalExpress.com.

The product streamlines the functions that a leasing manager typically performs to process rental applications, including performing background checks and producing lease documents.

"Most rental offices are leasing units the same way they did years ago, which can lead to inconsistency, unnecessary risks, and wasted time," says Jake Harrington, On-Site Manager's business development manager. "Our technology makes managers more efficient, and our service helps them make smarter leasing decisions."

The application process in New York is especially laborious and paperwork-intensive. To screen prospects, landlords have typically relied on faxed credit reports or raw data from national tenant-screening providers. Some high-end buildings wait for local screening companies to verify prospects' references, which can take up to a week. Producing leases involves redundant typing (sometimes still on typewriters), compiling sets of riders, and calculating legal rents, concessions, and other tricky formulas.

The RentalExpress.com system automates the process, eliminating redundant data entry, ensuring that only applicants meeting the landlord's criteria are accepted, and guaranteeing that precise leasing paperwork prints. An application fee covers the cost. Forward-thinking companies appreciate the capabilities that an integrated system like On Site Manager's allows--emailing leases, accepting applications online, and automatically tracking applicant traffic.

Tenant-screening methods have made headlines lately. Several articles in the New York Times have highlighted the use of housing court filings to screen against "problem tenants" whose previous landlords have sued them.

On-Site Manager's database of court records is updated nightly in the five boroughs. The company claims that these records are the best predictor of future tenant performance.

"Our studies show that over half the tenants with a housing court record will end up in court again," Harrington says. "Would you take those odds?"

The real estate industry has been among the slowest to adopt new technology. New York City is particularly old-fashioned. On-Site Manager is betting that city landlords are due for an upgrade.

The company claims that the amount of money at stake in real estate management is huge; Harrington estimates that 5 to 7 percent of the gross annual income of a building can be saved by increases in operating efficiency as simple as using better data and automating paperwork.
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Title Annotation:On-Site Manager, inc.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 28, 2004
Words:393
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