Marist College (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 3038-3043
ISBN: 978-84-09-08619-1
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2019.0801
Conference name: 13th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 11-13 March, 2019
Location: Valencia, Spain
The influx of millennials searching for housing has led to a sharp rise in demand for rental properties. Increases in college debt, coupled with shifts in banking and mortgage practices since the financial crisis of 2008, have made it more challenging for this generation to secure a home mortgage. Thus, the demand for apartment and housing rentals has increased dramatically. While this may be good news for landlords in general, they are increasingly overwhelmed with managing rental-related logistics. The common method used to manage rental properties involves a collection of physical copies of transactions (e.g., rent payments, security deposits, contracts, documentation, etc.). The current process most landlords use to manage property rentals, which relies on physical pen-and-paper processes, is antiquated and inefficient for both landlords and renters. In short, moving to automated procedures is long overdue. This market gap provides an opportunity for a streamlined automated process that will benefit landlords and renters. Rentl addresses this market gap.

Rentl is a cloud-based property management system that provides an innovative approach to helping landlords manage the increasing volume of renters. Rentl addresses the missing link between the landlord and tenant relationship by providing an efficient method for landlords to manage properties. For each property rented, Rentl gives landlords a consolidated dashboard with a variety of functionalities and tools that provide solutions to current pen-and-paper processes. For example, the system provides tools for electronically generating and securely signing legal documents, and collecting and enforcing payments such as monthly rent, security deposits, and other fees the landlord requires. The landlord dashboard also provides tools for organizing and tracking records of maintenance, communication with renters, and financial statements. In addition, the report-builder tool provides an effortless way to compose necessary financial documents for accounting purposes. Renters have the ability to seamlessly send their rent transactions to the landlord. Rentl eliminates risk for tenants when renting properties by having a secure communication channel between renter and landlord, and also stores legal documents to cover both parties. These features for both landlords and tenants are available through an intuitive interface developed with a user-centric mindset to provide a system that is easy to understand and use. Currently in Beta, the front end interface is being developed with AngularJS, HTML5 and CSS, accompanied with a fluid back-end database system developed in NodeJS and MongoDB.

Rentl is being collaboratively developed as part of an undergraduate project experience with mentorship from faculty. Undergraduate student-learning is enhanced through active-learning projects that focus on solving real-world problems through the use of innovative technological solutions. This project has focused on the evolution of identifying a market need, researching the problem space and conducting a SWOT analysis, generating a plan for addressing the market gap using the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) as a guide for project management, conducting focus groups and documenting feedback, and developing a robust system that provides a technological solution to a real-life problem.
Cloud based system, web application, undergraduate project experience, property management dashboard.