We’ve had some smart people ask us this question directly or indirectly, so I thought it was important to put this out there as early as possible and repeat it as often as needed:
Whose side are we on? Our members.
That’s not a too-cute cop-out. It’s the central crux of our idea. We want to establish ourselves as the trusted service for both landlords and tenants. We do that by creating value for all of our members. We create value by having all parties buy into who we are and what we do.
We make it easier for landlords and tenants to do what they have always done – communicate, exchange payments, service maintenance requests, and find each other. Instead of relying on middlemen or disorganized direct communications, we offer one solution that both parties can use to stay on top of their relationship.
Our singular innovation, however, is that we make all of those interactions useful by tracking them for each party. We create shared transparency and accountability around these common points of interaction by building a wealth of useful data that both parties have access to.
By tracking these interactions, both tenants and landlords can benefit from the trust that builds over the course of their relationship. It gives both sides credit for doing what they have always done. The best part is - this record can help both parties with finding their next tenant and landlord and so on and so on.
Sometimes it’s not always that frictionless. Someone forgets to pay rent on time. Someone forgets to check on a clogged bathtub. These things happen because we’re human beings.
We get that and that’s why we don’t believe in assigning vague ratings to these interactions. We're not trying to be the Yelp for housing. We’re also not here to assign blame or moralize one or both parties’ actions. We track the interactions that occur with everyday living and share that data with both sides. We think that will lead to better relationships and more trust.
If a conflict arises, and sometimes it does even when both parties are operating in good faith, we let both sides work it out through the proper framework, based on the same shared data. We defined a clear strike zone for everybody – we just call balls and strikes.