Residents who skip payments, write bad checks, leave significant damage, and commit other infractions cost multifamily companies nearly $5 billion a year. At the property level, that's $3,000 to $4.000 for every incidence. And until recently, there was no easy way to access rental payment information and identify risky renters in an effort to curb those costs.

But RentBureau, an Atlanta-based agency that specializes in consumer reporting, has solved that problem. The company gathers renter data from participating property management entities every 24 hours to create standard or customized reports. These are made available at no additional charge through various screening services. Founded in 2005, RentBureau already has more than 1.5 million rental payment records in its database. Most companies already have the necessary “data use” or “data privacy” policies in place to accomodate their current operations for providing and using resident data.

“This information enables apartment managers to identify good residents, because they will be able to see payment histories and act on them accordingly,” explains RentBureau's president and CEO, Eric Hartz. “This is a first-of-its-kind opportunity for the multifamily industry to effectively leverage its own data to create significant reduction in operating expenses at no cost.” Hartz says.