Close up of woman hands filling form crossing no checkbox
Adobe Stock Close up of woman hands filling form crossing no checkbox

Knock CRM, a management platform for multifamily owners and managers, has launched an initiative to provide renters with services to overturn denied applications because of low credit, income, and eviction history. The Seattle-based firm has a goal of raising $200,000 in 2022 from employees, customers, partners, and the multifamily industry to help 10,000 families gain access to housing through its Knocking Down Housing Barriers initiative, in partnership with OneApp Guarantee, which will serve as the co-signer for the renters.

“The multifamily industry has a duty to help solve these critical housing issues and help renters access the housing they need,” said Knock CEO Demetri Themelis. “While the vetting and screening processes still need to change to be more accessible to all, our hope is that the Knocking Down Housing Barriers initiative will help this reform by enabling more families to get approved for the housing they need.”

Knock began the program internally last year, raising $26,000 to kick off the payment plan program that will aid hundreds of families, and then decided to expand it outside of the company to assist even more renters.

OneApp Guarantee co-founder Tyrone Poole said the most common approval barriers for renters include income, credit, eviction history, debt-to-income ratio, and lack of rental history. While most property management firms allow the use of a co-signer to meet these requirements, less than 2% of renters do so, according to the firms.

The funds raised by Knock and other multifamily stakeholders will allow OneApp Guarantee to offer a payment plan option so renters can make smaller monthly payments until they cover the cost of the OneApp Guarantee fee. According to the firms, if a renter defaults on their payments, the community-raised funds will cover the difference instead of putting their lease at risk.

“We receive over 1,000 denied renters per month looking to participate in our program,” said Poole. “Unfortunately, we are unable to overturn 80% of these denials because the applicants are unable to pay the full one-time fee required to guarantee our housing providers upfront. Working with the Knocking Down Housing Barriers initiative, we’re able to launch a payment plan for these renters so they can pay the fee in installments.”