Chicago renters can now use an app to determine if an apartment is up to code for their living standards.
A new apartment inspection app RentSpek, set to launch Thursday for iPhone users, allows renters to conduct an inspection of homes and apartments for rent, helping them avoid potential problems they may not have noticed.
The free app, developed by Chicago’s Landlord Advisor LLC, is designed to “increase transparency in the rental process” and "help tenants rent with confidence," according to founder Phil Castello.
“The RentSpek app has been a long time coming,” Castello said in a statement. “It’s a tool that renters can keep in their pocket to make sure the houses or apartments they’re considering don’t run the risk of falling apart during their lease.”
The app guides users room by room during an apartment tour and prompts them to answer questions, which it uses to calculate the property’s “integrity.” A user can also add notes or pictures using their phone’s camera.
Landlord Advisor claims the app grades properties using a “unique scoring system based on issues that could arise during a short-term living situation.”
In all, the inspection process is expected to take less than 20 minutes, and users can revisit RentSpek reports to compare different properties.
Castello said the long-term plan for RentSpek is to provide crowd sourced information for rental listings on other apartment search websites and a certification feature allowing landlords to show that their property is “RentSpek Certified.”
“We’re only marketing in Chicago right now, so we’re not talking astronomical numbers yet. But as more people see what this app is capable of, I think it will become a standard tool for apartment hunters,” Castello said.
RentSpek is available on web-enabled devices at RentSpek.com. The iPhone app debuts in the iTunes App Store Thursday and the team hopes to launch an Android version later this year.