Interview with Koray Can Oztekin
Q: Koray what’s the 20 second booth pitch and how are you different from other rent payment platforms?
A: We’re a flexible rent payment platform that eliminates late payments. Residents can pay as much as $150 for late payments and landlords can lose a good chunk of their margins because of the operational cost of managing late payments. We are fixing this by covering the residents on the first of the month and receiving their rent in smaller payments when they get paid.
Q: Ok, well, talk to us about the financial health of residents and why that’s important?
A: 25% of the renting families are in core housing need and more than 50% of the renting households are living paycheck to paycheck. These folks are vulnerable to life events: loss of employment, reduced hours, unexpected health issues. So they don’t always get to make their biggest expense, rent, during that time.
When this happens they don’t have good options to turn to:
1) predatory lenders or
2) deal with overdrafts, late fees in case of rent.
This further worsens their financial health leading to repeat late rent payments and potentially to eviction. Good people shouldn’t have to leave and we are partnering with landlords to improve the financial health of their residents.
Q: So, coming out from all the government mandates and now into high inflation our industry is being negatively affected – Koray, what late payment trends are you seeing these days?
A: As the number of families in core housing need increases, we are seeing an increase in late payments as well. Given a more risk averse credit environment, we are seeing a reduced number of options for the residents to catch up on their rent payments. Because of this we are seeing a greater operational overhead to manage late payments while straining the relationship with the residents.
Q: Alright – how much can a late payment cost a tenant?
A: Insanely high, things can really add up. With pandemic pre-authorized debit became the most common payment method. This means greater risk of bank overdraft fees that can be as high as $48. On top of that landlords can charge between $50-$100 overdrafts fees. When you add late fees on top of that one can pay as high $150 for an average of $1,200 rent.
Q: Well, now that rents are finally increasing – are you seeing any groups disproportionately affected – and how can property managers maintain on time rent payments during these transitioning times?
A: Visible minority groups are almost twice as likely to be in core housing need. To help their communities it is now more important than ever to offer flexible payment solutions that match the cashflow timing of their residents.
Q: Before we go is there anything else you’d like to mention?
A: Financially healthier residents create happier and healthier communities. So housing affordability issue is a healthcare issue as well: low-income unstable household is 2X more likely to be in fair or poor health than those in stable housing, and almost 3X more likely to report depressive symptoms. I think we are all responsible for taking care of our communities.
Philipp Postrehovsky | Zenbase COO
Philipp is a marketing leader, brand builder and product visionary who has been involved in the fintech scene for over 17 years. In 2013 he co-founded RentMoola, which continues to be one of North America's leading fintech companies with the mission to eliminate the rent cheque and modernize rent collection for the enterprise. Before that, he was a marketing leader for Mogo Technologies, Wonga Canada and began his career at Electronic Arts. Most recently he was SVP, Marketing at Progressa and VP, Digital Marketing at goeasy. He founded Grind For Kids, a program that raised over $1 million for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and is a mentor to new entrepreneurs.