A new report predicts the technology that will be at the heart of the rental industry in years to come - and it's one that is already revolutionising they way money is tracked and transferred.
Blockchain, a collection of digital ledgers that updates through a peer-to-peer communication, has risen in popularity over the last year mostly through cryptocurrency, but one report details how technology can adapted to the rental market.
Outlined in the Understanding the Disruptive Technology Ecosystem in Australian Urban and Housing Contexts: A Roadmap report by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, blockchain has potential to improve tenant-landlord relationships.
The report mentioned online rental application forms, using 1Form as an example, and how their usefulness could be enhanced through blockchain.
“In that case, there could be a full ledger of the applicant’s rental records, their correspondence with the agents and landlords, if they had been in arrears, their bond lodgements, etc.,” the report noted.
“Such clear ledgering can potentially replace the need for references as the applicants’ full rental history is available for view.
“Conversely, however, this may also potentially disadvantage vulnerable individuals in private rentals, particularly if they had trouble keeping up with rental payments due to unstable employment, or if they have special needs (such as grab rails and level access that may require some modification to the dwelling) that some landlords may discriminate against.”
Ledgers could also be made available for a landlord’s history, which could contain how quickly they responded to repair requests, if they have a habit of raising rents, if they were taken to a tribunal and what the outcomes were.
The reason for keeping these ledgers transparent between tenant and landlord also has the potential to improve how the private rental sector functions, the report noted.
The report added there would need to be legislative safeguards in place that protect the privacy of all parties involved.
“While it is important to protect tenants’ privacy and identity, provisions must be made to include clauses where, with tenants’ permission, such information can be shared in the context of tenancy transfer and linking up with necessary services,” the report stated.