RealPage

Richardson-based RealPage will pay $3 million to settle FTC charges that found their tenant screening software misidentified potential renters as criminals.

It’s a problem that people with common last names face often: being mistaken for another with the same name and birthdate. But Richardson-based RealPage, which provides tenant screening information to landlords and property managers, ran into trouble when the FTC found their tenant screening software misidentified potential renters as criminals, who then were turned down for housing. 

RealPage will pay $3 million, the largest civil penalty to date, to settle FTC charges that allege they violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of tenant screening information provided to its clients. 

“You shouldn’t get turned down for an apartment because someone has the wrong information about you,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in a Oct. 16 statement. “This case shows that, especially with today’s tight rental market, we will hold tenant screening companies responsible for the accuracy of their reports.” (more…)

DFW rent prices

If it feels like you’re paying a lot for rent, you’re probably right: huge demand for DFW apartments in 2016, coupled with a shortage of supply, has pushed rents and building occupancy to record levels.

DFW rent prices are now averaging almost $1,100 a month, according to MPF Research. Add to that a vacancy rate of under 4 percent, and you’ve got demand at an all-time high. The past year’s demand total for apartments in North Texas jumped to 27,120 units, up sharply from the 2015 volume of about 17,000 units.

Fort Worth ranked sixth in the nation for rent increases in 2016, going up 6.7 percent over the previous year. Dallas was close behind, at number 11, with a 6 percent increase over 2015.

“With out apartment clients, we’re getting a lot of people relocating who are unsure if they want to buy or not,” said David Maez, co-founder of Vivo Realty Group. “I think we going to see competitive rent prices continue, even with the inventory that’s coming up.”

There are now almost 50,000 apartments under construction in North Texas, which is about 9 percent of nation’s building activity. That’s the country’s biggest block of product on the way by a large percentage, according to RealPage. About 29,000 of those apartments scheduled for completion in 2017.

“Dallas-Fort Worth is the country’s top spot for apartment demand by a huge margin, which speaks to the strength of the local job market and household formation pace,” said RealPage chief economist Greg Willett. “There’s a great mix of expansion in both the urban core and the suburbs.”

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John Backes and Candy Evans at a January RealTech event in Deep Ellum. Photo: Candy Evans

John Backes and Candy Evans at a January RealTech event in Deep Ellum. Photo: Candy Evans

Tuesday night, 200 people gathered at RealTech Dallas for a big announcement for Dallas real estate professionals.

John Backes, a young real estate entrepreneur and innovator, is launching Texas’ only real estate technology accelerator this fall. The MOTIVE Accelerator Program will fund selected commercial real estate (CRE) technology start-ups, as well as provide mentoring through a program oriented around customer and product development. The program is accepting applications for its first class to launch this fall.

“Dallas is the best place in the world to innovate at the intersection of real estate and technology,” said Backes, MOTIVE Partners President (we will be profiling him here on CandysDirt tomorrow, so be sure to check back!). “Two of the top five real estate CRMs are based in Dallas. RealPage is here. CBRE Innovation Lab is here. JLL [Jones Lang LaSalle] tech group is here. Trammell Crow is here. Dozens of startups are here. Dallas real estate tech is one of the great untold stories of our city.”

MOTIVE will fund up to 10 selected commercial real estate technology start-ups each year, investing approximately $40,000 in each venture. Applications are open now, on a rolling basis, with increasingly active interest from both start-ups and industry veterans.

“We really are interested in the best teams, reflecting what is important to us: intensive focus on the lean entrepreneurial process, a strong and cohesive team, a give-before-you-get mentality, and strong desire to change the built environment,” said Backes.

Applicants for the MOTIVE Accelerator Program will be asked to supply detailed information on their organization’s founders, who their target customers are, and what problem their products will solve. They must also provide details on how they are organized and what existing funds are in place.

Acceptance into an accelerator is a huge boost for entrepreneurs, and these organizations have been growing steadily in the last five years. Forbes found more than 200 accelerators when ranking the best for 2015. Research mentioned in the article found that accelerators can increase early stage capital in a region by 13 times, and serve to attract more entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors.

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