ORLANDO, Fla. – Between application fees, first month’s rent, last month’s rent and a security deposit, the cost of moving to a new apartment in the Orlando area can quickly add up.
That’s why Rhino is helping to save renters cash by giving them the option to pay a monthly premium for security deposit insurance rather than paying hundreds of dollars up front for a traditional security deposit.
Rhino co-founder and CEO Paraag Sarva said he helped launch the company in 2017 because he understands the financial burden put on renters and wanted them to have a choice.
“The trends really continue to show that home prices and the cost of living across the United States continues to outstrip wage growth, which means that the 110 million renters are getting more and more squeezed by the day, certainly by the year, and we’ve certainly seen over the last year and a half what COVID-19 has done to that also, further exacerbating those trends,” Sarva said.
Since Rhino launched in Central Florida in 2019, it has paired up with 10,500 apartment complexes across the region to let new renters decide themselves whether they want to pay the security deposit up front, which could be several hundred dollars or more, or allow them to make a smaller monthly payment to Rhino.
In the Orlando metro area, the average cost for Rhino’s services is $21 per month or $261 up front.
The caveat, though, is that Rhino’s monthly premium isn’t refundable the same way a security deposit would be for those who finish out their lease without any issues.
“What they do get, though, is a little bit of peace of mind around how, you know, issues are going to be handled,” Sarva said. “So we do review every single claim. Let’s say there is an issue that happens, you know, at the end of the lease where there’s some unforeseen circumstances, we do work through that for every individual renter.”
He said renters save about one third or even half of their up-front move-in costs by opting for Rhino.
“We’ve saved renters... well over $300 million. That’s real money that’s going back to help renters for saving, investing, paying off other loans, you know, food, travel... a whole range of things because it’s really around just giving people back their money and giving them choices for how they want to spend it,” Sarva said.
He sees this as part of a larger emerging trend where companies will give power back to the consumer to choose how they want to spend their cash.
He described Rhino as a win-win because it gives renters the option to save money and it makes properties more desirable because they can advertise lower move-in costs to make them more competitive.
Rhino has properties in 46 states as of now and is working with about 1.5 million properties nationwide. He expects those numbers to expand in the coming years, especially with the population growth Orlando is experiencing.
“So the rental market, we expect to continue to strengthen and expand as it has been and we anticipate that as this shift around greater transparency and efficiency and just a really customer-driven mentality comes to the rental industry overall, the way things will work is, you know, deposits will be handled by insurance the vast majority of the time and cash deposits will be the exception,” Sarva said.
In order to sign up, a new renter must be moving into one of the 10,500 apartment complexes in Central Florida that has partnered with Rhino and get policy information from the leasing office. That means tenants are only eligible to sign up if their housing complex offers Rhino as a service.
For more information about Rhino, click here.