2018 Champion City

Elk Grove, CA : 2018 Champion City

Making the Rental Housing Application Process Simple and Affordable

  • 171,059

  • Steve Ly

  • Directly Elected Mayor

    Type of Mayor
  • 2 years

    Length of Term
  • Inequality

    Issue Area

The Problem

Ninety-seven percent of the city’s low-income residents pay more than 30 percent of their income in housing and are even more burdened, when it comes time to move, by the high cost of rental applications and a disjointed process.

The Idea

The City of Elk Grove will create a universal standardized rental application process that matches applicants with homes for which they meet the landlord’s minimum requirements, such as salary and credit score, thus reducing the time, cost and effort needed to find housing.

What Mayor Steve Ly is saying:

By improving the rental-application process, we could assist nearly 1,000 lower-income households in our city every year—and create a blueprint that could help countless others throughout the country.

Steve Ly, Mayor of Elk Grove, CA

Our Prototyping Journey

    Let's Go

  • Elk Grove will engage landlords, property managers, prospective renters and applicants to test a universal standardized rental application process. It will focus on the automated application process specifically for (but not limited to) low-income residents.

    Our idea will positively impact renters and landlords by cutting the time they spend on applications and the cost of applying and reviewing them.

    Sarah Bontrager, Housing and Public Services Manager
  • Ideas into action

  • One thing we're learning through testing

    Originally, the Elk Grove team thought that their rental application system would do everything (such as creating the lease and taking payments). As they have moved through the testing process, they are getting a better understanding of their user’s needs, as well as understanding what’s viable. The team is focusing more on their core proposition: making a positive introduction between the landlord and the applicant, and ensuring the application process does this well.

    The idea started as this big, hairy thing, but it’s on a leash now and it’s tamed a little bit. Next we get it to walk, then run, then do some tricks.

    Christopher Jordan, Assistant to the City Manager