Rentdodo makes renting safe as houses

Podcast Ep 191: Conor McGarry, founder of RentDodo, has come up with an ingenious platform that keeps renters beyond the reach of fraudsters.

People looking for homes these days have enough to contend with without having fraudsters preying on them to try and steal their deposits. And yet, we hear constantly about how renters from students to professionals have fallen victim to thieves using everything from social media to SMS to cheat them into putting deposits on bogus properties.

According to the ESRI, 29% of households are renting in Ireland. With housing demand exceeding supply, rental fraud continues to increase. This occurs when potential tenants are duped into paying deposits and additional fees for properties that don’t exist. Figures from An Garda Siochana show there was a 38% increase in accommodation fraud in Ireland alone last year.

“There’s a lot of information that agents and landlords don’t need to be asking for so we verify all of that for you”

RentoDodo is an emerging proptech start-up focused on eliminating the growing levels of rental fraud.

Founded in 2021, RentDodo enables users to manage their entire rental journey on one platform and is compliant with tenancy and data protection regulations. Free to use, it’s hoped the TenantCert feature will become the new industry standard for renters, landlords and letting agents across Ireland.

Through its TenantCert technology, both renters and landlords can verify their identities digitally, removing the hassle, paperwork and security checks involved.

TenantCert aims to help curb the growing fraud problem through its ability to verify identities, earnings and properties for all involved. 

Users of the new feature simply need to upload personal information and share their profiles through a link, no paper documents or email attachments required. It also provides income verification for property seekers to demonstrate that they can afford to pay the rent without divulging sensitive information. Users simply need to verify their monthly income using open banking, eliminating the need to share copies of payslips and bank statements.

Assurance and security


Speaking on The ThinkBusiness Podcast, RentDodo founder described what the platform does. “It is a platform to allow verification of users so that people who are at the rental application stage know they are dealing with other verified users. The ideas is to standardise the rental application process in terms of what information is shared for pre-screening purposes and setting up viewings, but also to build trust in how users interact and then tackle the rental scammers who have crept in to the market and are using various ways of tricking or coercing desperate tenant who are only trying to put a roof over their heads.”

The platform acts as a way to verify identities and establish communication and a new facet involves using open banking technologies to verify incomes without having to over-divulge information with landlords.

“We follow GDPR rules and cut down and eliminate the excessive information that has been asked of rental applicants. We ask very specific questions about your suitability to rent but we try and eliminate the excessive amounts of information being collected.

“The platform also allows users to upload rental history and references which are par for the course for the sort of information that letting agents and landlords do look for.

“But there’s a lot of information that agents and landlords don’t need to be asking for so we verify all of that for you. And for agents, from a data protection perspective, they are mean to dispose of the data after they no longer have a use for it, so with RentDodo, the data is taken care of. Access is also removed after a 30-day period, so the data is automatically taken care of from a GDPR perspective.”

McGarry’s background is in finance, property and internet marketing. “I always felt there was a need to improve the technology in the real estate space. There are a lot of proptechs out there solving different problems. I felt that the rental space was often overlooked and seen as the poor cousin when it came to real estate buying and selling of properties. But one in three households are rented.”

With the rental market clearly too big to ignore, he believes that the market is changing and has different needs. “Renting used to be seen as a stepping stone on the way to property ownership, but now you have needs that didn’t exist in Ireland before. There is huge demand from international professionals who are going to be here for a few years so they’re looking for a contract. And the process needs to be professionalised and that’s where technology can help. New regulations are coming in and renters have more rights. So technology helps to formalise all of this, put a structure on it.

“RentDodo helps put a structure on a market that has been inefficient and opaque.”

For now RentDodo is primarily focused on the Irish market. “We’re an Irish company and we’re based in Ireland. We would definitely be interested in expanding. We see opportunities in the UK, Africa, Asia and America. Verification is an issue everywhere. So we would be looking at other markets. It’s definitely a portable technology.”

New features on the horizon for RentDodo include enabling people to rent out rooms. “It’s a very unregulated area of the market and an area that’s being ignored. Yet it is the fastest growing rental sector in Ireland because there are very few full properties to rent. Again, it’s an aspect of the market that has been forgotten about by the real estate sector. So we definitely want to help people out with the verification technology because it is these areas of the market where the scammers are seeing opportunity.

“They are preying on social media groups where people post available properties and they manage the whole thing through Messenger and the potential victims don’t have a phone number or email. People need to be able to see proof of ID, proof of property ownership. Both the renters and the landlords need to be protected.

McGarry concluded: “There is a large degree of ‘buyer beware’ happening in the market at the moment. But with user verification, it helps to discourage scammers.”

John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.