ABOUT CONSUMERS AFFAIRS VICTORIA
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) is a business unit of the Department of Justice & Regulation, within the Victorian government. It is Victoria’s consumer affairs regulator, helping Victorians to be responsible and informed businesses and consumers.
The RentRight app was originally created to provide information and tools to help renters in Victoria manage their tenancy. It provided renters with useful information about topics such as repairs, rent costs, the condition report, and getting the bond back. It also educated renters on their rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Outware Mobile was commissioned by Consumer Affairs Victoria to update the app and extend its functionality to make it a useful tool for property owners and managers as well as renters.
The vision for this app was to create a great user experience so that renters, property owners and managers can perform previously paper-based tasks in the app more efficiently and more easily than before.
To begin the process, Outware Mobile conducted a code review of the existing app. This process allowed us to consider the technical design of the app and how new features can be implemented in the most effective and efficient way.
Next, a new user interface and navigation flow was created for the app, bringing the visual design up to date with modern conventions while making the experience more intuitive and engaging for the user.
The new design of the app also makes the app more accessible and inclusive than before, so that it can be used by all Victorians. To do this, we made the app compliant with the native mobile equivalent to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) AA standards. This ensures that people with visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities and impairments have the opportunity to access and use the app.
The app update included many new features, such as:
- Generation of condition, inspection and exit condition reports, allowing users to assess each room in a property, add photos and generate a PDF report
- Email templates for landlords
- Profile management
- Property management
- Compliance with AA accessibility standards
In this project, Outware Mobile was responsible for delivering the following services:
- UX & Visual Design
- iOS Development
- Android Development
- Project Management
- Quality Assurance and Testing
USER FEEDBACK: LANDLORD
Meg Downie a landlord with three investment properties in Richmond, Vermont, Donvale is now successfully using the RentRight app on her Android smartphone to manage the properties herself.
Meg purchased her first investment property back in 1978 and for many years had to rely on assistance from real estate agents, accountants and conveyancers to help with managing the properties. She wanted to find a way to make the process more affordable and to be able to complete tasks herself.
The updated app now enables Victorian landlords to easily and quickly generate condition, inspection and exit reports, use the camera to take real-time photos of the property and access useful calculators and email templates.
According to Meg, what she likes most about the RentRight app is that once she has entered her tenant’s details they are easily accessible whenever she needs them. “Before the app, I had to go through paper based files to find their details. Now everything is in one place and being on my phone, the information is accessible wherever I need it,” she says.
Meg says the pro forma forms and email templates in the app make the process of managing her three properties much simpler. “If I need to reach a tenant I use the email templates in the app to save time,” she says.
Meg intends to continue using RentRight to assist with managing her investment properties. “I strongly recommend that anyone looking to make the most of their investment download the app and get started today,” she says.
USER FEEDBACK: TENANT
Sarah McPherson is in her third year of a Bachelor of Communications – Public Relations Degree at Swinburne University of Technology. In early 2013, she began applying for rental properties to move from Mansfield to Melbourne to commence her university studies.
Since first moving out of home to undertake her university placement, Sarah has moved three times. Each time she undertook the process in the manual way filling in applications at real estate offices and making phone calls to find out if she was successful.
In February 2015, Sarah found the RentRight app on the Consumer Affairs Victoria Facebook page and knew she had found her solution, immediately downloading it onto her iPhone 5. “Consumer Affairs had put up a couple of posts about how it would help new renters, and I had just moved into a new apartment so I thought it would be helpful for me. As soon as I downloaded it I started checking out all the features,” she reports.
With the app, Victorian renters can send template emails on issues such as repairs and ending the lease, get important information on their rights and responsibilities, calculate how much a week’s rent is per fortnight, calendar month, six-monthly and yearly and budget for their move using a moving-in cost calculator. They can also take and send photographs of the property.
Sarah enthuses that she finds the budgeting aspect of the app the most helpful. “I love using the budget tools and also using the app to help write emails to my landlord. It’s very useful when you’re frustrated about something and trying to write an email in a professional manner to solve the issue,” she says.
Sarah is planning on moving from her current rental, a ground level apartment with a courtyard in Hawthorn, at the end of this year and plans to use the RentRight app to help with her next rental application. “I will definitely use the app to apply for new rentals now I know how helpful it can be,” she says.
Sarah highly recommends anyone renting to download the app. “It’s a great application. It gives you up to date information on the rental process and templates to help you write emails and letters and fill in application forms. It also replaces all the phone calls you make to your parents when you first move out and realise there is actually a lot involved in living without them,” she says.