U.S. residential rental site Zumper has rolled out an in-app chat tool to connect prospective renters with landlords and property managers. Zumper says the feature solves one of the industry’s biggest problems: lack of responsiveness among landlords. Zumper says the new chat tool can improve communication response rates by 30%.

“A lack of response is the single biggest and most consistent concern that we hear from renters,” said Zumper’s chief experience officer Shalin Amin. “Truthfully, the rental market is plagued with communication problems. Unanswered emails, lost applications, and ghosting have created an endless cycle of disappointment for both renters and leasing partners alike. And yet no one in the industry has created a solution that adequately addresses these issues.” 

The chat feature, available for desktop and mobile apps and free-of-charge to landlords and renters, smooths communication “from the initial point of contact, through submitting an application,” Zumper’s announcement states.

Zumper claims to be the third-largest rental platform in the U.S., presumably behind Apartments.com, owned by CoStar, and RentPath, acquired in April by Redfin

Although Zumper calls the chat feature an “industry first,” Apartments.com rolled out a similar add-on last year, Virtual Leasing Office. Although primarily a video-conferencing tool, it includes chat capability and a way for renters and property managers to exchange documents. 

Meanwhile, RentPath offers property managers a product called Media Center Pro that facilitates communication with prospective renters and current renters.

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