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Canadian Innovation

How SingleKey Is Enhancing Rental Safety for Landlords and Tenants

SingleKey offers services to give landlords and tenants more protection and peace of mind, lowering their financial risk in the rental market.

Landlords and tenants in Canada face challenging times in the midst of a housing crisis, and with cost certainty top of mind, SingleKey says it has the keys to manage the risks involved.


It’s fairly standard for landlords to screen tenants through background and credit checks, except landlord and tenant boards continue to wade through backlogs to address unresolved disputes, while non-paying renters make headlines. SingleKey offers thorough digital screening, rent collection, and financial guarantees to protect those leasing properties, including what it calls a Rent Guarantee.

If tenants stop paying rent, the guarantee entitles landlords to up to 12 months of lost rental income, in addition to covering property damage and legal assistance. The Rent Guarantee starts at five per cent of the monthly rent as a premium from the landlord to provide the coverage.

“Small landlords don’t want to sell a property because there’s home equity there, but they’re also afraid of putting it on the market when they’ve heard all the horror stories,” says Viler Lika, Founder and CEO of SingleKey. “We’re trying to bring technology to mom and pop investors and incentivize those who could lease a property, be it a home, condo, basement, or room — basically putting training wheels on their first experience as a landlord.”

SingleKey has serviced 120,000 homeowners and over 500,000 tenants, all of whom provide the company with the data necessary to offer more transparency to landlord and tenant alike, Lika adds. That also goes for realtors and property managers.

A guarantor for tenants

SingleKey can also help tenants better communicate their candidacy. One path is a digital Universal Rental Application with a full credit report that homeowners and tenants can access anytime, eliminating the need to fill out multiple applications for each rental unit.

The other is an underwriting tool called a Tenant Passport, which enables SingleKey to act as a guarantor by co-signing a tenant’s lease.

“If you’re not a triple A tenant, have lower income or a lower credit score, and have a hard time getting approved, we’ll sign your lease as your local guarantor guaranteeing loss, legal fees, and damages to the landlord, making them comfortable to rent to you without asking for 12 months rent upfront,” says Lika. “This will cost you between 5 to 10 per cent of your rent — so about one month’s rent total (annually) — which helps avoid making rental approval a binary ‘yes or no’ process.”

Transparency for newcomers

This can also apply to immigrants coming to Canada who are sometimes considered high-risk tenants due to murky or non-existent credit history, says MacKenzie Wilson, Director of Customer Engagement at SingleKey. SingleKey partnered with California-based Nova Credit to form a credit bureau that underwrites the former’s International Credit Check.

Newcomers looking to live in Canada from over 13 countries (Australia, Austria, Germany, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom) can pay a one-time fee to translate their local credit history through SingleKey to fit Canadian standards, thereby cutting down costs and qualification time for all involved.

“We cover 80 per cent of all new Canadian applications,” says Wilson. “These applicants should qualify much faster to get into their rental and keep more of that money in their pocket so they can start their new life here in Canada.”

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