Even before the pandemic, many Americans struggled to afford rent, collectively paying landlords billions in late fees each year. On average, 3.6 million eviction cases are filed each year, and 1.5 million Americans end up being evicted.
A startup called Till is tackling one part of the problem: Since tenants often don’t have enough money at the beginning of the month when rent is due, the company creates a custom payment schedule that lets someone pay as money comes in.
“Many renters pay 35-50% of their net income on rent, and have limited cash savings—usually less than a month’s rent in savings,” says David Sullivan, founder and CEO of Till. “So if a hiccup occurs, rent gets challenged. They have highly volatile incomes. Many renters are hourly workers, and work gig economy jobs as a side hustle. They’re putting things together to make ends meet . . . And when you look at the landlord ecosystem, landlords have inflexibly structured everything.” For most tenants, rent is due on the first of the month. Late fees happen around the fifth of the month, and evictions are filed on the 15th.