Everything you need to know

+ How is an Obligo Billing Authorization different from a traditional deposit?

With a traditional deposit, the resident pays a large sum in advance, before there’s any actual reason for charging such an amount. With an Obligo Billing Authorization, the resident is only charged if and when the property manager has a claim.

+ How is an Obligo Billing Authorization similar to a standard deposit?
  • It’s usually the same size
  • It’s as good as cash from the property manager’s perspective
  • It gives the resident an incentive to take good care of the apartment, because it’s the resident who is required to pay if there’s a claim.
  • It enjoys the same legal protection. Money should not be claimed for fair wear and tear, and residents can dispute claims exactly like they would with a cash deposit (e.g. small claims court)
+ When does an Obligo Billing Authorization expire?

Obligo will always require confirmation from the property manager that the lease has ended before releasing the authorization. Charges are typically made after the lease-end date, because it naturally takes some time to assess the condition of the property before deciding on the final charged amount. Obligo gives notices, reminders and phone calls to owners and managers in order to make sure that billing authorizations are released in a reasonable amount of time.

+ Do owners and managers go through a qualification process?

Yes. First, Obligo will perform basic KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti Money Laundering) protocols, to ensure the legitimacy of the property manager and the associated legal entities.

In addition, Obligo will need to to know the property manager’s resident screening criteria, as well as the property manager’s deposit deduction history, to make sure that they meet the Obligo standards.

+ Do residents go through a qualification process?

To qualify for an Obligo billing authorization, residents will first need to meet the individual property manager’s screening criteria. In addition to meeting those criteria, Obligo will require that the resident provides authorization to one or more billing methods. Obligo typically requires both a credit card (not debit) and a US bank account.

Obligo will connect to your billing methods and run a series of tests to make sure that sufficient funds are available on them. During the sign up process, Obligo will never charge your billing methods, nor ‘lock’ your funds, nor influence your credit score in any way.

+ What if the terms of the lease change?

It’s easy to edit the billing authorization’s size, lease-start and lease-end dates. Some changes, such as an increase in billing authorization’s size, would naturally require the resident’s consent.

+ Does Obligo require proof of damage before approving claims? How are disputes handled?

As a policy, Obligo does not take sides in disputes and plays no role in assessing claim correctness or fairness. However, Obligo believes it is essential that residents have a fair chance to dispute unreasonable claims.

While Obligo always pays the property manager for claims right away, residents who intend to dispute claims may ask for their repayment to be deferred. Obligo’s intention is to provide sufficient time for residents to either discuss the claim with their property manager or to formally dispute the claim.

Residents have the legal right to dispute a claim and they may do so in accordance to local laws and practices, just like they would have been able to do with a normal deposit. In most states this can be done by filing a claim through a small claims court.

Above all, Obligo encourages the property manager and resident to communicate before any claim is made.

+ How does Obligo make money?

Obligo charges a monthly fee for each active billing authorization. The monthly fee depends on the size of the billing authorization, as well as on the risk profiles of both the property manager and the resident.

Obligo can charge this cost from the property manager, the resident, or a combination of both, depending on how the property manager wishes to set up the service.

Please contact our partnership team to inquire about our pricing.

+ What about Obligo’s credit risk? Who’s underwriting Obligo?

Obligo is audited by Ernst & Young and is backed by strong creditors who provide the credit facilities which backstop the residents’ obligations. Contact Us to learn more about how our owners and managers are secured.

+ Is Obligo a form of Insurance?

No, Obligo is not an insurance product but rather a credit product. If a property manager makes a claim, the property manager gets paid first, while the resident can repay in installments.

+ What if the resident simply can’t pay the claim?

Obligo always pays the property manager in full as soon as the claim is made, while the resident is able to pay in installments. Obligo assumes the credit risk and suffers the loss if the residents defaults on these installments.

+ What will my lenders or buyers think about Obligo?

With vacancies and concessions at an all time high and expected to rise further throughout 2019, the primary concern of multi-family lenders and buyers is your asset’s health. Using Obligo accelerates your lease up, drives vacancies and rent concessions downs while driving the rent roll and NOI up. This makes your asset more healthy which is great for your lenders and buyers.

Driving your rent roll and NOI up increases your property’s valuation, enabling you to sell at a higher price or get more refinancing out of it. In general, a larger refinancing deal is better for both you and your lenders.

Most lending banks require owners and managers to maintain the associated deposit accounts, including rental security deposit accounts, with the same bank. This has very little financial benefit for the bank: the security deposit accounts are labor intensive and make a negligible yield when compared to the underlying financing deal. Primarily, security deposit accounts provide banks with visibility into your assets health, and Obligo can provide the equivalent visibility if required.

If your lenders or buyers are yet unfamiliar with Obligo, our team would be delighted to present the business case to them.