Overview

This application is a home renting application which is meant to connect university students with landlords. This application makes student lending simple by connecting students directly with private landlords through a simple, secure and attractive mobile app.

The Challenge

Our main challenge was to build a mobile application that effectively handles the house renting in order to overcome the common problems of disputes about amenities, deposits and tenant liability. Our team had to build an application that connects university students with the private landlords.

Our main objectives were:

  • Manage the user types so that the university students and the landlords can use the same app.
  • Create a document verification system for landlords in order to permit them to publish the homes.
  • Post the homes with the location, description, price details, amenities and pictures by landlords.
  • List Out the homes based on the user location.
  • Proper management of requests for home from students the acceptance or declination from landlords.
  • Properly managing the rent agreement with validity details.
  • Create a payment system to manage the tenant occupancy in the landlord home.
  • Implement a rating system for both the students and landlords.
  • Create a proper communication channel between students and landlords.

The Process

In order to solve the objectives for the mobile application, our team decided to build it on native android. The primary objective was to provide a user friendly experience to the users. For that the application must be very simple but should deal with all the concerns of tenants and landlords. 

In order to achieve the objective we used:

User Verification Process

To effectively handle the users in the system, a verification process needed for both the user types. For the landlords, 2 steps of verification was to be made mandatory i.e. email verification and document verification in order to publish the homes. We have used is_verified status to make a landlord eligible for posting the homes. This verification status is managed by combining document verification status and the email verification status. Id proof, House Insurance, Home Ownership Certificate of landlords are stored in the server. After the admin verification is completed, this status will be changed. If the email verification is already done, then the landlord could be able to publish the homes. Tenants in this application are university students and so the university related student information has been stored along with the  university email id in the database. The admin verifies the university student and then the status is changed. Then a verified student was able to request for particular homes from a list of nearby homes.

Quickblox Chat

We needed a chat service to communicate with the tenants and to participate in the group chat of a particular home. When a home request is accepted and the terms & conditions are agreed between student and the landlord, students are allowed to become a tenant. One tenant needs to be part of the group communication channel and one to one chat with the landlord. We used the quickblox chat service on which customizations were made to satisfy our needs. Quickblox chat session needs a logged in state of qbusers. This qbuser is generated by the signing process by using a qb id and a password. Since this qb_id generation at the front end is overhead, we decided to create a unique qb_id in the backend server that immediately responds after a user registers in the app. In order to use the abilities of QuickBlox SDK, we need to authorize our app on the server, log in to the user account and create a chat session. When a student/tenant enters the chat screen, they were assigned a common password and the unique qb_id in order to login into the chat account. As a result one qbuser is generated. Having connected to QuickBlox server and authorized with a user, a chat server connection was established with chat module functionality. Then we created a chat dialog to fetch the recipient list and previous conversations of one to one chat and group chat. Thus each student could connect with the landlord and other tenants with group chat. This chat sdk has no inbuilt support for encryption. We had implemented a custom algorithm for encryption of the data.

Technology Stack

  • Native Android
  • FireBase Service
  • Stripe Payment Gateway

The Result

We managed the verification process effectively with supporting docs and email verification. Our team implemented the home publishing, request for homes and accepting the requests with support of Firebase Push Notification Service. The integration of Stripe payment gateway made it easier to handle the payment flow for next time payments. Through the custom Quickblox chat students are able to communicate directly with the landlords and in the group. Overall we made an app that made it easier for the users at both ends get their needs done without any hassle

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