New updates to the property management websites and Tenant Portal provided by Rentec Direct improve accessibility standards to assist a renter who is blind or a renter who is visually impaired.
The accessibility enhancements improve the user experience for tenants and prospective tenants who depend on assistive technology for accessing web content.
Programs like JAWS (“Job Access With Speech“) is a computer screen reader program for Microsoft Windows that allows a user who is blind or visually impaired to access a website’s content, by either providing a text-to-speech output or a refreshable Braille display.
Rentec Direct’s latest updates meet JAWS’s standards and received a 100% score on accessibility audits from popular web browsers, like Chrome and Firefox.
New Accessibility Enhancements
The accessibility updates have been deployed to your property management website, your online rental application, and the Tenant Portal.
These updates have been made available to you automatically to help you serve your tenants and prospects. You don’t need to do anything.
Most of the updates with this release affect how screen readers, like JAWS, present content to site visitors. You will also notice a few minor cosmetic updates on your websites as part of this feature enhancement.
Property Management Website Accessibility Updates
You have access to a customizable property management website with your Rentec Direct account, where you can promote your business, your properties, list your rental vacancies, and accept online rental applications.
Your current and future renters will visit your website to learn about your available properties and apply for any vacancies.
As part of this update, you might notice at the top of your website a new link that says “Skip to main content”. This skip link is useful to screen readers because they take a site visitor past the header and all the navigation links directly to the main content of the page.
The skip link is the first link on the page and can’t normally be seen until activated by tabbing through the page.
Online Rental Application Accessibility Updates
If you utilize the online rental application feature on your property management website, you can feel confident in the accessibility updates now automatically available to you and your site visitors.
When someone chooses to apply for one of your rental properties online, your online rental application will work well with a screen reader.
Tenant Portal Accessibility Updates
Your renters use the Tenant Portal to pay rent online, submit maintenance requests, access shared documents, and review property information.
With this accessibility update, your Tenant Portals are fully accessible and work well with assistive technology.
Developers look to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) for accessibility standards when creating websites. Rentec Direct followed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provided by WAI to achieve the objectives of the American Disability Act Title III for Rentec hosted client websites, online rental applications, and the Tenant Portal.
While there are few published legal requirements that specifically require non-government affiliated landlords and property managers to ensure their business websites adhere to accessibility standards, that could change in the future. We would much prefer for you to be ahead of the curve and our mission is to support you. Additionally, an accessible website gives you a competitive edge to serve all renters visiting your website.
Additional Legal Recommendations
While we’ve tested the tenant facing websites that we’re providing against standards, it is still very important that you verify that these tools adhere to your locale’s laws. Some cities and states have more strict rules than others so it is important to consult with an experienced local professional that fully understands your laws and have them look over your web presence before making it generally accessible to the public.