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The Hustle

London drivers were thrown into a tizzy when two car-sized Christmas ornaments came careening down Tottenham Court Road.

In today’s email:

  • Background checks: Aren’t always accurate.
  • Chart: Homeowners are all-in on remodeling.
  • Weekend reads for your Saturday morning peppermint mocha.
  • Around the web: Ikea history, the oddest thrift store shirts, all about dates, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Jacob and Juliet discuss a lost $4.8m check, rental woes, FTX drama, and more.

The big idea
screening gif

The problem with rental applications

Moving sucks.

Making matters worse, a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found tenant screening reports are often inaccurate.

How it works

In the US, prospective tenants pay an average of $40-$59 to apply for an apartment, and don’t get reimbursed if they don’t get it.

Landlords use the fee to cover background checks from tenant screening companies, which include applicants’ employment, rental, financial, and criminal histories.

The issue

CFPB handled 26.7k+ complaints related to tenant screenings between January 2019 and September 2022. Of those, ~65% cited incorrect info on a report.

For example, one applicant said their twin brother’s criminal history appeared on their report. Another said the report surfaced an eviction that never happened.

Mistakes often occur when companies use name-only matching without other identifying info, like a Social Security number. Other issues:

  • Companies can reveal expunged or sealed records
  • Companies sometimes report evictions that were filed, but not completed

This inaccurate info can cause applicants to lose housing opportunities, time, and money.

And fixing it it is a pain

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires landlords to tell applicants if they were denied due to info obtained in a report… but many don’t.

And when they do, the onus to dispute the report falls on the applicant in a process that can be “hopelessly inefficient and needlessly confusing,” per CFPB.

Some applicants found themselves being bounced between companies, while others failed to hear back at all.

The FTC has promised to work with the CFPB to hold companies accountable.

But for now: You can find consumer resources at the end of the report.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

Trailer drop: Pixar released a teaser for Elemental, where beings are made of earth, air, fire, or water — and of course there’s a cross-element love story.

SNIPPETS

Google Maps updates include fast-charging options for EVs, augmented reality overlays, and accessibility info.

A new study found that up to 1.35B young people are at risk of hearing loss due to dangerously loud listening habits.

The FDA declared Upside Foods’ cell-based chicken safe for  human consumption, a first for cultivated meats in the US.

Roku will cut ~200 US jobs, ~7% of its staff, due to “current economic conditions.”

Ticketmaster canceled today’s public Taylor Swift ticket sales due to limited inventory and demand. Based on site traffic, Ticketmaster said Swift would need to perform 900 shows to satisfy fans.

New sound? Read (and listen to) this breakdown of YouTube’s new jingle — kinda like their version of Netflix’s tudummm.

Meta reportedly fired or disciplined over two dozen workers who unethically took over user accounts, in some cases for bribes.

Evernote, a note-taking and task-management app, was acquired for an undisclosed price by Bending Spoons, a Milan-based app developer.

Selling phone calls? Contractors inside the $657B home services industry are willing to pay for clients (or even leads). Our Trends report explains the state of the market and how you can nail down a niche.

SPREAD THE WORD
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CHART
Home Depot and Lowe's revenue
Olivia Heller Tweet this Image

Homeowners are all-in on home improvement

You may have heard the housing market is in the midst of a downturn.

Rising mortgage rates have had an immediate impact on new home sales and mortgage demand, with both down big from 2021.

But Home Depot and Lowe’s aren’t feeling the pain

Both companies reported strong earnings this week in large part due to the popularity of home-remodeling projects, per CNBC.

  • A recent survey from Houzz, a home design website, found that 37% of homeowners completed a remodeling project in 2022, and ~25% expect to do one in 2023.
  • That same survey revealed that ~50% of homeowners have no plans to sell their home in the next 20 years.

Home Depot CFO Richard McPhail calls this an “improve in place” mentality, where homeowners that would have been looking for a new home turn to improving their existing one.

Since the average age of US housing stock is ~40 years and remote work has people spending more time at home, the trend seems poised to continue.

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Free Resource

The full kit for increasing productivity

You can mull, moan, mourn… but there’s 24 hours in a day.

If you find yourself wishing for more, consider us facilitators. *ahem*

Start managing your time like a bona-fide titan of industry with this free productivity kit by HubSpot. It has tips and templates to help you purge procrastination, and punch the metaphorical workplace clock with pride.

How to be more productive:

  • Maintaining work-mode efficiency
  • Effectively working from home
  • Two templates to visualize goals and progress
  • A labor hours calculator for long projects
  • A PIE scoring prioritization chart

Stop slackin’, and get crackin’.

Up your productivity →
Free Resource

The full kit for increasing productivity

You can mull, moan, mourn… but there’s 24 hours in a day.

If you find yourself wishing for more, consider us facilitators. *ahem*

Start managing your time like a bona-fide titan of industry with this free productivity kit. It has tips and templates to help you purge procrastination, and punch the metaphorical workplace clock with pride.

How to be more productive:

  • Maintaining work-mode efficiency
  • Effectively working from home
  • Two templates to visualize goals and progress
  • A labor hours calculator for long projects
  • A PIE scoring prioritization chart

Stop slackin’, and get crackin’.

Up your productivity →
Recs
Weekend Reads

Welcome to Weekend Reads…

… recs to pair with your Saturday morning peppermint mocha. In case you missed ’em, here was this week’s best…

  • Story: Mark wrote about Ben Caballero, an 83-year-old real estate agent who sells more homes than anyone in America.
  • Podcast: Episode 1 of our new “Shark Tank” rewatch show.
  • Chart: The economic impact of a fake tweet.
  • Video: How the best companies pivot during a bad recession.
  • Blog: Top tips for shoppers and entrepreneurs to make the most out of this year’s Small Business Saturday.
  • Interview: Ray Dalio’s thoughts on bitcoin.
AROUND THE WEB

🦜 On this day: In 1996, bird expert Tony Silva was sentenced to seven years for smuggling 100 rare hyacinth macaws worth $1.4m, among other birds.

🛋️ That’s cool: Ikea maintains an online collection of its furniture catalogs dating back to 1951.

🌱 That’s interesting: Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about dates (the fruit, that is).

👕 Haha: An account dedicated to weird shirts found at thrift stores.

🛏️ Aww: And now, tuck me in, please.

Shower Thoughts
  1. Despite all of crunchy peanut butter’s success, there is no crunchy Nutella.  SOURCE

  2. Powerball billionaires are probably way better for the economy than traditional billionaires.  SOURCE

  3. A grilled cheese cut in two triangles hits different than one cut in two rectangles.  SOURCE

  4. You’ll never properly know what it feels like to receive your own handshake.  SOURCE

  5. A broken dishwasher makes a damn fine drying rack.  SOURCE

 
via Reddit
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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Peppermint mocha, please” Dent.

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