Guy Westlake Lavanda
Guy Westlake founded Lavanda in 2014, to work with landlords on optimising rental yields

Lavanda joins forces with JLL to transform short-term letting

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NICHOLAS FEARN

UK rental technology company Lavanda has teamed up with JLL and Aberdeen Standard Investments to launch a short-term lettings platform.

The technology has been designed to help tenants, operators and owners across the private sector generate income from short-term rentals.

With growing demand from services such as Airbnb, Homeaway, Booking.com and Expedia growing, it aims to address illegitimate rentals and void periods between tenancies. Illegitimate rentals are tenancy agreement violations that stem from subletting, which often result in landlords making significant earning losses.

Guy Westlake, founder of Lavanda, said: “Short-term rentals are shaping the future of residential property, but to date they have been happening under the radar, causing unnecessary risks for both residents and landlord.

“Lavanda puts compliant short-term rentals and home sharing at the heart of the PRS communities now springing up across Europe. We are delighted to have JLL and Aberdeen Standard Investments on board and we look forward to rolling out our platform more broadly across the UK and European market.”

Comprehensive rental tools

The software consists of a smartphone app for residents and an admin dashboard for building owners, allowing them to list their properties transparently on the short-term rentals market.

All listings are covered by Lavanda’s trust and safety programme so that any gaps in existing buildings and contents insurance policies are mitigated.

Landlords receive a percentage from the scheme, with Lavanda claiming that it increases the yield on private rented sector development by up to 20%.

Another feature of the app lets building managers make money from void tenancy periods by opening them for short-term letting.

Lavanda said its technology provides landlords and tenants with peace of mind, manages the anti-social behaviour associated with short-term rentals and helps people reduce their cost of living.

Westlake told PlaceTech: “Across the private rented sector, tenants are already Airbnbing their properties, albeit on a secretive, illegitimate basis, and this is where the risk really lies.

“Any damage done to a property in such circumstances by unscrupulous guests would not be covered by an existing building’s insurance, leaving landlords exposed to significant uninsured risk.

“Lavanda Residential removes this risk, enabling landlords and tenants to let out properties in an open, safe and transparent way, as well as properly vetting potential guests.”

Nationwide trial

With the support of JLL and Aberdeen Standard, Lavanda is currently trialing the software in 3 privately rented sector books. It intends to roll out the platform to their UK-wide portfolios after receiving initial results.

To put the potential scale of the project in perspective, JLL manages more than 5,000 properties in the UK. Meanwhile, Aberdeen Standard maintains a £44bn real estate portfolio spanning 15,000 homes across Europe and the UK.

Sam Winnard, director of build to rent at JLL, said: “We recognise that accelerating global demand for short-term rentals and homestays is now fundamentally shaping the long-term rental product.

“Lavanda Residential enables us to embrace this trend with 100% confidence. Together with Aberdeen Standard Investments we are excited to pioneer an industry-defining value proposition for landlords and residents.”

Ed Crockett, PRS fund Manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments, added: “Aberdeen Standard Investments is committed to enhancing the tenant experience across our residential portfolio.

“Helping to reduce their cost of living is absolutely core to that mission. The Lavanda Residential platform offers a win-win solution for residents and landlords.”

Lavanda also revealed to PlaceTech that it is developing additional asset management tools for building managers, as well as resident hosting and local property management services.

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