5 companies changing the private rental sector
From Zoopla to Purple Bricks, proptech is well established in the consumer housing market. Now innovative apps and tech are becoming increasingly prominent in the private rental sector, too, providing digital solutions for letting agents that could cut down on admin and enable agents to make better use of their time.
Almost a quarter of households are expected to live in rented accommodation by 2021, which means agencies are challenged to provide more efficient management for tenants and landlords alike. Here are five proptech solutions designed to make the renting process simpler for letting agents.
Year launched: 2014 – apps live 2016
Cost: POA depending on agency size and number of properties to list
Current users: 500 London-based letting agent branches; 100,000 renters have downloaded the app
MoveBubble aims to target the Uber and Deliveroo generation with its let-finding app. For the renter, it offers a custom feed of suggested properties, created using AI technology that targets rental profile types. For agents, Movebubble provides renter information up front, and an in-app messaging service to arrange viewings. Renters are encouraged to leave a star rating, much like Uber, of their experience with the agent, with positive reviews acting as a recommendation for potential business. The service is currently only available to people searching for property in London, but Movebubble is looking to expand to other UK cities by the end of 2018.
Year launched: 2014
Cost: From £29. Price varies, depending on number of fobs required
Current users: Over 150 offices, from the UK to Canada and The Netherlands
The founders of Keyzapp come from a background working in the rental sector, and were inspired to create this automated key management system after experiencing the unreliability of paper logbooks when locating keys for viewings. By using a QR key fob and an ID scanner, letting agents and property management companies are able to check keys in and out efficiently. All data gathered can be exported to Excel, which could be useful for examining trends, such as which properties are highly sought after for viewings – and determine who’s the worst offender for not returning keys.
Year launched: First deposit July 2016
Cost: Agents earn a commission from each Reposit: 10 properties a month with an average rent of £600 could net the agent £300
Current users: 170 letting agents across the UK
With many renters seeking shorter-term lets, conventional deposits can be costly. Reposit aims to provide an alternative to the standard deposit of 4-6 weeks’ rent with a “Non-refundable fee” of one week’s rent. Their reasoning is a smaller fee means tenants can commit faster, and letting agents avoid the burden of compliance with standard deposit schemes. Tenants sign a contract committing to pay for any damages, which are logged and paid for through the app.
Year launched: 2014
Cost: Price is variable. One license covers 100 lets
Current users: just over 500 agents UK-wide
Created by Richard White, formerly of Foxtons, Goodlord was designed to save time spent on calls and emails by letting agents, and improve the user experience for tenants. This sleek app aims to replace piles of tenancy paperwork, with the ability to upload tenancy agreements and pay deposits digitally. Letting agents also have access to a referencing service through the software. Goodlord claim digitising these processes means tenants can move into a property in as little as two to three days – much faster than the traditional moving in time.
Year launched: 2013
Cost: Fixflo: 35p per “unit” per month; Fixflo Plus: 55p per “unit” per month
Current users: 4,000 businesses internationally
This cloud-based software allows tenants to easily report repairs to their letting agents, either online or via an app. Tenants can add pictures, videos or audio files to help illustrate the problem. Fixflo claims it can help agents reduce the time they spend sorting out repairs by up to 30%, and as the software provides tips for tenants to resolve certain issues themselves it can prevent the need for repair staff to be called out at all.