Every year hundreds of students in the UK are facing the same question – where will they live for the next term of study? On most flat share websites, landlords are reluctant about letting their rooms to students or young adults with no occupation. Whether their fears are justified or not, this leaves many pupils struggling to find a roof over their heads.
A new property app created by SPCE aims to change the way the student letting market is run. In partnership with the world’s biggest non-profit, youth-run organisation AIESEC, the credit reporting agency Experian, universities and student accommodation, the app will make life easier for both students and landlords by providing transparency for the process.
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How does the app work?
The process is fairly simple. Students who are looking for accommodation will have to add their university ID, details of guarantor debt and the criteria of the property they are looking for. This sets a monthly rental cap, after which they will receive information on potential suitable properties for them. The information includes a landlord rating as well which is super important for students looking for trustworthy landlords who do not take advantage. The rating is based on the level of cleanliness of the property and on whether the landlord is quick to respond in case the property needs repairing or other issues occur. Simultaneously, students will have their own ratings as well, so landlords can be aware of naughty renters or those who could pose problems with paying.
A reform in the student letting market
The student letting market is up for big changes. The student property search engine and online platform University Cribs, believes in innovating the market to a new extent, and they’ve done so by recently launching their virtual reality software for property viewing. The software allows students to view as many properties as they wish, in greater detail, from the comfort of their own home. This aims to make the process much easier and faster and the stress of finding somewhere to live alleviated somewhat.
Jon Reynolds, manager at Knight Frank’s Tower Bridge told the Telegraph: “The greater use of technology is clearly an important next step in order to keep up with the growing popularity of students renting in the capital.”
What are the possible downfalls
With all the positive impressions for the app so far, there are some potential downfalls that could be dangerous:
• The ‘human element will be removed’ – which means there will be no agent to meet, prospective landlords and tenants in person. This can be considered both a ‘pro’ and a ‘con’, as it means the process will be less time consuming, but there are some safety issues to consider as the input from an experienced agent will be lost and a chain of trust will not be established.
• The average student tenancy life is 9 or 10 months which means landlords and students will have only a limited number of reviews and ratings. One bad rating from a disgruntled person can put your ratings down immediately, which might present a bigger issue in the future.
• New tenants or landlords will have no ratings, in this case the app could work against them, as they will not be regarded as reliable.
Overall, the app is a step forward to improving the student letting market and the experience for both the landlords who are looking for tenants and the students who are seeking a home.
James Davis, founder of Upad said for the Telegraph: “The student market is hungry for this kind of technology and has largely grown up in a world expecting this kind of service.”
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