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Sunday PropTech Review; 23rd July 2017

POSTED BY   james
August 10, 2017

lettings industry

We hope you’re enjoying your Sunday so far. Welcome to the second guest-edition of the PropTech review, this time from ourselves, Jude Greer and Curran McKay, co-founders of Reposit. Our third founder and CTO, Brendan Short, is, like James, on holiday as we’re writing.

Reposit offers an alternative to tenancy deposits which saves renters and letting agents time and money compared to the current, archaic way of doing things. The Reposit story has a familiar start…two Irish guys walk into a bar, they meet a Home Office software engineer and order three pints of Guinness. Two years later and with £500K investment under our belt, we’re heading towards our next funding round, we’re proud to be working with leading agents to make renting fairer.

Of course, we’re not the only PropTech firm shaking things up in the lettings industry. With increasing numbers of renters staying longer in private rented property, there’s a growing number of tech solutions for renters, landlords and agents. The sector has grown 55% since 2010 but renting practices have remained stagnant, so it’s ripe for innovation. This week we will be looking at the ways PropTech is disrupting the lettings sector and discovering clues to what the future has in store.

1. Proptech: the businesses transforming the housing market.

“There are clear problems with how UK houses are transacted”, so states the University of Oxford’s Professor Andrew Baum, pointing out inefficiencies in the housing system overall, both sales and lettings. In terms of the rental market, this article features our fellow renter-focused PropTech firms Movebubble and No Agent. As the increase in tenant-focused business and the upcoming fees ban suggests, there’s a long-overdue pivot towards making renting more renter friendly, with flexibility and affordability the key benefits renters have been missing out on. Also worth a read when you’ve more time on your hands is Professor Baum’s full research paper covering all aspects of PropTech: PropTech 3.0: the future of real estate.

lettings industry

2. Keyzapp: Efficient management for your keys. Interesting PropTech firm with a handheld product as opposed to solely web-based/app offering. Keyzapp offers agents and property managers the ability to tag and find keys and effectively mitigates the risk of lost keys charges, which would not be outlawed with the proposed ban on fees. In the standard blog style from Property Technology, this article features a nice mix between the text and a video with Keyzapp’s Tim Hill.

Keyzapp: Efficient management for your keys

3. The future of renting: build to rent/smart buildings.

Two interesting reads from Property Wire on the future of property which, at least in the metropolitan areas, will be fuelled by buy-to-rent developments. Reports from law firm Charles Russell Speechlys and estate services firm JLL highlight predictions from investors on the future of renting. All inclusive fees and more flexibility are on the horizon – both great news for renters. However, it’s clear from the Charles Russell Speechlys report that the industry is not quite ready to cash in on its potential to leverage data – more on this from JD here.

4. Short-term lettings set to increase.

Earlier this year, Guy Westlake’s Lavanda closed a £1 million funding round on it’s flexible long/short-term sharing economy business model (including investment from Purplebricks’ Kenny Bruce). The man himself, JD, rightly points out Lavanda’s synergy with increasingly transient modern lifestyles where people work remotely and move more frequently. This trend presents a challenge to traditional property, can established companies adapt to millennials’ way of life?

5. Deposit-free renting sounds good – or could tenants lose out?
A well-rounded review of the deposit-free renting space from the Guardian. Although we and other suppliers are providing solutions, there are valid questions from Generation Rent on the value of smaller non-refundable fees over (technically) refundable deposits. We’re excited for a future rental market built on trust, in which renters don’t have the burden of providing a deposit to prove themselves.

lettings industry

6. Commercial rents: online office space PropTech firm Hubble raises £1.2 million.

Like the residential lettings sector, commercial office space is being affected by nomadic business trends as start-ups dominate. And with traditional high-street agents, Hubble’s CEO Tushar Agarwal says the traditional commercial agents aren’t adapting to the new wave of businesses and their demands for ways of working. Interesting parallels with the residential industry – incidentally we’ve just secured our new office space through Hubble and the process was seamless and took just a couple of days. More insight from Hubble, here.

7. Blockchain: Disrupting the trust business.

Save this one for after your morning coffee. As we know, the impact of blockchain is coming for more than just the property industry, but it has potential to benefit renters. This article highlights future possibilities for anchoring identity in a blockchain allowing renters more control over their private data. Food for thought with regards to disrupting the lucrative tenant referencing business. Reposit is already developing a global solution in RentPass to give tenants the benefits alluded to here.

lettings industry

8. Round-up: Meet the 9 PropTech businesses set to change life for landlords. Another collection of the rising PropTech stars in 2017. A great selection for landlords looking to better understand their market and improve their tenant services as well as demand more from their letting agent. In our opinion, REalyse is important to watch in light of the buy-to-let and predictions for big institutional investment going forwards. They provide valuable data on where and how to invest in build-to-rent projects.

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