Fees ban ‘will help online student lettings agent launch into mainstream market’

An online agency aimed at the student lettings market is to expand into the mainstream market.

It says that with the impending fees ban, more landlords will look for cheaper alternatives to the high street.

Student Tenant.com is set to launch ClickTenant.com within the next few weeks and says it already has both the technology in place plus a database of landlords and properties.

Managing director Danielle Cullen said: “Landlords have been moving away from the high street for some time now, as the online sector is growing significantly.

“We think the biggest push is going to come when the lettings fee ban comes in, though. High street agents have very high running costs, and will likely have to pass their losses over to the landlords.”

The whole company will be rebranded as the Rent-All Group once it launches into the mainstream market.

There are also plans to raise up to £600,000 from investors to expand the new, enlarged business.

StudentTenant currently partners a large letting agent in Barcelona, and if this proves successful, there are plans to use this as a template for other cities and countries.

Cullen said that Right to Rent obligations will be met, as they are now.

She said: “Currently the StudentTenant.com platform requests the Right to Rent documentation as part of the bookings process.

“The system advises students which documents they will need to provide, and requests they upload these to their booking 28 days before their move-in date.

“The landlord is then informed of what documentation the tenants have opted to provide, and they must then check this in person prior to releasing the keys to the tenants.

“If we are managing the properties we have representatives checking the documents in person.”

StudentTenant yesterday released a new tool, in time for university clearing.

Called ‘Find a Housemate’, it is aimed at students who get a place at a university through the clearing scheme and have only a matter of weeks to find accommodation.

The tool works in a way similar to a dating app and the firm believes it is unique.

Students are able to search for potential housemates using set criteria.

For example a female may want to search for other females to live with in a certain area, with a certain price limit, and may only want to live with no-smokers.

Depending on how specific the search is, the tool will show suitable housemates. There are also chat features.

Cullen said: “Every year we experience a surge in demand for student properties in August, as thousands of students from clearing opt to use our service.

“A difficulty students are often faced with when booking privately rented houses is the ability to book individual rooms, as many landlords prefer group bookings over individual room bookings.

“It’s a huge problem for new students heading to university. It’s likely they won’t know anyone at the university they have secured a place at, and can often struggle to find the right people to live with when attempting to form a group with strangers.

“Students have never had an easy way to group together, and are usually left to use social networking sites to try and find housemates in a plethora of panic and madness. Until now.”

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