With the rise of ‘Generation Rent’ in the UK, it too often feels like there can be too much choice and too much fuss trying to find a place to live. Students and graduates especially often fall victim to dodgy landlords simply due to a lack of knowledge about what’s important in finding a flat and a contract. That’s where the new app Rentr steps in.
Rentr describes itself as ‘DIY Renting’, taking the middle man out of the equation and offering a refreshing sense of transparency between Tenants and Landlords. Once the app is downloaded, users can create a profile as either party and get straight to work finding and managing properties.
On the renters’ side, the app allows users to hunt for properties on Gumtree and connect directly with the landlord – so you can arrange a viewing, update them on potential co-tenant and guarantor details, and agree on a tenancy start date and rent per month. Once a match has been made, there’s space to enter referee details and negotiate the contract. The finance aspect is simplified also: once the contract is signed the deposit can be paid through a bank transfer on the app, and there are monthly reminders to pay the rent in the same manner.
For landlords, the system is essentially reversed: Rentr offers the ability to take photos and market the property on Gumtree with all the necessary information, and organise viewings with potential tenants. Users can confirm receipt of rent and deposit payments, and keep track of ingoing and outgoing payments with the ‘profit or loss’ feature.
Maintenance reporting and solving is an upcoming feature this fall, which will allow Tenants to make maintenance requests and even send photos of issues to Landlords, who can save all repair/service invoices on their account once the problems are fixed – something many young renters will be pleased about.
In terms of security features, Rentr do seem to have crossed their ‘T’s and dotted all the ‘I’s. The mobile contract may sound dubious, but they’ve teamed up with DocuSign to allow users to electronically sign the contracts via the touch screen, ensuring a legally binding agreement. The feature meets all the legal requirements of electronic signatories in the UK, and utilises industry rated bank-grade encryption techniques in order to keep the details safe and secure.
The designers have worked with solicitors specialising in residential lettings to ensure everything is legal; from offering a modifiable template of an Assured Short Term Lettings contract (which landlords can edit according to the Tenants’ needs) to creating a ‘Mydeposit’ Deposit Protection Scheme, which saves the deposit in accordance with UK law until the end of the tenancy.