New Peer-to-Peer Apps Disrupt Property Industry
The rental housing market is an industry rife with unnecessary middlemen who make moving to a new home complicated and costly. New services are disrupting the status quo by connecting consumers directly to landlords for an improved experience when it comes to sourcing living and working spaces.
- Rethinking Renting: Launched in December 2019, UK-based property-letting platform Mashroom removes the need for letting agents, instead directly connecting landlords and incoming/outgoing tenants for greater communication and transparency throughout the rental process. For example, tenants can submit their maintenance requests directly to landlords, speeding up the procedure. Departing tenants can also earn up to one week’s rent when they secure a new occupant – an incentive that additionally benefits landlords by minimising expensive void periods.
- Streamlining Student Housing: Launched in September 2019, UK platform Sswap helps students dissatisfied with their allocated room to switch accommodation with others keen to move. Students fill out a request form online, citing the reasons for the swap, and the student-led platform facilitates the exchange when an appropriate room becomes available.
- Affordable Co-Working: UK app Kitchin Table allows self-employed female homeowners to rent out their spare space to other freelance women looking for a communal-working experience. Launched in May 2018, the app provides a far cheaper option than traditional co-working memberships, and offers the homeowner workday companionship. Users can search for nearby Kitchin locations and filter for features such as outdoor space, or for areas that are child or pet friendly.
- Shared Living Made Easy: Since launching in January 2019, Spanish financial platform Suscrip has reduced roommate arguments, thanks to its shared-payments-collection app. Users link their bills and shared subscriptions (such as Netflix and Spotify) to the app, which then divides the total amount and sends reminders to all users when their payment is due. The app collects the individual payments, making sure the initial outlay is paid back swiftly to the account holder.
This desire to sidestep commercially focused third-parties to connect directly with other consumers chimes with our Look Ahead 2020 Technology theme, Decentralised Society. To stay relevant, brands should consider areas where there are unnecessary levels of involvement from middlemen and offer alternatives, to create a more streamlined service.