A new student accommodation property platform has been launched which aims to deliberately by-pass letting agents.
Housemates is for students, landlords and property operators and claims it will “bring much-needed transparency, efficiency and reassurance to the sector.”
It is now open for early access to property owners ahead of the 2021/22 academic year and students will be able to make bookings from October this year.
While it will initially cater for property owners and students studying in Manchester, Liverpool, Dublin, Edinburgh, London and Melbourne it is also rapidly expanding its supply across other cities in the UK and internationally.
Founder Lydia Jones (pictured above) says: “The student housing market is an area ripe for innovation and disruption. It’s 2020 and expectation when it comes to any online experience is high; we believe students deserve to be able to book accommodation in the same, hassle-free way they do holidays.
“We’ve spoken to thousands of domestic and international students and it is clear that audiences generally found existing processes slow, out-dated and lacking in terms of both transparency and security. International students in particular felt particularly vulnerable to being exploited by agents.
“Using feedback loops with both students and landlords we’ve identified new ways to deliver a faster, easier and more secure way to book accommodation that meets the needs of all users. As we grow our community across the UK we will continue to innovate based on real-time, evolving feedback and adapt to consumer demand.”
She adds that the impact of Covid-19 hasn’t slowed development of the platform, “but we have taken into consideration the needs of students travelling from overseas to study in the UK to ensure we cater for changes in post-lockdown booking behaviour.”
Students can sign up to Housemates for free and - apparently - the platform “removes the need for letting agents and the associated fees, providing landlords and tenants with the opportunity to transact totally online.”
It uses automation for all parts of the booking process.
“Our mission is to help students move smoothly through their university life, starting with an effortless way to arrange their accommodation” claims Jones. “By removing ‘the middleman’ we’ve streamlined the whole operation, taking 100 per cent of the transaction online, and reduced overall costs for all parties.”