The property industry has never been particularly known for transparency, but in today’s technology-laden world there is no need for this to continue.
This is especially true for renting, where little progress has been made over the last few decades in improving the relationship between tenants and landlords.
But new tools and technology are giving us the opportunity to change the traditional models and thinking, and inject much-needed transparency into renting.
One area ripe for reform in renting is the security deposit. Historically, renters have had to hand over a large lump sum at the start of their tenancy, leaving many people out of pocket or having to choose to live in their second choice neighborhood.
At flatfair, we are changing this. Our cutting edge payment technology mimics the process of checking into a hotel which means flatfair tenants only pay a one-off fee equal to one week’s rent plus VAT.
The aim is to reduce the upfront cost for renters and cut the hassle of having to negotiate deposit deductions for agents, which is always a lose-lose process for them.
At the end of their tenancy, they are only charged for what they break.
Landlords submit any charges directly through flatfair’s platform, and agreed charges are taken directly from the tenants’ bank account.
However, the deposit alternative market is still in its infancy, and there is still some confusion about what exactly providers are offering.
A recent BBC article spoke to one tenant who felt that they had been mis-sold a deposit alternative.
This perfectly demonstrates the need for transparency in the deposit alternative sector, and the industry more widely.
flatfair has a simple 5-step sign up process where tenants have to click repeatedly against simple statements which make it clear that the one-off fee is not refundable as well as that flatfair is not an insurance solution, that the service is optional to a traditional deposit, and that the tenants are responsible for any end of tenancy charges.
What does need to be made crystal clear is that there is a key difference between insurance solutions charging tenants excessive or recurring fees and payment technology companies like ourselves who offer tenants a transparent one-off fee without hidden costs.