Finding a new home is time-consuming and complicated. Now apps can take the stress out of the search — but some have also been accused of pushing up prices in already expensive cities
All Generation Renters hate the expense and hassle of having to find a new home to rent when their tenancy agreement ends.
It’s difficult when you work all day to go on a search, make endless calls to lettings agents, cope with the stress of imminent homelessness and the disappointments when the flat you have found falls through.
But some new apps promise to make life a little easier, whether you are moving out of or into London.
1. RENT LONDON
With this app, renters can specify when they need to move and search for property by location, price and property type.
Renters can also search for property by journey time to work rather than a specific location by inputting the maximum amount of time they are prepared to spend on the Tube. The app will then choose properties from anywhere within the M25.
What this means is that somebody working near Oxford Circus and willing to commute for half an hour each way will be directed to locations that include West Hampstead and Finsbury Park or Kennington.
Moving to a new area can be daunting but the app also offers detailed guides to neighbourhoods, including essential information such as what the local pubs are like. If a renter can’t find what they are looking for in their chosen location, the app will suggest alternative, but similar, neighbourhoods.
Finally, the app allows renters to request and schedule viewings and receive alerts of new properties that meet their criteria the instant they drop on the site.
“Through this trial we want to find out the information that matters most to London renters when they are searching online. Do they want help with a location? Is it handier for them to receive updates in their Facebook messenger app than email?” explained Hannes Buhrmann, Rightmove’s head of innovation.
“We hope this trial will help give us insight into a number of these things, to help inform future versions.”
Movebubble — founded by renters who know how awful it can be — promises listings of more than 25,000 London properties in real time, so you don’t waste your time on homes that have been taken and allows you to book viewings and make offers direct from your phone.
You can also see which flats are the most popular with other renters.
If you need not just a new home but new people to live with, then Roompik helps you find spare rooms all over London. As well as pictures of the property, it has profiles of your prospective new flatmates, so you can see them before meeting.
If you are a cash-rich, time-poor type then the newly launched UrbanCo is a kind of buying agent for renters, who pay from £600 to hire a “Sherpa” who will hunt down the perfect home for them, all managed via the app.
You are allowed to pick the Sherpa you want, select your criteria and let them do the legwork. You can also see ratings other members have given to properties they’ve looked at.
Rentberry is a transparent rental application and price negotiation platform uniting tenants and landlords. It automates all the standard rental tasks from submitting personal information, customer offers and eSigning rental agreement to sending maintenance requests.