The idea of Residently came about when I was looking for a home to rent in London. It had been a decade since I last rented and I was quite looking forward to renting again and getting to live in a different kind of property and neighbourhood.
Needless to say I was surprised at how the rental industry had failed to move with the times. We are used to booking a taxi, takeaway or trip away in seconds – so why shouldn’t we expect the same kind of responsiveness from what we spend the most on: our fundamental need of shelter?
Ownership of that shelter is becoming less compatible with today’s consumer, who expects to be in a job for four years, not 40. Property ownership and the transactional costs associated with buying/selling act as a barrier to taking a job on the other side of the city, let alone the world.
Rising property prices used to ameliorate these costs, but how much more capital appreciation lies ahead? How much more income can future buyers spend on a mortgage even with interest rates at record lows? Would a deposit be better invested in public equities?
We are used to booking a taxi, takeaway or trip away in seconds – so why shouldn’t we expect the same kind of responsiveness from what we spend the most on: our fundamental need of shelter?
These are the questions that today’s would-be homeowners are asking themselves. I believe a major reason why people still buy isn’t speculation or the desire to become an accidental landlord, but that the alternative to ownership isn’t very palatable.
For me, that’s the opportunity. What if renting was a delightful experience?
At Residently, we think a successful business is one that focuses on the needs of its customer and starts with a definition of the customer. Our major point of differentiation is quite simple – it is that our customer is the renter and we want them to stay our customer.
We believe we can earn customer loyalty by making the process of renting a property seamless and then enabling home services within that property that make living there a joy.
The goal is to ensure that our resident will want to stay with us even after they have outgrown their first residence. We know they won’t want to live in the same property or city for all their life so, to accommodate their current and future needs, we’re building a global platform that connects property owners and home service providers with our pool of highly engaged residents.
Properties let quicker
In creating a really great experience for the renter we also improve the economics for property owners. By removing friction from the process of renting a property, we get properties let quicker, so reducing void periods.
Furthermore, as a technology platform, we don’t have the overheads of a traditional letting agent, while we also benefit from a revenue stream that they don’t have in ongoing resident services.
The net result of this is that in London we charge landlords nothing for their first three months then 7.5% commission thereafter. In year one (which is the length of most assured shorthold tenancies) traditional agents, who tend to charge 10% to 15% rent secured, are charging two to four times more.
I am a firm believer that expectations only move in one direction. As consumers get a better experience across other sectors of their lives, they won’t go back to accepting mediocre.
Our strategy is quite simple; we understand and respond to what our customers want and work to exceed those expectations. It isn’t rocket science – it is our mission to build the world’s leading rental brand.
Residently is an online rental platform built around tenants that is designed to make renting just as personal as owning a property.
It is rethinking renting, giving people the flexibility to rent how they want and making it easy for residents to access common-sense services such as utilities, internet, cleaning and more.
Residently operates in London and New York City and is eyeing global expansion after a successful funding round.
PW Perspectives: Autumn 2019
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Rethinking renting keeps the customer satisfied