A proptech firm is launching, promising to revolutionise the rental sector.
Urban Collective is offering to cut down on the hassle and time it takes tenants to search for a property.
The start-up has launched a property find service, starting in London, that provides experts, or “Sherpas”, with local knowledge of each client’s chosen area.
Once assigned, they will establish their client’s dream home profile, understanding their property and lifestyle needs, and create a shortlist of available properties on their behalf.
They can also conduct accompanied viewings.
The service will cost tenants £600 for a one- to three-bed property or £900 for a four- to five-bed.
Clients pay 50% upfront and 50% on signing of the lease.
Urban Collective will refund the full fee if the tenants don’t like the shortlist or don’t arrange any viewings.
A spokesperson for the company told EYE: “This frees up time to spend on other things, such as work – particularly important for business owners or those for whom time is money – or to use the little amount of free time they do have to do things they want to, such as spend time with family.
“Others may just find the current process too much hassle and would like someone to take the heavy lifting out of this life admin, much like a personal shopper does, or a personal assistant.
“The service is also ideal for expats moving to London. Our Sherpas are all local experts so can advise on areas based on their clients’ needs, and organise viewings before they even reach the city. The sooner they are able to find a property in their new city, the less time and money spent on hotels/other accommodation.”
Alongside the Sherpa service is a free UrbanCo app that lets renters search for lifestyle-focused listings from Zoopla, with properties curated based on their proximity to amenities such as gyms and hospitals, or commuting options rather than simply price and location.
The Urban Collective is founded by tech entrepreneur couple Mayank Mathur and Valerie Vigouroux because of their own frustrations when trying to find somewhere to rent.
They say they spent up to 75 hours having discussions with over a dozen agents and viewing over 40 properties before finding their eventual home – and that was before the moving admin.
Mathur said: “A tenant’s rent is their biggest monthly expense, yet the renting journey is significantly lagging behind customer service standards found in other industries.
“During our home search last year, we found our experience was the same as it was the last time we rented ten years ago. It hadn’t evolved or improved.
“We wasted countless hours researching listings with generic search criteria and answering the same questions when briefing different agents, only to end up visiting multiple properties that didn’t remotely match our requirements.”
Frustrated by their experience and confident there was a better way of renting, they partnered with the only estate agent they met during their search who understood their personal challenge, Octavian Pop, whose CV includes working as a lettings negotiator at Foxtons.
Pop said: “The Urban Collective provides an alternative and more enjoyable process for people to rent a home.
“The property market has changed in the past two decades – more professionals and business owners are unable, or choosing not, to buy, meaning they stay in the rental market longer.
“It’s time that the search experience is overhauled and brought into the 21st century to match the customer service tenants experience elsewhere.”