PropTech Roundup – October 2020

With the Government set to announce a fresh lockdown for England, here’s what’s happened in the PropTech market during October:

New PropTech app weeds out time-wasting house seekers

Rental Passport, created by LegalforLandlords, claims to be able to reduce the time from viewing-to-offer by ferreting out time wasters.

The software provides an assessment of a prospective tenant, enabling the agent to view the person’s financial position, references and the probable time scale they will work to with regard to moving house. 

The app, which is free to renters, allows them to record details of their affordability, employment, credit history and previous references prior to viewing a property.

The product is endorsed by Lucy Alexander, TV presenter of Homes Under The Hammer, who describes it as a real boon for time-poor house hunters who want to find the right home as quickly as possible. 

A great benefit too for busy agents, who can send a prospective tenant a unique QR code or embed a link to the app in a property listing.

Software informs agents of Covid-affected tenants

The new PropTech app, Covid Profile, lets agents know if tenants are self-isolating or in quarantine due to coronavirus. 

The software, cloud-based and developed by property management company Arthur, offers tenants options to confirm whether they are self-isolating, have symptoms, or have been in contact with someone testing positive in the previous 14 days.

Additionally, the app helps to speed up lets with one-click vacancy postings via Zoopla, Facebook Marketplace and Rightmove. 

David Cummin, co-founder of Arthur, explains that since the outbreak of Covid-19, the Government has called for improved communication between landlords and tenants to find ways to slow down the spread of the virus.

Mr Cummin considers Covid Profile to be a powerful tool which enables letting agents to guarantee the safety of tenants and tradesmen. He is gratified that so many agents prioritise the health of their clients by ensuring the software is accessible to all.

New app alerts agents to landlord interest

Acaboom, a new PropTech app, sends agents an alert when a landlord views the agency’s marketing material. The software, in effect, minimises the interval between a property being viewed for valuation and the agent receiving an instruction. 

A potential client can use a ‘click to instruct’ button located in the details, making it easy for a landlord to instruct the agent. The app, which works for both sales and lettings, reduces the time spent by the agent on activities such as printing documents and preparing for meetings and valuations.

Pre-appointment data, such as reports from social media, Google Street View and historical dates and prices, can be sent automatically to the app, to supply the landlord with the information he needs.

Brian Farrell, MD, says the software demonstrates the company’s aim of creating the most advanced technological solutions to help busy agents win instructions on the go.

The app will soon be able to send a personalised video message directly from the agent’s phone to the client.

App informs and pays agent if tenant switches utilities

A new app that aims to outdo Rightmove will pay lettings agents when tenants switch utilities. The Bunch, a free-to-list ‘lifestyle’ app, was created in 2016 by graduates fed up of being exploited by utility companies. 

Starting life as Easy Student Living in Leeds, the company has expanded its reach and activities and with 3,000 renters, it deals with anyone in rented accommodation. Their business plan is to manage the same client from undergraduate renter to first-time house owner and onwards.

Would-be tenants swipe through properties on the app while their likes and dislikes are recorded, refining the choices given to the tenant and matching like-minded prospective renters. 

The app finds tenants for letting agents free of charge and pays them £20 when a property switches utilities.

The company, whose revenues are close to £2m, wants to expand into Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff and Bristol, to seek progressive letting agents in these cities.

Elliott Herrod-Taylor, CEO, says The Bunch will give agents the opportunity to earn extra income and provide them with leads.

The Depositary aims for 10-minute check-out links for TDS

PropTech service The Depositary aims to integrate fully with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme by the end of the year by extending its existing partnership with the TDS.

According to The Depositary co-founder, Kristjan Byfield, current Custodial Scheme members using The Depositary will experience a more co-ordinated service with increased time saving. Additionally, The Depositary will integrate with Inventory Hive, another partner of TDS, which is expected to be released later this month and will further improve consumers’ use of check-outs.

Byfield said he expects the integration to save agents 15-20 minutes per tenancy, as well as remove duplication of data and eliminate human error. 

He believes the changes will move the company closer to their goal of enabling a letting agent to conclude a tenancy in around 10 minutes, while encompassing best practice, industry-leading standards and transparency for all. 

Having received very positive feedback from agents and users alike following extensive trialling of the platform this year, the company hopes agents across the UK will join them. 

Steve Harriott, CEO of TDS, says the improved link is ‘a win-win solution, enabling landlords and agents to save time and money, and tenants to receive their deposit repayments more quickly’. Inventory Hive founder Richard Abbots agrees, saying the integration will provide a seamless path from pre-check-in to post-check-out.

Leave a comment