In 2015 I became a renter for the first time in a decade - initially as my house was being refurbished, then as I relocated around the world as an exec at eBay. I rented five homes in four years in three countries. At the start I thought it was going to be fun to live in different kinds of properties and to leave the worries of ownership behind.
The reality was not fun… in fact, I was astonished by how agonisingly terrible the end-to-end experience was, everywhere.
I’d been here before. When I started Shutl in 2008, we used to wait days for our online purchases to be delivered and thought nothing of spending Saturday mornings queuing to pick them up at the post office. I thought that was a problem worth trying to solve.
Fast forward ten years and same/next day delivery is the norm and we expect our taxis in seconds. And yet it boggles my mind that what most of us spend the most on, rent a.k.a. the basic human need of shelter - has a last century customer experience and enjoys no brand loyalty.
Renters have been left behind because the industry has looked at the landlord as the customer and the renter as a temporary participant to be taxed. Perhaps this made sense in a world where renters quickly became owners - but in a world where people expect to own less, and on-demand is the norm, renting was a 19th-century experience.
Here is how Residently makes renting better for everybody:
Firstly, we start with the renter’s needs and schedule.
It causes waves of anxiety and stress when you’re forced to give notice before you know what’s next. Or alternatively, you can pay for two properties at the same time or move everything you own into temporary accommodation while you wait. How are these the only options for one of life’s highest consideration purchases?
Residents want to move in on a date that suits them. That could be tomorrow or in two months’ time. We let them choose, and we try to apply this principle to every aspect of their home life.
Secondly, we know that happy renters will mean happy landlords.
Conventional wisdom pits landlords against renters in a zero-sum gain struggle. We believe this to be flawed and that in fact by creating a better experience for our residents, landlords:
...earn more. Removing the friction from renting means, properties are filled quicker - meaning landlords have shorter void periods and get more out of their assets.
...spend less. By improving and monetising the loyalty of our residents, we can service landlords at a far lower cost than traditional agents. These committed residents will also take better care of properties than those with a short-term mindset.
The first two years of the Residently journey were about demonstrating that we could create a better experience for renters and that by doing so we could actually improve the economics for the landlord.
Thanks to our brilliant team, some fantastic angel investors and a number of forward-thinking landlords, we launched our first 100 homes in London and NYC - and offered hundreds of renters the flexibility and customer service they’re used to from other industries.
Today marks the next stage in our development, which will allow us to build out and scale the service for our next thousand+ residents. We’re announcing our first institutional investment from a trio who could not be better suited to helping us develop the world’s rental brand.