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The app that takes the stress out of home rentals

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Tom Allason, founder and CEO of Residently (Photograph supplied)

Bermudian tech entrepreneur Tom Allason and the team at Residently have revolutionised the British rental property market with an app that eliminates the stress and pain from the renting process.

Launched in 2017, a network of 8,000 rental units in Britain use Residently, and thousands of tenants have downloaded the app.

In 2020 Residently gave away its software to property managers and realtors in the United Kingdom, and then rolled out across their platforms.

While it does not charge letting agents, Residently receives a percentage of the rent if it finds them a new tenant.

Renters on the app can access and rent properties, organise visits and order home services such as furniture rental, cleaning services, movers and utility set-up, with Residently earning a commission when services are ordered.

Tom Allason, founder and CEO of Residently (Photograph supplied)

Mr Allason, the founder and CEO, said: “The app gives us a relationship with the renter. They give notice or extend their lease on the app, so we know what properties are going to be coming available and when.

“We have created a rental ‘super app’, one account for your home across the life cycle of renting.”

He added: “What we are trying to do for the home is what Uber did for transportation. Uber built a brand for the consumer around an app to make transportation frictionless.

“We take the stress and pain away from the process of renting — we think that’s the real game-changer.

“It’s what enables you to transcend renting. The biggest issue with renting is the lack of ability to plan ahead. This results in a mad scramble every time you want to move and a decision between paying rent on two properties at the same time or rolling the dice and accepting compromise. After a couple runs of the gauntlet, we’re led to believe that the only way out is to buy.”

Mr Allason said: “The next step for us is to start generating revenue in the UK. We began by developing the renter experience, then we built a network and showed we could grow it — now it’s time to monetise it.”

Next stop: the United States, the largest market for the service in the world.

Residently is set to launch in the US this year in tandem with an American strategic partner. A pilot in New York has already completed.

While Britain has about five million rental units, Mr Allason said, the US has some 42 million units, and is a $600 billion-plus market annually.

“It’s the same process we took with Shutl,” Mr Allason says of the tech company he sold to eBay for an undisclosed sum back in 2013.

“We build a world-leading product and experience in the UK, a relatively defensible and under-the-radar market.

“And once we have it figured out, we’ll take it to the US.”

Mr Allason, who spent much of his youth on the island, is based in Bermuda.

British-based Residently has 55 staff working at offices in London and Manchester, and has one employee in New York at this time.

The idea for Residently came to Mr Allason after several unsatisfactory experiences as a renter.

After ten years as a property owner, he decided to renovate his London home and began to look for a rental property for an 18-month stay.

He said: “I was looking forward to the promise of renting, to the flexibility and the opportunity to live in a different part of town and in a different kind of property.

“Given it had been ten years since I’d previously rented, I assumed that things had moved on a little. The short version is that they hadn’t — every part of the experience sucked.

“I thought, ‘Someone should do something about this’. As a smug property owner, however, I didn’t think that someone should be me.

“But then over the course of three years I was relocated to San Francisco, San Jose and eventually Seattle and each time I had the exact same rental experience. And with it the realisation that what most of the world will spend the most on for the rest of their lives, rent, has a crappy customer experience and no brand leader.

“I couldn’t reconcile that in a world where we expect to secure a taxi, takeaway or trip away in seconds.”

Mr Allason added: “The idea was very simple. What if we create that new standard of experience for renting? What if that experience becomes the standard?

“The idea is to build the brand for the largest and least-served segment of consumer spending.”

Residently recently raised £5 million from existing shareholders and new investors, including a crowdfunding component.

The organisation expects to hold another venture capital round within a year.

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Published August 16, 2022 at 7:49 am (Updated August 17, 2022 at 7:46 am)

The app that takes the stress out of home rentals

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