A serial entrepreneur hopes his “Tinder for rentals” platform will revolutionise the property letting market by helping people complete eligibility checks for free.
Manchester-based VeriLet pairs prospective tenants with properties they are eligible for and can afford. The platform is live in the UK, New York and Brisbane now, with iPhone and Android apps planned for launch in the autumn.
CEO Gavin Prince, 36, believes VeriLet is a step ahead of the rest of the rental industry.
“VeriLet will help everyone,” he told BusinessCloud. “Tenants will be paired up with properties they are eligible for, without having to wait for eligibility checks, and landlords and letting agents will only receive applications from eligible tenants.
“It is the Tinder for rentals.”
Once prospective tenants know they are eligible for a property thanks to the free ‘tenant eligibility report’, they then pay £9.99 a month to access the full eligibility check and credit report from reference agency Callcredit.
Welshman Prince came up with the idea for VeriLet – a business he founded in May 2015 and hopes will be “the big one” – during a decade spent working in lettings.
“I remember taking calls and hearing people who had failed non-refundable eligibility checks saying they feared they would be made homeless,” he said.
“So I decided to create a platform that would let people know if they are eligible before they apply.”
Last year the Government announced that it would be banning letting agent fees – of which eligibility fees formed a part – leading to fears that the fees would be passed on to tenants through rent increases.
“The Government’s announcement came out the blue,” Prince added. “We had always planned to get rid of eligibility fees, but the Government forced our hand.”
Prince cites global growth in the rental market as a sign of things to come and feels that the next generation will be known as “generation rent”.
He explained: “Rent money is clever money. Renting is becoming a conscious decision because young people don’t want to be constricted by a mortgage. The millennial generation likes to have the facility to move where they want.
“You don’t own anything anymore. Take Apple Music or Spotify: if I owned my music collection, it would cost me hundreds of pounds. You rent things instead.”
Prince hails from Penmaenmawr, a small quarrying town in Wales, and plans to give something back to North Wales by establishing a VeriLet office which could employ up to 30 people within two years.
He is working with the local authority to employ those having difficulty in finding work, and also charities to help ex-serving soldiers gain access to rental accommodation.
“I want to help disadvantaged people in society with technology,” he said.