One of Scotland’s largest independent estate agents Rettie and Co is to trial deposit-free renting at a build-to-rent development in Edinburgh supplied by proptech rental passport app Canopy.
Tenants at the Harbour Gateway in the Western Harbour area of the city will have the option not to pay the standard four-week rent deposit and instead use Canopy’s insurance-based rental ‘passport’ system, which also enables them to improve their credit score by recording their monthly rental payments.
Edinburgh’s rental market is experiencing the same extreme pressures as London and Harbour Gateway recently saw 3,000 people apply for its 138 affordable homes. Two thirds of those living in Edinburgh who are under 35 years old are renters compared to a Scottish national average of 40%.
Rettie and Co’s trial of deposit-free renting has more than just altruistic aims; Canopy says its RentalPassport digital product also reduces back office referencing costs for agents and helps reduce rent arrears.
Tenants using Canopy pay a one-off premium that lasts for three years that insures their landlord against the risk of any damage to the property and then, should repairs be needed when they move out or any rent be owing, the money is paid to the landlord by Canopy and then collected from the tenant by Canopy.
“Scotland, like the rest of the UK, is facing a chronic shortage of housing,” says Matthew Benson, Rettie & Co’s Head of Development Services.
“In its current state, the private rental sector fails to meet the needs of the nation’s renters. Canopy’s initiatives offer a lasting solution to the issues currently facing Scottish renters.”
Unlike its competitors such as Flatfair and ZeroDeposit, Canopy has opted to focus on the build-to-rent market and already has several other developers in this sector offering its service including Atlas and Get Living.
Build to rent has been slower to take off in Scotland and there are now 1,300 apartments completed within the sector, Rettie & Co research reveals, helped by a £150m Scottish government initiative to build 50,000 affordable homes in Scotland by 2021.
Apartments at Harbour Gateway start at £501 a month for a one-bedroom flat and rise to £803 for a three-bedroom unit.