John Lewis signs landmark deal with rental proptech firm Canopy

Tenants among retailer's 85,000 staff will be offered a comprehensive renting solution including properties supplied by a major agency group linked to deposit-free scheme and rent reporting, helping bypass the portals.

The John Lewis Partnership has signed a deal with rental passport proptech start-up Canopy to offer its 85,000 John Lewis and Waitrose staff a comprehensive renting support service.

Canopy offers both agents, landlords and tenants a platform to manage tenancies, pre-screen renters, offer cashless deposits and track tenants’ payments, which are reported to Experian.

The deal with the John Lewis Partnership, which is famous for its caring approach to the firm’s partner-employees, will see all existing and future staff who rent their homes offered the Canopy service.

“Our aim is to provide a relevant and valued range of benefits for our Partners,” says Stacey MacDougall, Leisure Benefits Manager at the John Lewis Partnership (pictured)

“For a number of years, we have seen shelter, accommodation or housing as one of the most important gaps in our offer.

“The importance of good shelter has a critical impact on individuals, their well-being, their effectiveness and happiness at work. Having listened to feedback from our Partners we made the decision to work with Canopy to help us bridge the gap in the shelter space.”

One of the largest estate agency brands in the UK, which already has a deal with John Lewis but can’t be named yet for contractual reasons,  is to offer partners a property rental service and will work with Canopy.

The deal effectively cuts out the portals – partners who request help renting a property will be sent a list of local properties available ‘deposit free’ through Canopy.

The proptech firm tracks rental payments using the recently-launched Open Banking initiative, which enables renters to give permission to third parties such as Canopy to ‘read’ their bank accounts.

“We want to support all parties in having a voice and a choice regarding how they rent, so that it works for them financially. John Lewis Partnership shares this vision,” says Canopy CEO Tahir Farooqui (pictured).

Canopy is one of six proptech companies vying for the government’s recently-launched Rental Recognition Challenge, which is attempting to stimulate tech developments through a £2 million competition.

The others are CreditLadder, Bud, RentalStep, METALabs and Movem.

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