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Former Foxtons agent launches rental app for sharers

The Urban Collective also offers a paid-for "assisted" £600 property finding service.

A proptech company has launched in London offering a rental app for house hunting couples and sharers and an assisted property finder service.

Called The Urban Collective, its unusual service is focussed initially on the London rental market but says it will soon expand beyond the capital to other cities and areas of the UK.

The company’s founders, who include a couple with a background in Fintech and a former Foxtons lettings agent, say research suggests a third of house hunters who look for property as a group or a couple find the process much more painful than when doing it alone.

The Urban Collective decided to create the UrbanCo app for the Apple’s IOS platform. It enables couples or groups to chat, comment and share links, images, videos and viewings feedback – based on the app’s own listings.

Unlike traditional portal-style listings, the company says, its properties will be searchable by lifestyle options as well as price and location – such as proximity to gyms or tube stations.

Sherpa service

And for the wealthier end of the lettings market who are cash rich but time poor, The Urban Collective has launched a ‘Sherpa’ service.

For a fee, wannabe tenants are put in touch with local experts who complete market research, property evaluations and short lists, deal with agents and landlords, organise viewings and support candidates through the tenancy admin and set-up process until they move in.

The Urban Collective claims this helps cut down the number of hours of work needed by tenants to find an ideal rental property from 40 hours to 10.

The fees paid by tenants to the ‘Sherpas’ will start at £600 for a one to three bedroom property and £900 for a four to five bedroom property.

The business is the brainchild of husband and wife team Mayank Mathur and Valerie Vigouroux (pictured, left) who had become fed up with being tenants in London and felt confident there was a “better way”.

They are joined by Octavian Pop (pictured, right), a North London lettings agent who has worked for both Foxtons and Greenstones and who met the couple while helping them find property to rent in the capital.

The venture is being financed in part by Mayank, who already has a successful launch behind him. He co-founded financial sector asset trading firm uTrade, India’s leading Fintech company, which has already expanded into ten other countries.

“The property market has changed in the past two decades – more professionals and business owners are unable to or choosing not to buy, meaning they stay in the rental market longer,” he says.

“It’s time that the search experience is overhauled and brought into the 21st century to match the customer service tenants experience elsewhere, and our new app and ‘Sherpa’ service will help to do so.”

 

July 12, 2017

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