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Technology Changing The Renter’s Market

By Urban Reform Staff | Aug 16, 2017


A relatively new service could change the way that urban dwellers everywhere go about renting residential property. Biddwell – currently only in Vancouver – allows renters to essentially blind bid on apartments of their choice.

The company allows apartment seekers to review online listings, as has become customary, and then submit a “sealed offer” on a specific unit. After the bid is submitted the landlord reviews each applicant’s “renter resume” and picks a future tenant. The resume includes a biography, references, and verified income, as well as your bid on the apartment.

The beauty of this innovative way of renting is that it permits for actual market value for units. Rather than searching apartments and going with one landlords inflated rental price it allows potential tenants to decide what they think an apartment is worth, and if the landlord thinks it’s worth more, then the renter can move on to another listing.

The company offers the added benefit of verification. For most people looking for an apartment at or below market value they tend to use third party apps or craigslist which can be unsafe and tedious. Biddwell vets landlords seeking to use their service and verifies them so renters can feel safe about opting to go this route.

“For the first time we want to give tenants the opportunity to speak to fair market value. Currently, tenants have no say in pricing. A lot of owners we’ve talked to actually welcome that, because they themselves don’t really know what to price units,” said Biddwell’s cofounder and CEO Jordan Lewis.

And while the landlords can set a suggested rental rate, there’s nothing stopping apartment seekers from submitting a bid below that rate if they feel it is worth that – an option you don’t get with traditional rental services.

This service could be beneficial in any major city. It removes the middleman allowing renters direct access to owners and landlords. It has since opened platforms in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and the benefit of this service is realized one can only imagine it will continue to grow.

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