A pilot service of Unite Students’ new platform Conker aims to deliver a fair, transparent and hassle-free renting experience for both landlords and students.
With around 660,000 students living in student-only Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the UK, research by Unite Students has revealed that, as 40% lose their deposits at the end of their tenancies, it’s no wonder that the average student rates their lettings experience as 6.3 out of ten.
Landlords, on the other hand, pay an average of £1,387 per tenant to find and/or manage their properties. With 34% owning at least two rental properties, a fear of tenants not paying, lack of support for any disputes that arise, along with the complexities and organisation required in managing properties and tenants, landlords really do have their work cut out.
For students, simply wanting to be treated fairly and ensuring that they get a good deal would be a major boost to their renting experience.
Conker, the new platform, addresses the two main concerns held by both landlords and students – ease and peace of mind. Offering trust and transparency to both parties, the service hosts many features, including rent and damage cover, combined property management, digital inventories and contracts, a 24/7 mayday function for issues and repairs, as well as independent dispute resolution.
With over 27 years’ experience in student accommodation, Unite Students will use its own network of resident first-year students and alumni, and relationships with universities, to offer landlords access to validated tenants, taking the pressure off finding and managing reliable renters.
Properties will be validated before being listed on the Conker platform, helping landlords to showcase their professionalism. The app will then allow landlords to easily manage their property portfolios from one place, reducing admin headaches to ensure that the rent keeps coming in.
If repairs are required, they can be easily tracked for landlords to get fixed using their own contacts, or by tapping into Conker’s list of registered, reliable tradespeople.
The platform has been developed following rigorous testing with both landlords and students, and aims to help improve the whole renting experience, enabling landlords to enjoy being landlords and keep the rent coming in, and allowing students to enjoy living in a hassle-free home to focus on their studies.
Conker is being piloted in Bristol, with a view to rolling out the service to other cities in the coming months.