Already operating in the US, online rental market places allow multiple tenants to ‘bid’ for available rental properties.
We’ve yet to see it work in Australia, but Domain tells us that tenants would search for properties through a listing site then click through to the rent-bidding app to place their offer.
Property managers would list the landlord’s desired rental price and other terms and a move-in date. The bidding then begins.
Australian start-up Rentwolf and US-based Live Offer are two companies that have announced plans to launch in Australia in the coming months.
Are these clever start-ups just cashing in on our desire to digitise everything these days? Or are there risks with these new platforms?
Some industry commentators have raised concerns that “impulsive eBay-style bidding” could see tenants over commit.
“Tenants who use these apps could be lulled into the thrill of the chase and get caught up in the bidding process and commit to paying a rental amount that they can’t afford in the long term,” Carolyn Parrella of Terri Scheer landlord insurance told Domain.
On the flipside, others in the industry say rent bidding happens all the time anyway and putting it on a digital platform just adds transparency to the process.
With the Tenants Union of New South Wales and Victoria pushing to make rent bidding illegal we suspect we haven’t heard the end of this debate.