A young entrepreneur and recent graduate who recently launched a new kind of student lettings platform tells LandlordZONE that her business already has a presence in eight key UK cities and has plans to expand into another ten by the end of year.
Called HYBR – short for hibernate – it is the brainchild of 24-year-old former Bristol student Hannah Chappatte (pictured) who says she observed the ‘toxic’ relationship between letting agents, landlords and students and, during her final year, began building its platform and pitching to Bristol landlords.
“I noticed that students hated renting and they distrusted landlords, while landlords distrusted students, so I wanted to create something that would raise the standards of student renting by creating a win-win for all involved,” she says.
HYBR asks landlords to be involved in the running of their rented properties, although it does offer a full management service, but also hand-holds students who use its service with advice and support as they move into, and live within, their rented home.
“HYBR offers [tenants] around-the-clock customer support from former students who understand what they are going through,” she says.
“We offer a broad range of properties and prices that are tailored to the student market, so students only see properties relevant to them.”
The business already has 120 properties on its books in eight cities and, once it gains more investment, hopes to add another ten to the list by the end of the year, aided by 40 ‘ambassadors’ on the ground.
“So far the business has been bootstrapped with our profits and from winning several business competitions,” she says. “But we’re now talking to outside investors to help it expand.”
Chappatte says she launched HYBR because she noticed how landlords had only two options – pay very little to a self-management platform but do a lot of the work themselves, or pay a hefty commission to a letting agency to manage their property – with nothing in the middle.
“For landlords, we offer affordable, flexible packages with all the one-off services they could need at a fraction of the cost of agents, and we source tenants fast. We beat advertising portals through leveraging the use of social media and utilising our ambassador teams,” she adds.
It is currently operational in Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff, Gloucester, Lancaster, Lincoln, Liverpool and Sheffield.