A radical HMO management platform and home finding site has been launched to let landlords self-manage properties automatically without using letting agents.
Developed by proptech company COHO (Company for Life Ltd), it aims to shake up the lettings market using artificial intelligence to minimise vacancies and connect compatible tenants.
Founder and CEO Vann Vogstad explains that it’s an assistant not a database which, instead of warning a landlord when an action needs doing, can notify them when it’s been done.
“When the gas safety certificate is due for renewal, the system will connect with the required supplier and the supplier will then connect with the tenants and say, ‘we need to arrange a visit within the next three days’,” he says. “The landlord doesn’t need to be involved.”
More than 20 services, such as maintenance and rent collection, can be dealt with online; the system reports when the rent has been paid and if it hasn’t, will chase payment and offer advice if people are struggling to pay.
“Even when a tenant hands in their notice, the system can automatically handle all of the end-of-tenancy processes such as deposit and inventory, and automatically relist the vacant room,” adds Vogstad.
“Viewing appointments then go through to the remaining tenants and when a good match is found, the process starts all over again with the automated issuing and exchanging of contracts.”
A tenant looking for a room signs up to COHO and creates a brief profile outlining their age range, interests and profession. The platform can then match them with properties whose existing tenants are likely to be compatible.
COHO is free to use to manage the first 10 units (rooms) and then charges £1 for each unit. “The end-game is a system which enables HMOs to be a passive investment,” says Vann. “At the moment, unless you’re paying for someone to manage it, this is impossible, but it needn’t be.”