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Rentberry: New San Francisco startup has renters bid against each other for the best flats

Rentberry tells landlords on its website: 'We strive to maximise your rental price by allowing tenants to submit custom offers and compete in the bidding process'

Doug Bolton
Tuesday 17 May 2016 19:58 BST
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San Francisco, where Rentberry is based, is one of the most expensive places to rent in the US
San Francisco, where Rentberry is based, is one of the most expensive places to rent in the US (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

London's rental market could get a lot more horrifying if a new US startup makes it over to the UK.

San Francisco-based company Rentberry is positioning itself as the 'eBay for renting' by having would-be renters bid against each other for the best flats.

Renters can search for flats on Rentberry or through landlord-organised viewings, and once they've found one they like, they can say how much they're willing to pay in rent.

Other Rentberry users can put in higher bids, and everyone will be able to see the current highest bid, as well as how many people are bidding on the property. Tenants can also try to outbid each other on the security deposit for the property.

After the bidders have climbed over each other to get to the top, the landlord can then choose the highest-paying tenant, although with Rentberry's built-in credit check and referencing system, they may choose another, even if they're not offering the most money.

Rents in San Francisco are notoriously high, with the average one-bedroom flat costing around £2,500 a month according to San Jose's Mercury News. Rentberry could see them rise even further.

Users will be able to see the current highest bid and the total number of bidders (Rentberry)

As Rentberry says in their pitch to landlords: "We strive to maximise your rental price by allowing tenants to submit custom offers and compete in the bidding process."

Currently, Rentberry plans to make its money through the $25 (£17) fees tenants pay once their deals are finalised. In future, the company may get landlords to chip in, with a monthly fee comprised of 25 per cent of the extra income Rentberry brought them by getting tenants to bid over the asking price.

According to chief executive Alex Lubinsky, who spoke to SFGate about his new company, Rentberry offers a "more efficient and transparent" application process than traditional methods.

The company launched on 17 May in California's Bay Area and New York, and "hundreds" have already signed up, Lubinsky told the website.

He said the company is planning on expanding to Dallas and Houston in Texas in the coming months, but there's no word if a move across the pond is in the works.

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