Startups claim to solve paying guest problem for singles

Startups claim to solve paying guest problem for singles
In the startup capital of India, finding rental accommodation could be quite a daunting task for bachelors. What with spiraling rental prices and poorly maintained PG accommodations, the housing market for rentals is less than welcoming for the young and aspiring here.

Some startups, however, are set to change the rental landscape in the city by introducing a customised model for bachelors.

“We want to make sure the housing market in the city works for everyone, both for the landlord and the tenants,“ says Amarendra Sahu, co-founder and CEO of Nestaway. The startup is a Bengaluru-based online marketplace for shared accommodation for singles. Having been at the receiving end once himself, Sahu finds that singles are often forced to live in unhygienic and unwelcome situations. “Often due to distrust, landlords hesitate in renting out their properties to bachelors,” he said.

From houses to sub-units
Online rental platform Grabhouse Co-founder Pankhuri Shrivastava lists the reasons for the same. “Landlords’ main concerns are a.) occupancy is not maintained as bachelors have a tendency to up and leave as per convenience and job changes etc., and b.) bachelors inherently have a tendency to cause wear and tear,” she said. “As a result, landlords are not in peace and often pull away from the market. Here we step in to create trust, and more importantly affordability and functionality,” said Sahu.

In the bachelor housing model, instead of putting up the entire house for rent, Nestaway makes sub-units of the house and puts them up on rent separately on a per-bed basis. Explaining how this is a win-win model for tenants as well as landlords, he said, ”A typical mid-market 3BHK in Bengaluru is rented at about Rs 25,000, but if the landlord furnishes as per our template, we create six beds out the 3BHK, which is priced at an average of Rs 8,000. This yields him Rs 48,000, a 100 per cent jump in rent. Moreover, the chances of the house going on rent are also higher.”

“Usually taking up an entire apartment is not a good idea as it locks down 10 months rent in advance,” says Shrivastava. With Grabhouse, “Prices per unit range from Rs 8,000-Rs 12,000. In localities which are in demand, like Koramangala, Indiranagar, Domlur etc., a single room may be available for Rs 10,000-Rs 12,000 and a shared room maybe for Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000. In a less sought after locality, the same may cost Rs 7,000-Rs 8,000 and Rs 5,000 respectively. While prices may just be approximately Rs 1,000 less than a PG, the services and living conditions are highly improved,” she said.

Both startups have found that girls claim a bigger share of the customer pie for managed rentals and shared accommodation models.

“With girls, there is always the concern of safety because of which they prefer to live with someone. Also, the hygiene factor is of more importance to them. Some 60 per cent of our clients are girls,” said Shrivastava. Even at Nestaway, 70 per cent of the clientele are girls, claims Sahu.

“The bachelor housing model is just a couple months old and we are still working on it,” said Shrivastava. Grabhouse identifies the lack of its participation in the payment of rents as a potential problem area, which it plans to work on in the future. Nestaway on the other hand, has been growing at 100 per cent month-on-month for the past four months and plans to soon launch its family housing model, said Sahu.

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