It's a landlord's market in New York and San Francisco, and a new Bay Area startup is taking advantage of it by giving renters a tool to bid against one another for an apartment.
Free for landlords, Rentberry is an online auction pricing tool for long-term rental properties - essentially an eBay for apartments. CEO Alex Lubinsky says Rentberry allows renters to see how many people are bidding on a unit and what the highest offer currently is. They can also make multiple offers, but the landlord doesn't have to accept the highest bidder. Before an auction begins, landlords can hold an open house for prospective renters so landlords can vet applicants.
Renters will have to pay $25 if they sign a rental agreement through Rentberry, but once the business is established, Lubinsky suggests the rate will be a monthly fee of 25% of the additional rental income the service procured for the landlord. If a property listed at $2,000 per month rented for $2,075, the renter would pay $18.75 a month to Rentberry for the term of the lease.
The biggest questions is why would renters want to use something that would make their apartment more expensive in an already heated market like San Francisco or New York? Lubinsky argues it's about transparency. Renters are already being priced out of units in these markets, but aren't necessarily given an option to counter a higher price on an apartment.