This article in the Vancouver Sun by Susan Lazaruk describes how Biddwell.com hopes to provide a tool for landlords to find-well, tenants. That is not particularly hard to do in Vancouver, with a very low vacancy rate.
But while you could argue having prospective tenants “bid” on an apartment allows for bigger financial gains for the landlord, the CEO Jordan Lewis says :
“the new site will assist landlords in finding “quality tenants” and also give a voice to tenants to submit a lower offer if they have those strong qualities in the hopes a landlord would choose them over the highest bidder. We want tenants to be able to negotiate on pricing,” said Lewis, who has an engineering background. “Right now the tenant has no voice.”
Yes you heard it right. This application gives you a chance to have a voice. Bids for apartments are “sealed” and sent to the landlords, along with a “rental resume” so that tenants can sell themselves.
Landlord BC, an amalgam for three different landlord associations, represents rental property owners. “LandlordBC has concerns about any app that would facilitate or could encourage bidding wars,” said David Hutniak, of LandlordBC. “Our concern is that is what could very well happen with this app. It’s going to make it more challenging for tenants to find affordable housing.”
Clearly bidding on rental housing produces commodity pricing on something that is a basic necessity. It is a bit of a take off on Rentberry in San Francisco where tenants are charged $25.00 a pop to put in an application. In this case, Vancouver landlords will be paying for the service.
Let’s hope this is just a temporary aberration and goes away. Indeed it might be just as good sending a handwritten letter to a building owner or landlord-colleagues rent in the very best places imaginable, successful with that approach.