In 2018 our founder, Toby, was a first-year student in the University of Auckland’s Halls of Residences. He was eager to go flatting in the second year along with many of his peers but found the only option was to get stuck in a 12-month lease or second-year halls. All his friends bit the bullet and signed a 12-month lease leaving their rooms empty the entire summer, but he refused to and was determined to find a 9-month lease. Toby worked as an Airbnb short-term accommodation manager for two years and discovered that their non-peak season lined up almost perfectly with when students needed properties. He enquired into over 150 properties on Airbnb to see if they would be open to trying a 9-month lease then renting the property via short-term accommodation over the summer to maximise their rental yield.
In 2019 he signed a 9-month lease for a fully furnished four-bedroom house in Parnell. Toby and his flatmates were stoked to save $3000 each from not paying rent over the summer. This was when Toby knew he had to offer this solution to all students across New Zealand.
In 2020, the 9+3 model was born where Toby aimed to build a platform to ensure students only paid rent from February – November and landlords the option to increase their rental yield by up to 25%. EasyRent’s MVP was launched in September, gaining immediate traction from students across the country who were eager to secure their first 9-month rental. We had 25 properties listed on our platform over 6-months, and almost 500 students sign up. However, we only managed to fill three of these homes as they were all apartments, and the majority of Auckland students needed a house. We learnt more than we ever expected over this period, and it allowed us to open up EasyRent to a new business model that catered to a broader range of students.
Now in 2021, the big pivot! We went back to the whiteboard with all our newly discovered learnings and have developed a solution that connects students with empty rooms and those after accommodation for 3-months over summer. Students’ response so far has been incredible, and we are super excited to launch our new solution.