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Sunday, 6 August 2017

(The Star) Linking up landlords and tenants

An online platform, Speedrent, is available in Malaysia for landlords and tenants to deal directly with one another.

“The app connects the tenant directly with the landlord. The tenant does not need to pay a deposit,” says founder Wong Whei Meng.

On the website, it says “Speedrent makes home renting DIY easy!”

Traditionally, he says, tenants who rent a place for RM1,000 monthly through an agent would have to pay RM4,000 in total – a two-month security deposit, one month utility deposit (both which are refundable) – and the one-month advance rental.

But with Speedrent, Wong says, the tenant pays RM2,000 upfront (RM1,000 for the first-month rent and the other RM1,000 goes to Speedrent.)

“So this is 50% less in terms of upfront cost for the tenant.”

He says the landlord will also pay Speedrent the equivalent of a month’s rent.

In return, the landlord will be covered by an insurance policy if the tenant bolts before the one-year tenancy is up.

This, he says, is in partnership with Allianz General Insurance.

“Traditionally, if your tenant runs away after six months, you get the five months that he paid, and you get to keep the three months security and utility deposits.

“But with Speedrent, if the tenant defaults on payment or goes MIA, then the landlord will get the six months’ rent. And he will get another two months rental guarantee from the insurance plus RM15,000 and RM1,000 as an inconvenience benefit.

“So in total, he gets about nine to 10 months of rent.”

The app generates a tenancy agreement template for both parties to sign online. This is sent to Inland Revenue Board for stamping, making it legal and binding.

Speedrent also does a credit check on the tenant so that the landlord will know whether he has a good credit score.

The rent goes through Speedrent, which tracks the tenant’s payment record.

If he doesn’t pay up but continue staying at the home, Speedrent will talk to him. If that fails, they will get lawyers to send out a letter of demand and an eviction notice.

“Based on our statistics, most tenants would opt to leave by the stipulated date.”

And if they do not, Speedrent will give their names to CTOS to be blacklisted.

“So far, we haven’t had to blacklist anyone yet,” says Wong

If the landlord is the one who is problematic where the place rented out is bad with problems such as bed bugs, Speedrent will remove his listing and ban him from their app.

Wong says Speedrent which started in 2015 matches about 50 to 60 landlords with tenants each month.

High-end units move slowly but those within an affordable range rental between RM1,200 to RM1,500 get taken up fast, he adds.