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Interview | Tips

Adapting to modern living: an interview with Noemi Staehelin

Modern living has always been a playground for innovation – the light bulb, the toaster – but in 2019, our living, working and travelling needs have all but changed this state of play completely.

Many of us now prefer rentals that allow for greater flexibility, and can adapt to our fast-moving – and adventurous – lives. In the spirit of the New Year, we wanted to look into this trend, and see how rental companies are instituting services that work for a changing property market. So, we sat down with Noemi, Co-Founder of Residently, to talk about their mission to rebuild the rental experience from the ground up.

What is Residently’s mission for long-lets in the UK? In recent years, the way we live has changed dramatically, but renting has remained the same – there’s even something weird about the word landlord. Collectively, we spend a lot of money on rent, and we deserve to receive high-quality service in return. We want to make the process of finding, setting up and running a home as simple as ordering a takeaway. Our vision is to achieve this globally and not just in the UK.

What is this "New Way of Living"? Essentially, it is renting designed around the tenant, or the resident, as we call them. We put a lot of thought into how our properties are designed; they’re beautiful, and they are flexible to the consumer’s needs. We also charge no fees, which is how renting should be. Prospective residents can arrange viewings, and even rent a property without having to meet with someone, let alone sign anything – unless of course they want to. This process usually takes weeks, and we’ve managed to make it take minutes. Once a resident is on board, we’re at their service, not the other way round. We can provide furniture, art, cleaning, laundry, and even storage. We’re basically a landlord-come-butler. We want to earn their loyalty, so that they will want to stay in our network when they are ready to move into their next property.

With huge shifts in the UK property market, how do you see the long-term rental industry developing over the next 24 months? As far as the UK goes, we are really focused on millennials in London. Before, there were two central reasons to buy: capital appreciation, and security. Given the extent to which prices have skyrocketed in London over the last two decades, capital appreciation has really taken a hit. Millennials also value experiences over possessions, and expect flexibility in their lives to cater for this, and so, for them, security has shifted to encompass comfort and stability in all forms of accommodation, for whatever period of time. London already has the highest level of private renting in the UK (40-60% in our key boroughs), and given the large millennial population, I would expect that trend to continue.

As a founder, what are you most focused on right now? 2018 was really about proof of concept for us: demonstrating that our model works, by enabling landlords to profit from our platform, and for customers to feel the superiority of our customer service. We’ll never stop working on improving these, but we’re now starting to work on scaling our model for wider use. Watch this space!

Lastly, what do you do to relax when you're not building Residently? With the fear of sounding like a stereotypical millennial, I love to travel and discover new places, explore London’s cultural offerings, and strengthen my body and mind through yoga!

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