Turning bad experience into a great business

When alumnus Dmitrijs Seladjins (Finance and Investment BSc(Hons) 2012) arrived in the UK from Latvia with his business partner, Konstantins Afanasjevs in 2008, they were both in search of greater opportunities. They first settled in Luton, where they rented accommodation.

Dmitrijs said: “We had quite a few very unpleasant experiences, which involved living in very cramped places with noisy neighbours, incredibly thin walls, extreme dampness and mould. Another issue was dealing with landlords and agencies who were reluctant to do repairs, trying to save on energy, limiting heating in the house.”

Dmitrijs discovered the problem was endemic elsewhere: “After moving down to Brighton, it turned out these issues were not limited to one city: it is a major issue where potential tenants have no prior information about the flat, house or a room, which would be essential when deciding on signing six- or 12-month tenancy contracts and moving in. That is how we came up with RentSay.co.uk.”

“According to a PwC report, around 5.4 million households are rented as opposed to owning one outright. This trend is set to persist over time, reaching 7.2 million by 2025, which accounts for 25% of all households.

“We want to improve the rental experience and make it as transparent as possible, so every tenant knows all the pros and cons of the property they are considering moving into and can find a suitable place to live. Eventually, we hope it will start reaching landlords who would be forced to improve the quality of their accommodation due to the review system provided through RentSay.”

How does RentSay work?
RentSay is a rental property review website and it operates on the submission of authentic reviews. Tenants have an opportunity to review properties they have rented. Reviews may include:

  • property condition
  • extras (council tax bands, car parking etc)
  • landlord/agency details
  • area
  • any issues.

The service also provides prospective tenants with the opportunity to research properties they may consider moving into and offers:

  • the opportunity to contact the previous tenant (who left a review)
  • signposting to helpful articles about how to find a good place to rent and how to deal with any issues that you may have (all based on genuine experience)
  • plenty of interesting and useful features, including 360-degree property views, estimated bill costs and much more.

Dmitrijs explained how the service benefits students and graduate tenants: “A lot of students and graduates come from abroad, so the majority of them are probably going to be renting flats, houses or rooms. Having service like RentSay will diminish their chances of renting bad or unsuitable properties while considering their preferences of a place to live while studying. This, in turn, will allow students to concentrate on more important things like studying, rather than sorting out problems with landlords or looking to move every six to 12 months if a place turns out to be noisy or has other issues.”

Dmitrijs credits his degree in Brighton Business School for developing his enterprise: “Initially, I applied to the University of Brighton to get knowledge in finance and find a trading job, but as it turned out, I not only got myself into financial market trading but also accrued immense business acumen and the ability to think broadly about business ideas. Without the University of Brighton, it would not have been impossible for me to be in the place and position I am now.”

Are you a tenant? Please write a review about your current place or properties you have rented in the past. You can find out more about Dmitrijs’ Rentsay enterprise and follow the company on Facebook or Twitter.

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