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The eBay for Apartments Is Here

A San Francisco startup will allow landlords to auction long-term rental leases to competing bidders online.
May 17, 2016, 11am PDT | Elana Eden
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Rentberry, an online auction platform for long-term rental leases, is launching tomorrow in the Bay Area and New York.

CEO Alex Lubinsky says apartment-hunting is already a bidding war; Rentberry simply provides a more transparent and convenient negotiation process, while eliminating most application fees.

Prospective tenants will be able to see the highest offer and how many people are bidding, and to make multiple counteroffers until the listing expires.

Landlords can expect their rental incomes to increase by 5 percent on average, the company estimates. They'll also get the service for free.

So will tenants—until or unless they end up signing a rental agreement, at which point they'll pay $25. Soon, Rentberry will begin charging them monthly payments of one quarter of the additional income gained by their landlords.

Of course, not everyone agrees that this is "renting done right" (the company's tagline). "Some will say the last thing the San Francisco rental market needs is a middleman taking his slice when ordinary people are being priced out every day," notes SFGate.

To that concern, Lubinsky responds: "We aren’t living in North Korea… Here we have supply and demand, and we have freedom of choice."

Rentberry also plans to expand to slower markets like Dallas and Houston, where it expects landlords to accept low-ball offers in order to fill vacancies faster.

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Published on Monday, May 16, 2016 in SF Gate
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