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Vancouver Start-Up Wants You to Bid On Your Rent

The founders of Vancouver-based Biddwell are hoping to change the way landlords and potential tenants find each other, but a renters' advocacy body sees the new company as bad news for tenants in an increasingly tight housing market.
August 22, 2016, 10am PDT | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Josef Hanus

The launch of the new online rental housing portal Biddwell is raising hackles among renters' advocates in the city of Vancouver, B.C. Andrea Woo of The Globe and Mail reports that the site's launch is being heralded by the company's CEO as a way for renters to have a say in the fair market value of rental units through a bidding process that lets potential tenants make offers on a unit based on what they believe it is worth. However, Alvin Singh of the Vancouver’s Renters Advisory Committee believes the new bidding system will have a deleterious effect on rents in a city already dealing with sky high rents and a low housing supply.

“In a scenario where there are so many people competing, it might not be an open bidding war – this is definitely not an auction – but it’s still a bidding war. Someone is going to sit there … they’re going to take a look at what the market is like and if they have the extra money, they’re going to put in an inflated bid. There’s no way that a system like this is not going to encourage rental rates to go up.”
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Published on Sunday, August 14, 2016 in The Globe and Mail
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