Tinder for flat seekers: How a new German app wants to revolutionise the rental market
Mietz, a new rental app, allows users to swipe right and left to be matched up with new rentals. The Local spoke to founder Lena Tuckermann about how she hopes to help international residents in Germany find their dream flats.
After five months spent looking for a flat in Hamburg, involving 50 hours of online searching and sending 200 emails, Lena Tuckermann jokingly asked her friends: “Why isn’t there something like Tinder for flats?”
But what started as a joke quickly became a reality when she decided to build an app that functioned in a similar way to the dating app Tinder.
Along with co-founder Johann Kim, Tuckermann set up a rental app with a matching algorithm and in-app contract processing, designed to help apartment seekers and renters to find each other quickly, easily and securely.
Apartment seekers can swipe right on rentals they like the look of and left on those not to their taste. On the other end, the renters can view the users’ profiles and, if there is a match, the two sides can start talking.
Mietz is free of charge for apartment hunters and students can use the app to find new roommates for free.
The app launched in October and already has over 6,000 users. Currently, the app has listings in Berlin and Frankfurt, but will soon be extending its roster with apartments in Braunschweig, Hamburg and Munich.
'Safety on both sides'
“Internationals are one of our main target audiences,” Tuckermann explained, as the company focuses on listing apartments with less bureaucratic requirements, which, for example, don’t require tenants to provide SCHUFA checks.
But at the same time, there is a strong emphasis on safety, and a desire to help flat hunters avoid being scammed.
“We work very closely with the companies offering the apartments, and try to create safety on both sides”, said Tuckermann.
“Most of our users are currently based in Germany, but we are working on expanding that with university partnerships around the world, to reach students looking for places to stay in Germany”.
Most of the apartments currently listed on the app are from businesses with larger apartment portfolios, but private renters can create profiles and upload listings, also for flat shares.
While the business landlords don’t swipe left and right on the faces of prospective renters, private renters and those offering rooms in a flatshare can do so.
“I think, when you’re looking for someone for a flat share, you do want to get an initial impression of a person, and pictures definitely help with that,” Tuckermann explained.
Everything about the app is designed to take the pain of long, frustrating flat searching away. “You don’t have to send emails, and you only share your documents if you know the landlord is interested”, Tuckermann said.
Another part of this is the ability to sign digital contracts online, to make the sometimes lengthy rental process run more smoothly.
“I spoke to one company with over 1,000 apartments, which had previously had to send their rental agreements by post – some of them to India. This meant that some people were waiting over six weeks before their contracts were finalised,” said Tuckermann.
It’s still very early days for Mietz, but the feedback so far from users has been very positive.
“We need a bit of time to get going and to be able to compete with the well-established rental portals. But the feedback we’ve had so far has been great, I think because it made the process of looking for an apartment less painful and because we try hard to match our users with suitable places to live,” said Tuckermann.