EZYLET.COM – A ground-breaking Gibraltar success story

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E­very company has its ambitions – some with wider horizons than others. Most, if they’re honest, would settle for a little bit of growth and a steady profit. But we, at Ezylet, are aiming a little higher. We’re planning on nothing less than a complete redefining of the UK property rental market.

Ezylet is an online portal which gives landlords with properties and tenants looking for homes a space to find each other – direct and, for prospective tenants, absolutely free.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this must have been tried before. But the fact is that all three of the major UK letting sites – OnTheMarket, Rightmove and Zoopla – specifically bar private landlords from posting their property details; access is exclusively reserved for estate agents.

Furthermore, the tenant/landlord interface is just one aspect of Ezylet’s offer. We also provide a comprehensive package of services, Tennant Referencing, Rent Guarantor, mortgages, currency exchange and more. And it’s this, the one-stop-shop nature of Ezylet’s services that makes the company unique.

Ezylet opened its Gibraltar base in 2013, attracted by the business opportunities the peninsula provides. We decided to raise capital for a forthcoming Initial Public Offering (IPO) through Invesdor, the Helsinki-based Nordic market leader in equity crowd-funding. Its technology operates transparently, securely and conveniently to speed up and facilitate the fundraising process.

An initial target of £500,000 was reached in June 2017, but a further £250,000 was pledged before the funding project was brought to an end – a significant reflection of the potential that investors could see in our plans. The company’s Gibraltar base also gives it a perfect position to roll its business model out into other European countries when expansion plans kick in.

The gap in the market

Ezylet see the UK as representing an untapped market in private rental – and the figures seem to back that opinion up. Among UK landlords, around 75% own one to three properties which they see as long-term investments. The private landlord cohort is 1.5m strong, owning approximately 4.5m residences with an occupancy level of around eight million people.

Of the total UK landlord population, around 40% manage their properties privately, and that’s where Ezylet target their activities, hoping initially to corner 4% of the market. The average lifetime of a tenancy agreement is 18 months, so there are something approaching three million new tenancies every year: a rich seam to mine.

Legislation changes in the pipeline might make the market even more eager to take advantage of the Ezylet offer. In the 2017 Queen’s Speech, the government announced plans for an outright ban on letting fees. Long a bone of contention, these fees include payments for inventories, references, lease renewals and agency fees and can total as much as £700.

With agencies no longer allowed to charge letting fees, there is a likelihood that they will try to pass the costs on to the landlords – fees form a significant part of agency income. This extra expense will force many landlords to looking elsewhere to advertise and manage their properties, and Ezylet’s low-fee or no-fee operation will seem even more attractive.

Any room for agents?

Another target in Ezylet’s sights is a part of the UK’s 15,000-strong estate agency network. Figures for posting property details on the main estate agent-only portals suggest that, on average, every single office faces a bill of between £500 and £1,000 every single month. With Ezylet prices for advertising, their maximum being just under £700 for a whole year, the company’s target of getting 10% of the letting agency market operating through their portal seems achievable.

Just for Gib

One Ezylet service might be of particular interest to anyone heading off to study in the UK. The problem of renting accommodation for students from abroad is well-known; most landlords demand a UK-based parent or guardian to act as guarantor. Without that, an advance payment, often amounting to as much as the whole tenancy’s rental, can be demanded, which can make the whole study process unaffordable.

Ezylet’s Rent Guarantor product provides the answer. In one simple-to-use process, would-be students can arrange for Ezylet to act as their guarantor, which makes the rental market an even playing field. And fees are realistic enough – one month’s rental equivalent is the norm – to ease the financial pressure.

The person behind the portal

I am highly experienced in the property market, with over 30 years as a landlord, investor and developer in residential and commercial markets in the UK and Ireland. Backed by a similarly well-qualified team, I make no apologies for the scale of my ambition for Ezylet.

We’re just aiming to make things simple; bringing tenants and landlords closer together makes absolute sense. The current system is complicated and expensive for everyone involved, and the time is right for a simple no-nonsense, affordable alternative. We want Ezylet to become a byword, a household name for landlord and tenant activity. What Facebook has done for social media, we’d like to do for property rental.

Ezylet has already seen more than 135,000 properties successfully hosted and let since 2015, and with 100,000 monthly visitors, their next target of 250,000 looks easily attainable. The next five years will see plans for further growth coming on-stream.

On average, a landlord who gets on board with Ezylet will be around £1,000 a year better off because he or she will be contacting tenants direct. We believe that’s a compelling reason why we’ll become the natural home of UK private letting.

For more info, go to www.ezylet.com or look for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

words | Paul Foy, CEO and Founder of Ezylet