Short-term lettings model launches roll-out to help agents monetise empty properties

A business backed by Purplebricks co-founder Kenny Bruce, former Countrywide boss and Rightmove founder Harry Hill, and ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, is this week rolling out its service to estate and letting agents.

Lavanda says it is currently speaking to several players in the London market, and aims to roll out the offering nationally next year.

Its platform enables agents to monetise empty sale or rental properties at the touch of a button by tapping into the short-term rental market. Guests would stay a minimum of two nights in homes awaiting sale, or in rental properties that are between tenants.

Lavanda says it offers a turnkey solution, including furnishing services, professional vetting, hotel-style housekeeping, personal meet and greet, and a 24/7 concierge service.

The properties are advertised on platforms including Airbnb.

Guy Westlake, CEO and co-founder of Lavanda, said: “Our mission is to unlock value by bridging the gap between the residential property industry and the rapidly evolving super short-term rental market.

“Much to the frustration of vendors, the recent slow sales market has led to swathes of prime property sitting empty. This has not only resulted in vendors suffering a significant loss of income, but not facilitating a quick sale can also damage the agent’s reputation with their client.

“Lavanda solves this specific pain point, powering growth and profitability in our partners, whilst enabling them to delight their customers with a new, value-added service offering, unlocking tens of thousands of pounds in additional income.”

Lavanda launched earlier this year offering serviced lets to short-stay tenants and a platform for agents to use, so we queried how new the offering actually is.

A spokesperson clarified: “Lavanda have until now worked with private home owners and landlords to provide the super short-term rental service.

“However, this is the first time that it will be undertaken directly with agents as a means of enabling them to benefit commercially from sale or rental properties that are sitting unused (and also therefore bring a financial benefit to their clients).”

It has had two rounds of angel funding, raising a total of £2.3m.

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