PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’: Housing Hand challenges the PRS | EY & Fifth Wall develops interactive decarbonisation tools

Andrew Stanton’s daily proptech & property news in association with Estate Agent Networking

Housing Hand Challenges the Private Rented Sector to Get ‘Rent Reform Ready’

  • Renters Reform Bill to pass by May 2023
  • Housing Hand warns Bill in current form could lead to greater inequality in the rental sector
  • Canopy partnership has reduced Housing Hand pre-validation process from 48 hours to 48 seconds

There is much to be lauded in the proposed Renters Reform Bill. The government has confirmed that the Bill will be introduced before the end of the current session of Parliament (May 2023). If it passes unamended, it will become illegal for landlords and letting agents to refuse to rent homes to benefit claimants. This will help to level the rental playing field.

However, UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has warned that the Bill in its current form is also likely to drive down the level of available stock when it comes to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

Graham Hayward, Chief Operating Officer, Housing Hand: “The abolition of section 21 notices is – on the surface – a good thing, as it will protect tenants from ‘no fault’ evictions and give more security of tenure. Yet there is a flaw, as when combined with the ability of tenants to give two months’ notice the Bill fails to protect landlords equally. For HMO landlords, many of whom house students, the spectre of being given two months’ notice and then dealing with extended void periods and tenant-finding costs during term time may be a breaking point. This in turn could mean that the stock of HMO accommodation will likely diminish as a direct result of the Renters Reform Bill.”

With stock reducing, competition between tenants will increase. Those keen to secure rental properties quickly will likely offer payment upfront – and that is a retrograde step from an inclusion perspective.

The Housing Hand team is preparing to combat this increased inequality as part of its mission to reduce barriers to renting. The organisation has taken steps to become ‘rent reform ready’. It is now challenging other players in the private rented sector to do the same.

At Housing Hand, that means putting services in place to support renters to get pre-validated so that they are ready to move fast when they find the property they want. The company has already engaged with accommodation providers around the country to help facilitate a smooth migration to the new market conditions, including pre-validation checks. Its recently announced partnership with Canopy plays a key role in this. Accommodation providers who have signed up to Housing Hand’s enhanced service have seen validation timescales move from 48 hours to 48 seconds as a result of the partnership.

“By working together to innovate and create a system that supports both landlords and tenants, we can help to level the playing field and break down barriers to renting. It’s time to get rent reform ready.”

With updated technology and processes in place to better support both renters and landlords, Housing Hand has already seen an uptick of 20.6% in accepting applicants using the company as a guarantor. It has also seen an increase of 25.6% in custom arrangements with HMO landlords, Build to Rent accommodation providers and purpose-built student accommodation providers. Universities are more engaged in helping gain a suitable stock of accommodation for their latest cohort but in some cities this has already reached challenging levels through lack of available stock. House Hand has also extended its reach by acting as guarantor for university in-house accommodation (halls of residence).

Graham Hayward, Chief Operating Officer, Housing Hand: “The Renters Reform Bill in its current form is certainly not without its issues. However, the sector needs to prepare for its impact, flawed or not. By working together to innovate and create a system that supports both landlords and tenants, we can help to level the playing field and break down barriers to renting. It’s time to get rent reform ready.”

EY US to lead the charge toward a climate-positive future for real estate

Alongside Fifth Wall, the firm has developed interactive resources to help companies understand and reduce their carbon emissions

PRESS RELEASE: Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) today announced its collaboration with Fifth Wall, a venture capital firm focused on technology for the global real estate industry, to increase awareness and mitigation of real estate’s impact on climate change with a suite of interactive tools to further companies’ understanding of their carbon footprint and reduce their emissions. As a leading contributor to climate change, the real estate industry must play a major role in decreasing our planet’s carbon footprint.

Commercial buildings account for approximately two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, and recent New York legislation aims to make the city carbon-neutral by 2050. In response, EY US and Fifth Wall teamed up to develop an interactive website, A Climate-Positive Future for Real Estate, to help companies across the US manage and reduce their carbon footprints.

“Our goal is to help companies create their own sustainable future,” said Mark Grinis, EY Americas Real Estate, Hospitality & Construction Leader. “By providing three frameworks for decarbonization — legislation, carbon strategy and reporting, and technology — we are thrilled to be working with Fifth Wall to help organizations navigate the journey to net zero, whether they’ve already taken steps to reducing their carbon footprint or are just getting started.”

The website includes:

  • An interactive map to assess a company’s potential carbon tax exposure
  • A carbon calculator to understand how an emission tax on real estate could impact a company’s bottom line
  • Tips and tools to help develop a carbon reporting strategy
  • Information on how technology can reduce carbon emissions within a company’s real estate investment

“We’re on a mission to decarbonize real estate and are thrilled to join forces with EY to help companies across the US manage and reduce their carbon footprints,” said Greg Smithies, Partner and Co-Lead of Climate Tech at Fifth Wall. “The carbon agenda needs to be top of mind for all companies, and a great place to start is by implementing technology that lowers energy usage and allows for better insights into properties. Only then, we will start to see meaningful change.”

For more information and for website access, visit

Proptech and Property News in association with Estate Agent Networking.

Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.

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