08 Nov 2017  SPCE has launched today to address critical issues faced by university students and landlords in the rental market. The student lettings app,  makes it quick and easy for university-goers to find a room or entire property to rent, while also improving transparency and communication between a student renter and their landlord.

The London-based startup has partnerships with some of the UK’s leading student accommodation providers as well as Experian and AIESEC. Experian will be working with SPCE to help students develop a credit rating while at university, placing them in a stronger financial position once they graduate. AIESEC, the globally renowned international student exchange programme operating in more than 100 countries, has selected SPCE as its chosen partner for overseas students to find a rental property in their new place of study.

SPCE arrives on the market with 50,000 rooms available for rent and 15,000 students pre-registering to download the proptech solution. Moreover, SPCE already has agreements with six major UK universities and has a presence in the country’s leading higher education regions, including: London, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Oxford and Cambridge, plus many more.

How does it work?

  • HOUSE-HUNTING: Whether searching solo or looking as a group, SPCE allows students to easily find and view the right property in the right area through the app
  • GUARANTORS: It pre-validates students’ guarantors so they can progress from searching to renting in just a few clicks
  • DEPOSITS: The app does away with deposits; instead there is just a pre-agreed damage fee
  • SINGLE TENANCY: There is no more joint tenancy liability with SPCE, so students do not have to pay when damage is not their fault
  • COMMUNICATION: Communication between student and landlord is made easy in the app. Issues and required repairs are also logged, and SPCE can mediate between any disputes
  • RATING: Each student and landlord is reviewed to help inform both sides for future tenancies
  • CREDIT: As SPCE is partnered with Experian, every rent payment made on time enhances a students’ credit score

SPCE launches amid an exclusive poll that shows the mass frustration currently being experienced by students and landlords. Based on an independent, nationally-representative survey of more than 2,000 UK adults, the research found:

  • 61% of current university students find securing a rental property one of the most stressful parts of their entire uni experience, with 66% citing poor communication from landlords and estate agents as a major issue
  • 70% of current uni-goers also complained that rental accommodation for students is often in a poor, run-down condition
  • Meanwhile, 70% of UK landlords said they would not let their property to a student because they do not trust them to not cause damage
  • When asked if they would want a system that would provide ratings to tenants and landlords based on previous tenancies, 77% of students and 84% of landlords said they would

Leon Ifayemi, CEO of SPCE, commented: “Anyone currently at university or who’s graduated in the past will more than likely have their fair share of horror stories about finding, securing and living in rented accommodation. And the truth is that many landlords will also have a tale or two to tell about renting properties to students. The launch of SPCE will change all this and I am delighted to unveil it today.

“Not only are we going to make it easy for students to find desirable properties and for landlords to locate new tenants, but we are also going to make communication between both parties throughout the tenancy absolutely effortless. What’s more, by enabling students and landlords to receive ratings we are also encouraging greater respect from all involved and promoting a more transparent system. Throw in the ability for students to build a credit rating and the fact that parent guarantors are kept in the loop, and we’re confident that SPCE is going to drag student lettings into the modern day.”

07 Nov 2017 New research, commissioned by GoCompare Credit Cards, estimates that UK consumers will spend billions of pounds on the Black Friday weekend, which starts on Friday 24 November and ends on Monday 27 November (Cyber Monday).

Clicks beat bricks for shoppers

Just under a third (31%) of UK households say they plan to check out this year’s sales:

  • 49% of them will shop online
  • 21% say they will pay a visit to the high-street
  • 9% will shop via their smartphone
Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping list 
Rank Item %
1 Clothing and accessories 21
2 PS4 or Xbox games or console 16
3 Toys and games 14
4 Health and beauty products and perfume 12
5 Laptop 12
6 Television 11
7 Smartphone 10
8 Tablet computer 9
9 White goods (e.g. fridge, fridge-freezer, washing machine, dishwasher) 8
10 Headphones 7

Plan ahead for real Christmas bargains

For many, Black Friday signals the start of Christmas shopping, and 8% of those surveyed intend to buy most of their Christmas presents in this year’s sales and 12% have delayed major purchases hoping to find them cheaper in the sales.

However, consumers often fail to plan their sales shopping by researching the deals in advance and agreeing a budget before they start buying, which can lead to wasteful spending:

  • Just 15% of bargain-hunters plan ahead by comparing prices before big sale events
  • 10% have bought things in a past sale they didn’t need
  • 6% admitted to getting carried away and overspending

So it’s hardly surprising that, for many shoppers, sales fatigue and scepticism has set in:

  • Nearly a fifth (18%) are fed-up with the end of November sales hype
  • 29% say they will avoid the sales this year
  • Only 10% of those surveyed thought Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales were a good opportunity to bag a bargain

Most spending will be on plastic

People were also asked how they intend pay for their Black Friday shopping spree:

  • 36% plan to use a debit card
  • 23% will fund purchases through a credit card
  • 14% will use cash
  • Only 3% said they had put money aside specifically for the sales

A spokesman for GoCompare, said: “There is a huge amount of hype around Black Friday in the UK now. Get ready for all manner of retailers urging you to ‘act quickly’ before ‘unmissable deals’ on ‘must-have’ products end but be careful not to get caught up in the frenzy. Think about what you actually want and can afford before you buy and set yourself a limit.

“There are some genuinely good deals to be had but make sure you do your homework. With sales on all year round, check other websites to see if you can’t find the item for a cheaper price elsewhere.

“Think too about how you will cover the cost of your Black Friday spending. If you really want the items and believe you have found a good deal, then credit cards can be a good way of spreading the cost of sales shopping, but only if used sensibly.  So think carefully about the kind of card you need. Don’t feel you need to take out a 39 month interest-free offer if you can realistically pay off Black Friday and Christmas spending over a six month period.  And set your repayments at a realistic level to pay off the debt as quickly as you can.  Otherwise you are increasing the chances that you will forget about it and end up paying costly interest charges on the debt.”

06 Nov 2017  The soaring cost of running a car appears to be leading more drivers to become car borrowers and sharers, rather than car owners, according to pay-as-you-go insurer Cuvva.

In the last year, the average UK insurance premium has risen by 14.6% – five times faster than inflation – while car prices rose significantly earlier this year as a result of currency devaluation associated with Brexit, and petrol prices also reached a four-month high in September. The combination of these factors is likely to be leading to a reduced demand for new cars. Indeed, the number of new car registrations has fallen for seven consecutive months, with the latest figures showing a 12.2% slump in sales in October.

These spiralling costs also appear to be influencing people’s driving habits, with a rise in those borrowing and sharing vehicles, rather than owning them outright. This is evident in the sheer growth of carpooling networks and platforms, and in the fact that over the last six months, the number of people taking out short-term insurance with Cuvva has risen by 177%.

This type of ‘pay-as-you-go’ insurance is predominantly used by people borrowing a friend or family member’s car for a short period of time – meaning they only need insurance for a matter of hours. For a driver who needs to borrow someone else’s car for a total of four hours a month, for example, the annual cost of pay-as-you-go insurance with Cuvva’s short-term hourly product, on average, would come to £532.80. This is just 25% of the cost incurred by an average UK driver running their own car for a year.

Freddy Macnamara, CEO and founder of Cuvva, said: “With inflation now at a five-year high and wage growth slow, a lot of people are having to work hard to keep within budgets. One of the biggest expenses for a lot of consumers is the cost of running a car, which is one of the reasons why new car sales have fallen for the last six months.

“These soaring costs are also leading to an attitude change when it comes to car ownership. A lot of people, especially those who drive infrequently, are choosing to share cars between friends and family members, so that they only have a car for the time they need it.

“The car insurance market is responding to this trend by offering more flexibility to drivers. With Cuvva it’s now easier than ever to borrow someone’s car for a short period of time and quickly get insurance on a pay-as-you-go basis, and this will only encourage the trend of car sharing.”