Danielle Cullen explains how Student Tenant can simplify the process
1) Could you tell us more about Student Tenant and how you work?
StudentTenant.com offer groundbreaking private-sector housing solutions to universities, student unions and education providers. We specialise in the production of online bespoke software systems for students to source and book their off-campus housing. We offer a completely tailored service, with your students in mind from the outset.
Think online search tool for students to source properties, but with the most enhanced features, completely tailored to your requirements and with the most user-friendly interface on the market. Unlike other software providers who only offer ‘out of the box’ packages, we have in-house web developers working tirelessly to build your system based on the functions you feel would benefit your students the most.
Not only do we work directly with university accommodation offices, we also provide a national advertising portal for landlords and accommodation providers in our non-affiliated areas. In most locations we already have a big concentration of properties being advertised, making a transition to an official university-backed platform completely hassle free.
2) Could you explain the process of how you work with UK universities?
In a nutshell we build, manage and maintain online web platforms for accommodation offices to use as their interface for students to source private-sector housing. Our relationship and the involvement we have with the universities is defined by the way they currently manage, and how they wish to manage their off-campus accommodation. We develop a specialised platform based on the infrastructure of the particular university and the housing market in that area.
Our platforms can be managed entirely by Student Tenant, allowing institutions to outsource this part of their accommodation services. Our first ‘official’ partner to sign up, the University of Kent, are continuing into their fourth year of utilising our services in such a format. They simply direct all of their students through to their university platform to be assisted by specialist teams at Student Tenant covering every eventuality.
We also work with universities on a fully licensed basis, giving accommodation managers the benefit of the technology available to manage private-sector accommodation in-house. We still offer ongoing technical support and development of the platform throughout the entirety of our relationship, and provide continued support to the students using the platform.
3) In your experience, how has the private-sector housing market changed in recent years and how have you kept up with these changes?
With more and more landlords coming onto the scene, keeping high standards within the private sector can become difficult to manage. Here at Student Tenant we endorse a number of national accreditation schemes, and often request that landlords actually agree to specific codes of standards as set by the universities before they can list. We are continuously developing our platform and integrating with more and more schemes technically to ensure standards remain high across the board.
The shift in demand for higher standards in student accommodation has been reflected in the success of the newer, plusher student halls in most major cities. We have great relationships with many of these providers and understand the importance of differing students’ needs in order to recommend the right type of accommodation for them. We track a lot of market data and utilise in-house developers who can keep a hold on market trends, to enable us to continue to provide an unrivalled service for our clients.
4) Technology has become a huge part of the off-campus housing sector. How can you support universities to provide the most up-to-date features to assist their students?
Our platforms offer state-of-the-art features such as; a comprehensive property search, online property upload tools, booking viewings online, going through the entire bookings process online, links to letting agent software for streamlined property uploading of multiple properties, an artificial intelligence algorithm answering over 50% of students’ questions automatically, interactive forums, ‘find a housemate’ feature, complete integration into internal university systems, completely responsive designs for mobile browsing and more. Along with these basic features which come as standard, we can also build in completely bespoke features specific to students at a particular university. For example, integrating a universities code of standards into the property upload process which must be agreed to before adverts can go live.
5) How do you see Student Tenant growing and developing in the future?
We have been lucky enough to be able to work very closely with a number of universities already, whom we have great relationships with. We seek to continue to do so, as well as grow our network of education providers we are able to assist. We will continue to constantly develop our platforms. We will also aim to further develop our brand in our non-affiliated areas to allow us to continue to raise standards, even where we may not be directly working alongside the universities. We have also begun taking steps to create a hybrid system that incorporates the management of on-campus accommodation with the private sector.
Danielle Cullen is Managing Director of Student Tenant. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 01227 469801 M: 07775 294330