International students in Spain and Portugal rejoice! Housing platform HousingAnywhere has announced that it will scrap its one-time service fee for tenants for all rooms and apartments in these two countries.
This means tenants in these two study abroad destinations can now use the platform for free, without having to pay 25 percent of the first month’s rent previously charged since its conception in 2015.
In a press release, Djordy Seelmann, CEO of HousingAnywhere said: “Our goal has always been to make housing abroad more easily available for students and young professionals and to encourage international mobility.
“Now that we’ve grown to be leading player for mid- to long-term accommodation rental, we’d like to go back to our roots and be the best platform for international students possible. Canceling the fee for tenants will save people that move to Spain or Portugal hundreds of Euros, as competing websites still charge hefty service fees.”
The move makes the platform more similar to student accommodation websites elsewhere, like Student.com for which the service is free. For international students, these sites provide an alternative to university-provided accommodation or halls, where space can be scarce and choice limited. It also provides a convenient way for students to book accommodation from abroad securely, without worries of being scammed or having deposits stolen as has happened in places like Ireland.
Like Airbnb, tenants just enter their study abroad destination into HousingAnywhere’s search bar as well as the move-in and move-out dates, and both platforms will list the available rooms and apartments. On HousingAnywhere, tenants then get to filter the options according to accommodation type, furnished or otherwise, suitability for couples, bills charged, gender of tenant required, etc.
Spain and Portugal are chosen as the testing ground for the platform’s move to cancel the service fee because of the healthy growth in the number of international students and other expatriates moving to the two countries in recent years.
Figures show a 10.2 percent rise in the number of international students in Spain compared to the previous academic year, while Portugal experienced an average annual increase of 12 percent between 2013 and 2016.
“With such high student mobility, these countries will give us great insight into how our tenants respond to the change,” Seelmann explains. “Besides that, not only students are flocking to Spain: cities like Barcelona and Madrid are also attracting more and more expats and young professionals. These cities are ideal testing grounds for us.”
Whether or not service fees will be canceled in other countries will depend on the data collected on its fee cancellation in Spain and Portugal.
“Based on its success, we will decide whether to move forward with it and expand it to all destinations. Students and young professionals are often on a tight budget, and this will take their user experience to the next level. Finding and booking international housing has never been easier — or cheaper.”