Meet the 24 year old shaking up the murky world of student renting

There are many stories of student exploitation in the world of student rental. Hannah Chappatte, a young Londoner, set out to bring an archaic industry into today’s 21st century when she moved in with a friend to a flat still under construction. With rain pouring through the roof, Hannah was frustrated. “I was shocked at the constant cycle of students that absolutely hate renting,” she said. Yes, there are spoiled teenagers that expect the best at 18, but first-time renters pay?700 per month for properties that are unsafe to live in. Students might be suffering from mould and damp, but many don’t know how to take action. Chappatte was a landlord-centric person and it was time to change that. She launched HYBR, her student rental platform, at the age of 22 shortly after she graduated from the University of Bristol. This was just months before the Covid-19 pandemic triggered the mass exodus of students across the country. She says that she felt like a therapist after the first lockdown. “There were so many stressed out students trying to escape their rental agreements, so I spent hours helping them to find replacement tenants. From professionals like nurses to vulnerable individuals who needed to be protected from their families, I helped them. “Understandably students didn’t want rent for a place they weren’t going to live in, but many landlords relied on their rental income to make ends met. It was clear that both sides needed more security. Chapatte’s goal is to create a safe and trusted community for students, where they can get advice in a confusing and overwhelming time. “HYBR is a new, edgy take on hibernation. It evokes comfort and reassurance while appealing to young renters. It has modern branding and first-of-its kind features. From interactive maps and a housemate matching service to verified landlord badges, and a team of 11 working out of their office in Moorgate, it is rapidly expanding to eight other UK cities including Cardiff, Liverpool, and Exeter. HYBR is expected to be established in 30 student hubs by 2023. Hannah says that lack of supply is a major problem in Bristol. Some students are forced to live in Wales and commute to campus every day. Similar situations exist in Leeds, Manchester, and Nottingham, but London has more options. However, scammers are a major problem in London. Hannah will not be “going big” until spring when HYBR can properly vet potential listings. She says that too many London landlords are looking to make quick buck. “They lure students in with misleading photographs and set the rent high. We’re analyzing local markets and letting landlords know if they are charging too much. “Some of the HYBR Team
HYBRChappatte recognizes that not only are students affected by an outdated rental system. She lived in a 14-bedroom, damp house during her second year. After a series of heated arguments with another group of student tenants, her landlord, who owned a number of rental properties in Bristol died of a heart attack. Hannah says that although the relationship was strained for some time, Hannah recalls that they hosted a huge party that lasted until 8am. “What I remember about that tragedy is how it reflected the massive breakdown in communication between students, landlords. Both sides are on the defensive and just waiting for the other to mess them around. They’re often unaware of their rights and obligations. It is a dangerous situation. “How does HYBR stand out from letting agents?” HYBR is affordable, flexible, and personal. This helps landlords attract new tenants who share their values. Prices can range from 15% to 25% of one month’s rent depending on how involved the landlord is. Hannah says that landlords love to choose from a variety of menus based on their business needs. “For instance, they might be available for viewings but not in check-ins. “READ MORE
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This is where HYBR stands out – high-street letting agents tend to be more expensive and have more focus on full management. Ad portals offer great marketing, but lack customer service and can often generate a flood of dead-end leads or poorly vetted leads. Hannah says that HYBR takes a lot off the landlords’ shoulders. Hannah says that the more they look after their tenants, both in terms of their relationships and their property’s reviews, the better their relationships will be. “Students have called us to say that they would rather wait until HYBR has a property to offer than go through another platform. This is because of the extra security that we offer. It’s a win-win situation.