Weaponized shelter: a website that lets tenants bid against each other for apartments, in 1000 cities

Rentberry — run by a Travis Kalanick-style markets-fix-everything doctrinaire named Alex Lubinksy — collects renters' personal information and their bids on apartments, then presents them to landlords, who get to choose among high bidders to rent to.

During its pilot service immediately raised rents in the housing-crisis-gripped SF and San Jose by more than 5%. Lubinksy claims that lowballing tenants were able to lower rents in places without housing crises by a similar amount.

The website essentially functions as a cross between CraigsList and eBay. A landlord lists a rental space and potential tenants bid against one another to claim the lease. Tenants' personal information is available to the landlord. The landlord then makes their final decision by weighing what the best offer is along with which bidder seems like they'd be the best tenant. For now, Rentberry charges users a $25 fee, but in the future, it plans to charge 25 percent of the difference between the asking price and the agreed upon rent. Whoever received the better deal pays the fee—every month.

Bidding Website Rentberry May Be the Startup of Your Nightmares
[Rhett Jones/Gizmodo]

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