Finding a flatmate can be a nightmare. People's tenancies end at different, inconvenient times, they commit only to change their mind at the last minute, and then there's the inevitable politics of certain people hating each other's guts and wanting to avoid living together at all costs. Oh, what a time to be a millennial renter.
Usually, a desperate series of Facebook posts, a site like SpareRoom or even a cringeworthy "Speed Flatmating" event will help us fill our spare room, but what if there was a more convenient way to meet people to share with?
A new app launching in London today promises to matchmake renters with their perfect flatmate using artificial intelligence (AI). Badi, which claims to be the fastest growing flat-sharing app in Spain, suggests potential flatmates based on their personality, search preferences and interests, thus helping you find someone on your wavelength.
Through its AI feature, or “Smart Recommendations System”, Badi promises "to unveil patterns in characteristics users seek when looking for a flatmate... resulting in a perfect match that otherwise would have been missed."
When users match with each other, they can decide to either accept the recommendation and start chatting, or decline the match – much like a dating app. Users are also shown how many "social connections" their match has on the app and how many connections they have in common, adding a layer of legitimacy to the process.
The startup claims already to have attracted 40,000 users in London since April this year, despite only officially launching today, which is no doubt due to high demand in the capital's property rental market. There are around 55,000 built-to-rent homes in London, which accounts for more than half the total number in the UK, and research last year predicted that 60% of Londoners would be renters by 2025.
With so many renters, you'll want to ensure your matches are who they say they are and the app has some security measures in place. All users wanting to make a booking request have to verify their profile by confirming their email address, phone number and bank account.
Badi, which is free for all users and doesn't take any commission or fees, will also securely hold a deposit from new tenants until 48 hours have passed after moving-in day to ensure the transaction is secure for both the new tenant and the lister. If it all goes to plan, the money is released to the lister – whether this is a tenant or landlord.
Rental prices in London are also some of the highest in the world, with the average London rent costing around £741, compared to the UK average of £456, according to SpareRoom's 2017 rental index. If you're paying so much, then, you're not going to want to live under the same roof as people you can't stand.