Flatbook, a start-up company out of Montreal, may be able to provide relief for post-secondary students dreading the task of subletting their apartments during the summer.
Flatbook is a real estate services company founded in 2012 (by three founders all under the age of 22) that covers the rent and utilities costs of leaseholder’s apartments by renting them out to travellers looking for a more local experience of the city they’re visiting.
Emelia Kim, regional manager for Flatbook in Calgary, said in an interview that the process of subletting an apartment through Flatbook is easy.
As long as you have a good-sized bed and dining area, there are hardly any restrictions.
“It’s super easy. You can apply from the phone and upload a couple of photos. It takes five minutes,” said Kim.
“Once you get the application in, I’ll be calling and just making a visit and do a check for about 20 minutes. Then we get a week’s notice to find out whether or not it’s good.”
Flatbook eliminates the need for renters searching subletters to have to post their own ads, answering phone calls and emails, filling out contracts and doing negotiations.
“The service is specifically to benefit students or anyone that needs to find someone to sublet and not have to worry about the entire process,” said Kim.
Not only does Flatbook manage all the logistics of subletting, it also brings in an interior designer and photographer to stage an apartment and make it look its best.
The interior designer that works with Kim is a student in an internship position, which offers her a great opportunity for real-world experience. Kim’s current designer is a first-year student in Mount Royal University’s Interior Design program.
“Myself, the interior designer and the photographer work together,” said Kim.
[pullquote]We take the photos, and then the interior designer is in charge of rearranging the space based on how they want it to be displayed. He or she also finds local artists to showcase their paintings [in the apartment].[/pullquote]
“We take the photos, and then the interior designer is in charge of rearranging the space based on how they want it to be displayed. He or she also finds local artists to showcase their paintings [in the apartment].”
According to Kim, the spaces that Flatbook rents out are typically geared towards a clientele between 40 and 50 who can spend more for a more local experience, as well as extra privacy and their own kitchen.
Flatbook-flipped apartments can fetch upwards from $100 per night.
Flatbook’s activity in Calgary hasn’t skyrocketed yet, but the service has become very successful in its hometown, Montreal, as well as Boston and New York.
According to Kim, there are 19-22 North American cities with Flatbook operations, as well as a couple European ones.