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U of C alumnus start-up aims to make renting easier

By Claudia Wong, March 14 2017 —

Looking for a place to rent and want to make sure the landlord isn’t a nightmare? RentersEdge is a new Calgary-based startup from a University of Calgary alumnus that combines listings with Yelp-like address reviews.

U of C computer science alumnus Ryan Shirley came up with the idea for RentersEdge just over two years ago after a friend had problems with her landlord.

“When I started it was a tighter rental market. I wanted to give renters an advantage when it seemed other sites were more geared towards landlords,” Shirley said.

With a slumping provincial economy, Calgary’s rental market has recently seen high vacancy rates that created the need for landlords to offer incentives like free parking or reduced rent. In November 2016, the city’s apartment vacancy rate reached a 25-year high.

According to Shirley, RentersEdge uses a search engine that scans Kijiji and RentFaster for available listings while also showing reviews that users have posted for addresses. Shirley said searches from those sites cover most of Alberta.

“I haven’t seen any competitors that let you [both] search and review. PadMapper let’s you search for listings — this brings it together,” he said.

Shirley hopes to gain users through social media and networking in the short term to compile reviews and feedback on listings for the site.

“I can see expanding the site to add some revenue generating features — maybe partner with other businesses and sell them services like reputation management or help renters who are in tough markets find listings,” he said.

Shirley said RentersEdge will officially launch on March 15.

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