Rashid Al Ghurair Promises Disruptive Tech Solution for Rental Market Barriers
Rashid Al Ghurair, the tech entrepreneur behind Cafu wants to launch a new app-based solution to remedy rental problems
Renters in Dubai are calling for an overhaul to the current rental experience, citing being restricted to fewer cheque payments, coordinating timings with agents and inaccurate listings as some of their main grievances, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by the team behind Cafu, the region’s first on-demand fuel delivery service.
The survey finds that Dubai’s residents point to a fragmented and inconsistent rental experience blighted by a number of problems. When asked about main barriers to finding a home in addition to other distress points renters cite:
- Two thirds (66%) said the property did not match their expectations
- 45% said the surrounding area was not up to par
- 30% faced difficulties coordinating timings with their agent
- A quarter (25%) struggled to communicate with their agent
- 45% have been restricted to making fewer cheque payments
Overall, almost a third (32%) find the current rental process stressful.
Renters call for change
In response to the catalogue of issues experienced, Dubai’s renters are calling for change to improve the way in which they find and live in their homes.
With many residents familiar with multiple payment options in their home countries, being limited to cheques is viewed as a burden:
- 45% of respondents would prefer the ability to pay in more instalments
- Over a third (34%) would either pay or consider paying 5% on top of their annual rent to be able to make 12 payments
- 30% demand more payment options such as direct debit, credit card etc.
Furthermore, over a third (39%) ask for more transparent price negotiations, while a similar amount (38%) say they would like to limit the involvement of the agent. A fifth (21%) also call for an improvement in the quality and accuracy of photos in listings.
Technology offers a solution
While many sectors including telecoms, financial services and transportation have been quick to embrace technology, real estate has lagged. As such, the survey found that the rental market has a number of antiquated practices, including:
- 91% still pay their rents via cheque or cash
- 67% of respondents take between 1-2 days to schedule a viewing,
- 28% take between 2-5 days to negotiate their rent, with close to one fifth 18% saying it takes over a week
Commenting on the survey’s findings, Rashid Al Ghurair, Founder and CEO of Cafu, said “Dubai’s renters have suffered for far too long, with the lack of price transparency, the financial burden of one or two cheques and mismatches between pictures and the property advertised. Renters are crying out for change. It’s about time that a regional player came along and disrupted the market, and we fully intend to do so.”
According to Mr Al Ghurair, there is an opportunity for technology to help overcome the challenges highlighted by renters. As a result, he recently announced his intention to develop an app-based solution that addresses tenant frustrations.
Mr. Al Ghurair added: “Technology is an enabler and we can’t ignore how it can bring positive change to Dubai’s real estate market. We are developing a tech solution that is built on tenant-centric values to empower residents at every stage of the rental journey and help landlords find and retain the right tenants quicker. We are incredibly excited about this and strongly believe it will revolutionise Dubai’s rental market.”