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Keyzy’s homeownership proposition ‘makes more sense’ in time of high rents, says founder

  • 14/04/2023
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Keyzy’s homeownership proposition ‘makes more sense’ in time of high rents, says founder
Keyzy’s model of allowing its renters to use accumulated payments to raise a deposit for the home they are living in is appropriate at a time when rental payments are high and set to keep rising.

Founded by Simon Groll and Jeremy Matallah, Keyzy buys homes on behalf of its customers and then rents it to them at a fixed cost. After an agreed period of up to 10 years, the money they have paid on rent will be converted into a deposit and the property will be sold back to tenants when they are eligible for at mortgage at day one value. 

Groll said the business made “even more sense now than it did a year ago” due to current housing market conditions. 

He added: “We have really high demand levels and enquiries have been increasing dramatically each month. I think a lot of that has been driven by the uncertain mortgage market, rent increases and the fact it’s becoming more difficult to get a mortgage… Keyzy is the right proposition for people which is great for us.” 

Since launching exclusively through Connect for Intermediaries last April, Keyzy has partnered with other brokers and seen notable interest in its offering. 

He said the company exceeded the targets it set itself when it launched to market and going forward, hoped to strengthen its proposition further. 


A happy medium 

The monthly rent charged to Keyzy’s residents sits somewhere between market rent and what the mortgage would be, which Groll said was important because many private renters were subject to increases beyond their control. 

“It’s a favourable mechanism that allows stable, predictable monthly payments as well as a foundation for the future house purchase so people can live within their means. There are no nasty surprises when they’re ready to buy the house in five years’ time,” Groll added. 

Although Keyzy does allow people to pause payments and dip into the money they have saved if needed, Groll said none of the residents were yet to use that facility despite the rising cost of living. 

“We haven’t had that at all. I think it’s because there’s that clear intention that it’s not just where they live today but a long-term home.  

“Our [Keyzy and its resident’s] agendas are aligned which might be different to a typical renter who may not see a property as a long-term home so have nothing to lose and might choose to skip rent or use their deposit to cover missed payments,” Groll said. 

When asked if Keyzy could pose a threat to the private rental landlords, Groll said the company had been approached by landlords who wanted to offer the solution to their existing tenants. 

While nothing has been agreed, the company is in active discussions about this. 

Groll said: “We are becoming a part of the rental ecosystem as well. Not as a competitor, but as an addition to it.” 

He added that Keyzy could also act as an exit for landlords who were finding the buy-to-let sector “economically difficult”. 

“We can help landlords maintain their financial security until they’re ready to exit by being an intermediary between them and their tenants.” 

Groll also welcomed the possibility of Skipton Building Society releasing a mortgage specifically targeted to renters. 

Reports from earlier this week suggested the mortgage could bypass the need for a deposit upfront and take rental payments into account when assessing affordability. 

Groll said: “We would welcome any more innovation in this space. I think we’re at the forefront of how this could work, and we have the privilege of being the first but Skipton doing something similar would give us more credibility.” 

Keyzy also uses Open Banking to determine its residents’ affordability and likelihood of getting a mortgage in the future. Residents can also build up their credit file through Keyzy. 


Achieving homeownership dreams 

Speaking of the recently secured £3m in funding, Groll said Keyzy would use this money to buy more homes and develop its technology. 

He added: “We have some really big plans for our platform, I don’t want to jump the gun but we’re finding smarter ways to do our work and improve the customer experience.”  

Groll said most of Keyzy’s residents were key workers such as doctors, nurses and teachers who he described as “pillars of our society who unfortunately have not had the wage increases or bonuses to keep up with house prices over the last few years and have had to compromise on living standards.” 

He added: “Keyzy is helping them to achieve their homeownership goals and it’s rewarding we can allow them to do that.” 

Groll said the company was open to engaging with stakeholders in the sector to “put a dent in the number of renters”. 

Overall, he said the proposition had been well received, resulting in high ratings on Trustpilot. 

Groll said: “We couldn’t have hoped for a better response. We’re happy that they’re happy and frankly, we’re changing people’s lives.” 

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