During the period between 8 March and 21 March, the firm experienced a 60% surge in daily active users, coinciding with implementation of guidelines and precautionary measures directed by the UAE government – including social distancing and quarantine measures – taken to curb the stem the spread of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).
UAE-based renters are making decisions about their next rental home from their digital devices. Renters are choosing to search for and secure homes online, with Urban noting a 92% rise in the number of offers submitted for listed properties on its app in the week leading up to 19 March.
In response, Urban is encouraging landlords to list their properties on the app. Despite the cautious environment cause by coronavirus, renters are still on the hunt for homes and embracing new ways in which to view and rent them.
To further protect the health and safety of renters making in-person visits, Urban has taken the steps, including sterilising door handles upon installing digital locks; cleaning homes before each viewing; setting up hand sanitising stations; as well as equipping field teams with masks and gloves, and briefing them on precautionary measures.
Renters can also view the home of their choice through virtual tours of every listing. They can even submit paperwork and pay rent online.
Commenting on the rise in visits and offers, the founder and CEO of Urban, Al Ghurair, said: “As authorities in the UAE admirably continue to combat COVID-19, landlords and renters are being forced to adapt to this new reality. People are looking to rent, but rightly concerned that viewing properties will mean contravening social distancing guidelines. Landlords are also worried that the virus will dampen rental demand.”
He added: “This is where Urban comes in. Urban is a platform that connects landlords to tenants online, ensuring that renters can view quality homes through virtual tours and independently conduct viewings, while landlords can find quality tenants hunting for new homes.”
The general manager of Urban, Tala Nsouli, added: “Urban is built on tenant-centric values and empowers renters and landlords throughout the rental journey. As renters try to navigate the current COVID-19 environment, Urban helps them find their new home entirely online from the comfort of their own homes. Landlords need to adapt to this digital-first environment and consider innovative ways to market their properties.”