Students and older people together could help solve rent crisis

Housing students and older generations together would help fix the ‘broken’ student rental market, says CEO of Hybr.

Student accommodation platform Hybr | PBSA News

Housing students and older generations together would help fix the ‘broken’ student rental market, says CEO of student accommodation platform Hybr. Hannah Chappatte, who founded the tech start-up in 2020 at 22 years old, says ‘mixed living’ rentals, which are popular in parts of Europe, benefit both groups and help tenants feel less lonely.

Hannah started Hybr to fix the ‘toxic’ student rental market and has seen it grow exponentially in the past year. 

“There’s a myth that all students ruin houses and upset their neighbours. That may be true for some, but most enjoy balanced lives, and with the cost of living crisis students are there to get their degrees and focus on their career prospects.

“Mixing tenants can create a well-rounded community when done right. Older and younger people are two of the loneliest groups in society. Mixing ages gives residents a sense of purpose – students can support more elderly neighbours with tasks around the house, and older residents can offer a sense of home, and help students integrate with their new, local community.

“Housing mature students with professionals opens up more availability, can help struggling university towns, and has been proven to improve the vibrancy of buildings’ communities.

“This is exactly what we are pushing for at Hybr: mixing tenant types and bringing on supply that wasn’t previously available to students, by offering landlords carefully selected and pre-vetted student profiles that match the building’s community. 

“In Switzerland, where older generations sharing with students is more common, the evidence points towards happier tenants, with both sides experiencing less loneliness.”

Hannah Chappatte, CEO, Hybr

Hannah studied at the University of Bristol. She started Hybr due to experiencing anxiety when finding a place to rent and hearing from students across the UK struggling to find housing, with no clear place to compare housing options or get renting advice. According to Hybr, over 70% of students never hear back after enquiring after a property.

Hybr collects data points from students to best match them with reputable landlords who have suitable homes. The result is a fix to the ‘toxic relationship’ between the two groups, saving both sides time and money, and ultimately making the rental market more efficient.

In the past 12 months the number of rooms listed by Hybr has grown 18x and the business has expanded into six cities. It is bringing on an additional 100,000 rooms over the next three months and has helped over 20,000 students to date.

From Q4 2021 to Q4 2022, Hybr grew its revenue by 1,456%, expanding its student community. It has also generated over £10m in sales for its landlords.

In January 2022, Hybr raised £920,000 in a pre-seed round, and it plans to raise another £2.5m this spring to expand the product across the UK to match students to landlords, while providing students with support throughout the rental journey.

Hybr has received a £5,000 grant from a University of Bristol start-up competition, £10,000 from Montagu Evans’ ‘Disrupter in Real Estate’ Award, and funding from The Prince’s Trust. The company also won its category as Best Startup and Best Residential Agent in Bristol in 2022.