Cafu parent launches Urban to make renting homes and apartments easy in Dubai

Intelligent B, the Dubai-based company behind on-demand fuel delivery service Cafu has announced the launch of Ubran, a real-estate mobile app that makes it easy for users to rent homes and apartments in the United Arab Emirates.

Urban brings the entire rental journey online, allowing users to discover inspected homes and apartments on its app, visit them without the agent by unlocking the smart locks installed on these properties using their phones, make an in-app offer to the landlord, rent the property online without the paperwork and make monthly payments (which is very rare in UAE’s real estate market) using different payment methods including debit/credit card payments.

Tala Nsouli, the General Manager of Urban, speaking to MENAbytes, said, “We developed Urban because we felt that the rental market in Dubai was long overdue for a change. And we’re not alone, in fact, a survey we commissioned to shed light on many of the issues facing tenants including false photography, inconvenient viewing times, exhausting negotiations, and inflexible payment options.

The company has launched with 200 properties (located in Dubai Marina, JBR, and Jumeirah Lake Towers) on its platform. It is a small number but Urban is adding hundreds of listings in the next few weeks and thousands over the next few months, the company told MENAbytes.

For landlords, Urban makes it easy to market their properties to qualified residents through virtual tours and convenient viewing times, allowing them to find and keep the right tenants through a comprehensive screening process and maintenance services.

Urban’s app is free to discover homes but if a tenant finds a home and submits a bid that is accepted by the landlord, the platform charges a 5 percent reservation fee. It is currently free for landlords to list their properties (and apparently even get a free smart lock installed at their property) on Urban but the company plans to charge them AED 975 for each listing starting from June 2020. For the property management service, it charges 5 percent of the rent.

Tala Nsouli, commenting on the potential expansion of Urban beyond UAE, without sharing the details, said that they see it as a product that has far-reaching appeal and they cannot wait to take it to other markets.

The company currently employs 40 individuals but also shares some resources with its sibling Cafu.

Tala did not disclose the details about how much money has been invested in Urban but said it addresses a trillion-dollar industry (globally),” Our goals are ambitious, and a significant investment was required to bring it to life. We’re very confident in our product and team, and we’re excited to help people rent their homes like never before.”

Rashid Al Ghurair, the founder and CEO of Urban, commenting, on the launch, said, “Urban is built on tenant-centric values. It is a strong and overdue disruptor to the rental market, empowering renters and landlords throughout the rental journey. Renters can discover inspected homes, visit with just their phone and pay their rent monthly. For landlords, we’ll list and rent out their property to qualified residents after cleaning, inspecting and capturing their home in its best light.”

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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