If you need (or just want) to get out of the lease on your apartment, a startup called Flip can help you do it — and you might even make money in the process.
Flip co-founder and CEO Susannah Vila told me that “the idea behind the company is that a lease has value locked into it.” To give lease holders access to that value, Flip has created “a marketplace where people can learn what it’s actually worth.”
So the person currently in an apartment can post their lease and how much they’re willing to sell it for. Then pre-screened applicants who want early access to apartments before they hit the rental market can browse the listings, reach out and schedule a visit.
The company says that since the launch, there have been 1,500 leases listed and more than 300 of them have been “Flipped.”
Villa added that she’s realized that people who need to get out of a lease ASAP (whether it’s for personal or professional reasons) might actually be willing to pay to have someone take it over, so now lease holders can offer a reward instead of charging a price — apparently that now represents 20 to 30 percent of the leases on Flip.
Flip also partners with property managers who can offer Flip as an amenity to clients who want to be in a more flexible lease situation.
The service is only available in New York City right now, but Villa said, “The core of the model, that the tenant can find his or her own replacement, is 100 percent legal everywhere” across the United States. So there’s opportunity for geographic expansion.
As a result of joining MetaProp NYC, Flip will receive $250,000 in additional funding and participate in its 22-week accelerator program. Apparently there was an existing connection there, since the accelerator’s co-founder Zachary Aarons was an early investor in Flip.
“Flip is exactly the kind of company we want to work with: strong team, great technology, and a massive addressable market,” said MetaProp NYC General Manager Monika Wysocki in the announcement release. “We’re also incredibly excited to have our first female founder in the program.”
Although the accelerator is already unveiling the first company in its second class, it’s accepting applications until July 31.