Flatbook: Make Money from An Empty Flat
Flatbook Will Rent Your Apartment WhenYou Travel
By Andy Christian Castillo
Sick of managing your sublet property while you’re out of town? Tired of scouring the newspaper listings for temporary housing?
What’s the best way to earn money from that apartment that’s just sitting there during summer vacation, or while you are traveling?
What if there was a company that did everything for you; and all you had to do, was fill out an application?
If that’s you, then here’s some good news: there’s a new business that will sublet property for you; they’ll deep-clean and turn your apartment into a hip and cool branded experience for travelers while you’re away.
The New Kid on the Block
Introducing Flatbook: they’re the new cool kid on the block (literally, in the neighborhood).
According to a press release, Flatbook pays “your rent while you’re away, guaranteed”. Interested tenants apply to Flatbook’s subletting program; after the property is accepted, Flatbook pays the tenant full rent and utilities up-front.
In order to qualify for the subletting program, the properties have to be entirely free for at least 2 months between April and October (individual rooms won’t qualify). And it also has to be fully furnished with a bed, dining room table, and other items listed in Flatbook’s standards. Houses, as well as apartments, are accepted in the program.
After acceptance, the space is deep cleaned, furniture is rearranged, and decor is professionally updated. Valuables left behind by the subletter are locked away in a secure storage unit– available upon request.
Amenities such as TV’s, a sofa, sheets, towels and cutlery are supplied to the renter, so that each space offers uniform furnishings. The apartments are then opened for business and rented on platforms like “AirBnB, HomeAway and others, on a nightly basis”.
“With no rent to pay and a place to store what we leave behind, staying put becomes a choice, and the world becomes a canvas to our imagination,” states Francis Davidson, Co-Founder and CEO of the business, in a quote on the company’s website.
New Travel Possibilities
The ingenuity of Flatbook opens up a world of possibilities and freedom; adventurers don’t have to be leashed by a lease anymore.
At the same time, they can still have a place to call home when the trip is finished. It’s sort of like having your own personal property manager.
On the flip-side, staying in an apartment is a lot better than booking something more typical for the night. And for the price of a hotel ( $60 to upwards of $300 per night for a flat ) , it’s totally worth it.
In my travels, I’ve found that experiencing a city from the prospective of a resident, is way better than as a tourist staying in a cut-and-paste hotel. You can’t get a feel for the quirks and personality of an environment if you’re removed from it.
The best part? The prices aren’t per-person. If you’re traveling as a group, you can book a few nights in a Flatbook apartment, split the cost, and save a lot of money.
In addition to nightly accommodations, Flatbook offers short-term, 4 to 10 month long leases. This gives renters the flexibility of a short lease, without having to hunt down a subletter in the yellow pages:
“The 8 month lease saved me the headache of finding subletters and storage. The moment I arrived in the city, I had a clean and comfortably furnished apartment ready to move into,” said Zahra Sabri, a renter.
An Upward Trajectory
Since the company’s launch in January 2014, properties managed by Flatbook has grown by 800% percent. With over 5,000 bookings by more than 1,250 guests in the past year, Flatbook is strapped to a rocket, headed straight up.
This year, they plan to expand by opening new facilities in about 30 cities; according to the press release, “more than half (of the facilities) will be new (cities).”
Further, there is a planned Leasing Program, which will remove the need to sublet altogether.
A Side Note
All of that being said, there are a few rough and recent reviews up on Yelp. So if you decide to go with Flatbook, keep in mind that they are a relatively new company, and are still working out the kinks. Check out Flatbook.co for more information. Our attempts to reach the folks at Flatbook fell flat.
During a deployment as a firefighter with the USAF to the sweltering Middle East, Andy was bitten by the travel bug and smitten with the allure of adventure. Since then, he’s traveled everywhere; and when he isn’t on the road, he’s dreaming of far away places.
A 2016 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst he’s now at Bay Path University studying an MFA in Creative Non Fiction, and works as a beat reporter at a small daily newspaper. Andy lives in S. Deerfield Mass.