It’s no secret: with the local elections, housing is still top of mind. Economic Development Cowichan has been hearing loud and clear that it’s an issue facing businesses and impacting Cowichan’s local economy. The Cowichan Workforce Housing Survey responses demonstrated that lack of housing is significantly impacting businesses through potential employees not accepting job offers, high wage/salary demands, employees moving away, and effects on morale and performance.
What else is clear though, is that employers are proactively tackling the issue by seeking ways to help their employees. When asked what businesses do to help employees access housing, the second most frequent response was using local contacts to help find housing. Further to this, 84% of business respondents were interested or very interested in referring employees to a rental matching program. That is where Happipad comes in.
Introducing Happipad Cowichan: A rental match program for housing owners and potential renters
Cowichan Housing Association (CHA) has partnered with Kelowna-based Happipad to launch Happipad Cowichan, a safe, reliable room rental matching service. The software platform, developed at University of British Columbia, aims to make the rental experience better for both landlords and renters.
Whether you’re looking to rent a spare room or a place to stay, most rental platforms can feel somewhat like a gamble. The typical advertising rental sites don’t offer any level of support or security. For some homeowners, it may seem easier to turn to a website like Airbnb for short-term rentals, where there is some peace of mind around guest ratings. Others may just leave rooms empty because of the uncertainty involved in sharing one’s home. But what if there was a way that landlords and renters could be more confident they are choosing the right person?
“Renters and landlords are not looking to walk into a rental situation blindly – they want some confidence that the relationship will work,” says Barry O’Riordan Manager of Economic Development Cowichan, “Happipad identifies that it runs background checks and uses compatibility matching to help ensure that homeowners and renters are good pairings”.
Happipad also offers other features that could make the rental experience easier to navigate. For instance, the Happipad platform automatically generates legal rental contracts to establish terms, conditions, and house rules. These are based on the profiles and terms that both homeowners and renters agree to, and rental terms are flexible from 1 month up to 1 year. Happipad can also automate rent payments through its platform, which makes the financial process effortless.
Happipad and the Workforce Housing Strategy
Economic Development Cowichan and Cowichan Housing Association are working together to spread the word about Happipad as one tech-based response to the housing crisis as it relates to the labour market. Businesses are already using their community networks, and Happipad could build these networks into the platform and connect across the region. The focus of Happipad Cowichan right now is on building a network of homeowners with spare rooms, and employees in Cowichan looking for a place to rent. You can sign up at Happipad.com/Cowichan.
As for the Workforce Housing Strategy, EDC is now in the final stages of hiring a consultant with support the development of the strategy, as well as finalizing a list of invitees for a project advisory committee. Stay connected with the project by continuing to subscribe to the newsletter.