New to Renting? This NYU Alumni-Founded App Can Help
Renting in NYC is hard, but your social media friends might just help simplify your search.
March 21, 2022
There are many things to love about going to school in New York City, but renting is not one of them. After all, the rental market in NYC is notoriously overwhelming, and the learning curve for first-time renters is steep. The good news is, there are plenty of guides to help you navigate this stressful process. But even if a guide can explain brokers’ fees and credit checks, there’s one thing it can’t tell you: whether you’ll actually enjoy living in that studio you have your eye on.
No one ever seems to get it right on the first go, and how could they? How could you know what it’s like to rent in a place you’ve never lived?
Well, how about you ask someone who has lived there?
Lettey is a new mobile app co-created by NYU alum Nicholas Szuch (class of 2015) and Jessica Rosner that leverages the power of social proof to simplify and humanize the renting experience. Users can see which neighborhoods their friends live in, search through thousands of listings across NYC, and pick the perfect apartment based on their friends’ reviews and their own personal preferences. We were eager to learn more about how this innovative approach can simplify the renting process, so we sat down with the team behind the app.
What makes Lettey different from other rental platforms?
Lettey is unique in that it takes an empathetic approach to the home search—it humanizes finding a place to live. That means users can see where their friends are living, make decisions based on the trusted feedback of people they know and love, and benefit from easy, end-to-end workflows that bring all the tasks surrounding getting a great place to live—like communicating with apartment listers directly via text, and getting renters’ insurance through Lemonade—onto one platform.
Lettey is also unique because you can search for (and list your own) sublets, something we think will especially appeal to students. The platform even provides form landlord consent and sublet agreement docs.
Why rely on peer-to-peer feedback?
Peer-to-peer influence is hands-down the biggest driver of consumer decision-making today. And renting is the most important consumer finance decision a young person embarks on before taking out a mortgage. By tapping into neighborhood feedback provided directly from your personal connections, Lettey helps people find places they love with input from the people they trust the most.
What metrics do users use to rate neighborhoods?
We developed four key metrics: value, accessibility, diversity, and fun. It was clear, especially for folks who are relocating from different cities, that a rating resource with high-level feedback from trusted parties would be valuable. Lettey’s four metrics are what we think users are keenly focused on when making a decision about where to live.
We are particularly excited about the diversity metric. It is important to us to help heighten users’ consciousness about seeking out communities with varied and unique social fabrics, because we believe that a diverse community is a welcoming community; Lettey is an app and resource for everyone.
Do you have any new features in the works?
We are really focused on delivering the right kind of information and tools to our users to make renting super easy and accessible. Lettey has high quality listings from many of the city’s largest brokerages, including Douglas Elliman, Nest Seekers and more. We have also integrated some great third-party features into our platform to make the rental process easier, including Lemonade and TransUnion, providing renters’ insurance and background checks, respectively. In the future, we plan to expand the platform to include for-sale homes as well, particularly targeted at first-time homebuyers. In the meantime, we are eager to get feedback from users on what they like and don’t like so that we can make the platform even more intuitive.
We trust our social networks to make recommendations all the time. They help us pick which movies to see, what products to buy, and where to eat. So, next time you move, why not use the free Lettey app for a little help looking for a place in the big city?