Typically when an apartment is rented, apart from the contract itself, there’s the need to deal with estate agents and real estate management companies. Then there are the details like finding a guarantor for the rent, arranging insurance, switching the registered names on the utility bills, and moving itself.
The solution from Sumitomo and bitFlyer brings all these parties together. For the renter, instead of paperwork, there’s a mobile app that includes the ability to apply to a guarantor and change the names on the electricity, gas, and telecoms bills.
For estate agents and real estate management firms, they get to see the application’s current progress status. And for the utilities companies, the new tenant’s identity has already been confirmed using bitFlyer’s blockchain identity solution bPassport, which the tenant controls.
The benefit of blockchain is the shared data, so the estate agents and real estate firms don’t constantly need to check the status with each other. Another advantage is the digital identity.
The platform is expected to launch next year fully, and the two companies are already looking at extending it. One option is to apply it to the sales process.
Several big names are involved in the solution, including seven utilities such as TEPCO for electricity, Tokyo Gas and Nippon Gas, and Sony Network Communications for telecoms. Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance is one of the insurers, and Orico Forent Insur is a guarantor firm. SCSK Corporation is helping with software development.
This isn’t the only blockchain rental solution in Japan. Five months ago, real-estate developer Sekisui House said it was part of the NEXCHAIN consortium that includes Hitachi and telecoms firm KDDI. It shares some members with the Sumitomo-bitFlyer platform, such as Tokyo Gas and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance. One of the Sekisui novel features is providing access to a property for viewing with a smart lock, without a real estate agent being present.