February 12, 2015 4:07 pm
Updated: February 12, 2015 4:15 pm

Montreal start-up Flatbook pays your rent while you’re away

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WATCH ABOVE: Camille Ross speaks to Flatbook co-founder Francis Davidson

MONTREAL – It’s an age-old problem for students and renters around the world – what do you do when you want to go on vacation or a student exchange, but you still have to pay rent for the months you’re abroad?

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Flatbook, an apartment subletting company, passed by the Global Montreal Morning News to talk about how they’re solving that issue.

All you have to do is give them your apartment keys.

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“Someone who leaves for an extended period of time can go on the website, fill a quick form and then determine if there will be enough demand for that apartment,” said Flatbook co-founder Francis Davidson.

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So far, Flatbook has establish offices in 25 cities across the world.

The demand has been so high that Davidson, a 22 year-old Economics, Finance and Philosophy student at McGill University had to put an end to his studies so that he could focus on his budding company.

The premise of Flatbook is to take care of the entire subletting process.

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The company stores your personal belongings and brings in an interior designer to “pimp your apartment.”

A professional photographer then takes pictures that are posted online for anyone looking for a short-term lease to browse through.

The legalities

Some companies, such as travel rental website Airbnb, have been the cause of headache for landlords who insist renters cannot sublet their apartments without notice.

WATCH: Camille Ross speaks to real estate attorney Serge Abud about the legal implications of Airbnb in Quebec.

So is Flatbook legal?

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“Legally, Flatbook makes sure they connect people together,” Davidson told Global Morning News anchor Camille Ross.

“Whether it’s their landlord’s permission or the city’s, we encourage people to do their homework before working with us.”

Security concerns

Leaving your apartment in the hands of strangers can be terrifying.

When it comes to security, Davidson assures anyone who puts their apartment in Flatbook’s hands are well protected.

“We found an incredible insurance policy that covers the entire world for $2 million in liability and $10,000 in damage protection,” said Davidson.

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Subletters also pays for a security deposit.

“Someone always comes to unit to afterwards to verify there’s no damage,” said Davidson.

“That allows us to cover any potential problem that might occur.”

Flatbook is currently operating in Europe and North America, but has plans are to expand worldwide.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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