We all knew NestAway is a platform that acts as a bridge between homeowners and tenants. But, have you ever wondered how do they money?
Here’s my experience with NestAway after being a loyal customer for more than two years. I’m sure this post will amuse you, and some of you might be wondering about becoming an entrepreneur and starting a business model like NestAway and make hefty sums of money.
Why I chose NestAway?
I was looking for some online players who can help me to rent out an apartment. And I don’t want to pay hefty advances to the few high demanding landlords/house owners.
Around Oct 2019, I have moved into one of the NestAway properties.
Here’s the screenshot of the rent and the advance amount I paid to NestAway while moving in.
- Rent INR. 28,000 is inclusive of maintenance.
- The advance amount is three months of rent, which comes to INR. 84,000.
- Lock-in period – This is like a probation period, which is six months.
Everything was going smooth for the initial six months.
Scenarios proved to me NestAway is doing some fraud:
1. Society Maintenance Fee
Suddenly, after six months, one-day garbage collection, electricity and water supply has been stopped without any notice.
When I tried reaching out to the NestAway area manager, he mentioned that the house owner must make the society maintenance charge. We have transferred the entire amount to the house owner, and we have nothing to do.
Then somehow, I got the owner contact details from the apartment committee and asked them to make the payment. My house owner mentioned, the rent which we were getting is exclusive of the maintenance fee. And it was supposed to be by NestAway every month.
Three days went like that without electricity, garbage collection and water. I got few buckets of water from the neighbour’s house and used them for all essential day to day stuff.
After this, the NestAway area manager called and asked me to share the society maintenance invoice to process the payment from their end.
Then I took my society manager on a conference call with my area manager and given assurance to them that the payment will be made in the next seven working days.
Post this commitment, and I got all the essential supplies back. From this incident onwards, every quarter, I start sending out an email with the invoice. After a couple of follow-ups, the society maintenance amount will be paid by NestAway.
PS: House owner mentioned they are not even paying rent on time, even though you pay them on time.
2. Painting Charges & Cleaning
After this incident, I don’t want to any chance. As mentioned above, they haven’t painted my house while I’m moving in. So I have asked to waive off the painting charges while I’m moving out.
Then I reached out to their customer support team and asked them to write via email that I won’t be charged for painting while moving out. (Below a screenshot of the email copy)
PS: Read the statement slowly, and I’m sure you will start giggling.
Then again, I called them and informed them, and your statement is not clear. So please send me an email again with the correct message. But there’s no response post that. I have followed up a couple of times, but I have stopped following up with them due to other work.
3. Deductions While Moving Out
Here I haven’t dedicated myself to vacate or not moving out. My house owner wants to off-board his property from NestAway from Feb – 2021.
So I got a call from the NestAway team about this, and they asked me to raise a move out request.
Then I immediately spoke to my house owner, and I informed him I’d like to continue staying with them directly. My house owner also agreed that charging slightly higher rent and society maintenance amount will be extra, and it needs to be paid by the tenant, that’s me. I said I’m okay with that.
And house owner asked me to make the rent for March – 2021 to NestAway, and I did that.
In between, an inspection team visited the house (sent by NestAway as a part of the move out procedure) and took a video of the entire house and the household items and went.
Below is an email confirmation from the NestAway team; they asked me to pay rent to the owner directly from April – 2021.
And then they confirmed, once my house owner settles the advance payment, they will re-pay my advance payment after checking if there are any deductions.
I knew very well that it’s going to come. And this is the crucial step in their business model, which is the only way to make money.
May 23, 2021: I received an email from NestAway saying, “Your Move Out Settlement Report is ready”, and when I tried opening the link to check the breakup, what I saw made me amused, lol (screenshot below for reference)
Then I immediately called the NestAway customer support and informed them I could not see the breakup of deductions and the final settlement. So don’t process my refund until I confirm, and they acknowledged this over the call.
But within the next two days, my refund was initiated, and they have paid me INR. 24,900 out of INR. 84,000. And the amount that got deducted from my advance amount is INR. 59,100.
Then again, I reached the NestAway customer support team and asked them to break down the deductions worth INR. 59,100.
And this was where they played smartly; they said we don’t have an option to give in written but can tell orally. Here’s the below break up of that.
|April 2021 – Rent||28,000|
|May 2021 – Rent||10,000|
|House Cleaning (I clean)||2,100|
|Electricity Bill (I pay)||1,000|
|Maintenance Charge (I pay)||3,000|
Then I spoke to my house owner and asked them to confirm via email, saying they have received rent from me directly for April 2021 and May 2021. Below screenshot.
Again, the NestAway team asked me to share the proofs of whatever I paid from my side. And I have shared the below list of things with them.
- Maintenance amount for the last three months
- Electricity bills which I paid for the previous months
- There’s no cleaning that has been done during the inspection; I only cleaned my house. If you want to deduct the amount, let me know if there’s any nearby Nestaway property, I’ll clean that so that the deduction is justified.
- Email copy for the painting charge. The house wasn’t painted when I moved in, so ideally, there shouldn’t be painting charges.
Below a screenshot of the email for reference.
And there was absolute silence after that, and after 13 days, I got an email saying that they will get back as soon as possible. (PS: No update yet)
Here comes the thrilling part of my journey with NestAway. On 16 June 2021, I got an email from an advocate saying that they will take legal action if I’m not paying INR. 30,000 to NestAway.
And I have forwarded the same to the NestAway team, but there’s no response yet. And it’s an absolute silence again.
Now I’m up to face this legally if NestAway and their advocate consider this a viable solution.
How does NestAway make money?
- Looting customers by putting unnecessary deductions is the only way they can make money.
My advice to consumers who consider NestAway in future:
- Never go with these morons; they don’t have any business ethics.
- They always look for some opportunities to loot you.
- Even if there are no opportunities (like in my case), they will delay the process intentionally.
- Always go with the house owners directly; never rely on a platform like this.
- I never come across any happy customers on the internet.
That’s it for now. I will update the progress in this thread soon if I get an update from the NestAway team and their advocate.
If you are an Alumni of NestAway Victim, share this post with other alumni members and friends and family considering NestAway for their house hunt.
How did it all end? Did I receive my advance amount?
Within a couple of days after this post, the NestAway team has reached out to me and informed me that they got approval for my entire refund amount will be processed in a couple of days, and they’ve revoked the legal notice on me as well.
On 2nd July 2021, I have received my full and final settlement without losing even 1 rupee.
Lesson Learnt 📖 : Keep every communication in writing, which helped me claim my hard-earned money.