BlueDuck to the rescue!

Solving cash flow issues in home rentals by using tech solutions is where BlueDuck excels, starting with its Zero Deposit rental schemes.

Ernest Wong, BlueDuck’s

Founder and CEO

Malaysia’s prolonged lockdown in its various iterations has resulted in an alarming rise in unemployment and a cash flow crunch for many. In some cases, this has resulted in potential tenants being unable to come up with the 2-month advanced rental deposit and utilities deposit which is standard practice in Malaysia.
Realizing the gap left by this unfortunate circumstance, Malaysian fintech company BlueDuck has further refined its Zero Deposit offering to both landlords and tenants to better suit the current rental conundrum in Malaysia. BlueDuck’s Zero Deposit allows tenants to move in by merely paying the rental amount for the month, foregoing the usual two-month deposit and utilities deposit.
The inspiration behind BlueDuck and its Zero Deposit offering comes from its founder and CEO, Earnest Wong’s own humbling experience. Close to a decade ago, he attempted to rent a unit which he had found at a reasonable rate, only to find out there was an additional requirement of deposits before he could move in.
So, Earnest made it his mission to provide a solution that helps both landlords and tenants reap the benefits of technological advancements.
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Since its inception, BlueDuck has been able to serve close to 200 tenants across five states throughout Malaysia, and has saved close to RM1 million for tenants through its platform.
Throughout 2021, the fintech company looks to further refine its offerings through continued innovation, making full use of fintech capabilities to solve the everchanging property challenges of modern times.
In an exclusive interview with Asian Property Review, BlueDuck’s Founder and CEO, Earnest Wong shares his thoughts on the current state of the home rental industry.
Your insights on the property sector, and how the rental industry has performed during the most recent lockdown in Malaysia?
EW: Rentals that target local working adults remain active and robust due to the fact that tenancy is an evergreen market. On the flipside, varsity-focused areas are highly impacted due to the closure of tertiary education institutes closer to their institutes while there has been a sharp decline in the number of new foreign students coming to study here. This is not surprising due to the prolonged lockdown but I hope the situation will improve once the various movement restrictions and necessary SOPs are over so we may resume business as usual.

Landlords are becoming more aware of the rental market namely this is a tenant first market where tenants have an increased amount of power due to the variety of options available out there.

What are some of the trends to look forward to for the remainder of 2021?
EW: Digital processes will have more importance for the remainder of 2021, as we see the increased adoption of digital viewing of 3D renders of homes, along with digital signing and online payments. All of this has made the rental experience far more automated than it was just a couple of years ago. Another trend is that landlords are becoming more aware of the rental market namely this is a tenant first market where tenants have an increased amount of power due to the variety of options out there. I foresee that it will be this way for years to come.

How does BlueDuck’s background CTOS screening of potential tenants help ease worries of defaulting tenants? Is CTOS screening required of all potential tenants?
EW:Our intention is to help tenants to be in a good bargaining position through the CTOS screening. This is to ensure that through the proper channels, they are verified and qualified so that good tenants will be easily recognized by landlords. This also gives landlords the ease of mind when doing business with them. This is why we require all potential tenants to do CTOS screenings.
Will fully online processes and documents be the future of the rental process?
EW: Just two years ago, we were still largely following manual processes and traditional document signings. Today, almost everything is digital so, yes, I believe digital processes will be dominating in the next 3 years and will become mainstream.
What initiatives are required of both the public and private sectors to ensure the property market is able to bounce back stronger in the coming months, heading into 2022?

EW: Currently, HOC campaign and the private sector offer more incentives for the buyers, providing a host of opportunities for new homeowners. For the secondary market, I think businesses will need to be patient when it comes to filling back retail spaces as a result of the prolonged lockdown. As it may take more time, you may also see some landlords having to shave off significantly, their rental rates to ensure they are able to retain their existing tenants. My hope is that in 2022, we will see some level of normalcy where landlords can start to recuperate their losses during 2020 and 2021.
What are some of the future plans in store for BlueDuck, to better help tenants and landlords?
EW: Today, we see most landlords taking a guess or risk with regards to the tenants they do business with. Sometimes, they are unlucky or make wrong decisions. This is a major hurdle for landlords and so, we look to launch our tenant profiling service soon. It will be similar to a CV where landlords will be able to make better, more informed decisions based on only necessary but verified information by BlueDuck. 

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