Krystel Hoche says the app Yo Neighbor! has everything from a drill to a camera which can be rented at a nominal price. Owners who post these items are resposible for delivering them to the renters Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/XPRESS

Abu Dhabi: Have a camping trip and don’t want to buy the entire gear for this one time? Are you in a dilemma whether or not to buy a new mattress that will only collect dust after your overnight guest uses it?

Well, you can now avoid making such expensive purchases and instead rent the items at nominal prices from within your neighbourhood itself, thanks to a new app called Yo Neighbor!

Personal need

The brainchild of Abu Dhabi-based Lebanese expat Krystel Hoche, Yo Neighbor! is a two-way street that allows residents to both post items that they are willing to lend and borrow from the ever-expanding list in their time of need.

Hoche said she came up with the idea of the app last March when she and her husband wanted to put up a new mirror they brought home. “We realised we did not have a drill, but to buy one for just this one task was such a waste. As a result, the mirror never got installed.”

She said, “Back in Lebanon from where I come, we mostly know people in our neighbourhoods and can always knock on someone’s door and ask if they have a drill. This is not the case in the UAE where people largely are not familiar with their neighbours. So I wanted to introduce the neighbourly behaviour where one could rely on their communities, but by paying for it.”

Hoche said there is a reason behind the monetary angle. “It addresses basic consumer behaviour. People need incentives, otherwise they will be reluctant to lend their belongings to strangers. The borrower too tends to be more responsible if he has paid for the items he borrows.”

She said the charges are left to the lenders and depend on the items and duration for which they are borrowed. It could range from Dh10 for a ladder to Dh200 for a camera. There are instances where only a token Dh1 is charged.

The way the app works is simple. The lender is required to take a picture of the items through the app and list it in a suitable category or sub-category ranging each item. “We check the item and the legalities of the lease and upon approval, it goes into the marketplace,” said Hoche.

The renter, on his part, clicks on the rent button and sends a request with the time and date of the intended borrowing. The lender, who receives the notification, seeks additional details of the renter and if acceptable approves the borrowing.

Hoche said, “Owners are responsible for delivering the products to the renters. We use a third party payments processor to process payments on Yo Neighbor!. The details that you provide when making a payment online will be provided directly to our payment provider via a secured connection.”

The app is free to download both on Android and iOS.