Matchmaking Service Finds Roommates, Not Weirdos

With all the crazies out there advertising rooms for rent, how's a renter to find the roommate of his dreams? Wouldn't it be great if you could approach it like dating, where you get to spend at least one night chatting in a bar before you jump into a long-term relationship?

Well, New Zealand company Speedrenting thinks so. Built on the same model as "speed-dating," the innovative service strives to bring potential renters (NeedaRooms, in the parlance of the site) together with those who have a space to let (GottaRooms).

Users simply go to the web site to find a bar-based meetup near them, then register with Speedrenting staffers at the event. The NZ$12 (around US$8) registration fee scores participants a free drink and a matchcard, which they'll use to indicate which candidates they clicked with.

The event is much more loosely structured than typical speed-dating sessions: there are no timers, no bells, no assigned seats; just relaxed mingling between consenting adults with opposite housing needs.

Post-event, successful matches are given each other's contact information to arrange a first date -- I mean apartment viewing. From there, it's up to the Gottas and Needa to decide if they're ready to take it to the next level: roommatrimony.

It's an idea so simple and so useful that it will surely make its way Stateside soon. Until then, watch out for those Craigslist weirdos.
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