For many years, Annet Nabisubi has had scuffles with her tenants over late payments, in all the 18 units she owns at Kawaala Zone 1, in Lubaga Division.
As a widow, the rent collected is what helps her look after her family, yet most of the time, she has to fend in other places, surviving at the mercy of friends and other family members.
Of late, however, she has been thinking of hiring a property management company to collect for her the rent, but the consulted charge over 10% of the rent collected, which would be a big dent in her income.
Coupled with the fact that some property management outfits are not as efficient as advertised, Nabisubi is hesitant, but at the same time stranded on the way forward.
But as tech continues to disrupt all sectors of the economy, the real estate sector has also seen a share of disruptions, with the latest seeking to redeem landlords the burden of collecting rent in arrears.
RentBeta, a digital financial solutions platform for managing rental properties, was recently launched, tailored with extra service focused on making life easier for both landlords and tenants.
“Most landlords are on the lookout and some have adopted unreliable solutions to manage their properties. Others give them to relatives, others to lawyers, and others to makeshift property management companies,” says Brian Tweheyo, RentBeta Chief executive officer.
He adds: “The challenge is that most solutions are manual, expensive, disconnected, and don’t provide much visibility to the landlord on what is happening on their property.
“RentBeta will cut costs, drive property efficiency, improve the rental experience, and increase resident retention through financial services such as rent payments and collections, insurance, lending, and savings.”
Jaffar Tonda, a real estate developer at Synergy Properties says online property management innovations eliminate middlemen who ordinarily diminish the profit margin since the landlord can be paid directly by tenants through systems like mobile money, master card, and others. He says the tenants can also lodge complaints online and get feedback faster.
How RentBeta works
Ideally, before a property management firm takes over the management of a property, they first inspect it to ascertain basics like the tenability of the property and its surroundings, among others.
A memorandum of understanding is signed physically, between the app operators and the landlord, detailing the landlord’s personal data, terms of rent collection, contract termination, insurance, and the landlord’s interaction with tenants
The system does not completely cut off the landlord-tenant relationship, although if a landlord must meet the tenants, or pass by the property, it must be official.
Through the system, the landlord informs the tenant of his or her intended visit, and such meetings are mainly for security purposes.
“We provide the tenant with both a mobile app and a web dashboard so that they can choose whichever is flexible for them. The tenant will also get a chance to get an emergency loan to help the pay rent on time in times when it’s difficult to pay rent or finances are stuck somewhere.
“We also give the landlord a web dashboard where he/she can see all the details that include; rent paid, pending rent, who is due and when, maintenance requests, facility requests, and communications from the tenant. Landlords can also get access to our Rent Guarantee program and have the chance to access credit lines for over 12 months of their rent value,” says Tweheyo.
For commercial landlords, he says, the system comes with automated locks for offices and shops, to keep out customers in arrears, which encourages them to pay on time.
Before any tenant takes over a room, the company first enters a tenancy agreement with them based on the landlord-tenant laws of Uganda.