The provision of utilities in South Africa is unpredictable and subject to the vagaries of ageing infrastructure. It’s a priority, but one that will take time to address so landlords need to find new and inventive ways of managing the supply of electricity and water to tenants. This is particularly challenging in multi-tenanted complexes and flats where landlords have to not only juggle the variables of supply, but the complexities of payment. 

“Many landlords are battling to get their payments from tenants,” explains Michael Franze, MD of Citiq Prepaid. “The tenants are either disputing the amount they’re being charged or they’re simply refusing to pay. In complexes where water and power costs are shared among multiple tenants, these issues can see costs rising for the landlord with little recourse but to pay the municipalities or the services are cut off for everyone.” 

Landlords need an easier way. They need a solution that will ensure tenants get the power and water they pay for, but that won’t leave them out of pocket at the end of the month. This is why prepaid sub-metering has become an incredibly popular choice for many landlords. These meters are installed into flats, homes or offices and are operated by the tenants themselves. If they pay, they get water and electricity; if they don’t, their services are stopped without affecting anybody else. 

“This is immensely beneficial to both landlord and tenant,” says Franze. “Tenants aren’t left feeling that they’re carrying the load of costs incurred by their profligate neighbour and landlords are always ensured of funds to pay the municipalities at the end of the month. These sub-metering solutions are designed to embed a culture of transparency and accessibility and can change the way tenants and landlords engage with one another and their utilities.” 

Prepaid sub-meters allow for water and electricity to be distributed from the municipality to each unit, tracking individual household consumption fairly and transparently. The landlord will need to ensure that these meters are installed by a credible and trusted professional as this is critical to ensuring they work properly, and they need to work with a trusted prepaid sub-metering solution provider that ensures ongoing quality and support. 

“Prepaid sub-metering solutions are a reliable way to reduce risk, increase access and transparency, and minimise conflict with tenants,” concludes Franze.

Article originally appeared in FlySafair Magazine