President Ramaphosa recognised the student accommodation crisis in his 2020 State of the Nation speech. With a private investment of R64 billion to match the government spend of the same amount, we can expect a number of new developments in addition to conversions of property nearby campuses. For the owners and managers of these developments, keeping the lights on can be made infinitely less painful with the installation of prepaid sub-meters.
There is no doubt that owning student accommodation can be a very lucrative investment opportunity. Managing student accommodation, however, takes a very special kind of personality. Not known for their attention to detail or time, young adults can often neglect to pay their utilities. In our regular post-paid environment this could quickly result in a very hefty backlog and even a long and fraught process to try reclaim the costs from the students or their parents.
Another real challenge is collecting utilities revenue in a shared accommodation environment. If not managed with transparency and trust this can quickly become a hotbed of contention and result in protracted disputes.
“With Citiq Prepaid, students pay up front, or can be issued with vouchers to redeem on the system, massively reducing revenue collection pain. More than that, our prepaid sub-metering solution tracks per unit purchase patterns, raising red flags, such as tampering and our water meters will signify water leaks should they occur,” explains Raymond Rorich, Business Development Manager at Citiq Prepaid. “Solutions are sophisticated enough to allow per person measurement which makes administration significantly easier. It effectively de-risks what could be a very fraught environment indeed.”
Other benefits include:
- An online system gives accommodation managers remote access to usage and transaction data and reports.
- Primary reports are automatically emailed every month, easing the administration burden.
- The meters are easy to install
- There are no hidden fees: no connection fees, no monthly fixed fees and no switching fees
- Students never spend more than what they, or their parents budgeted for and in cases where accommodation packages include electricity and water, management can be sure consumption is managed.
Finally, although choosing Citiq Prepaid as the prepaid utility vendor for a new development should be the obvious choice, existing shared accommodation has not been forgotten. Should a development already have a sub-metering solution and would like to have access to the Citiq Prepaid benefits, they can easily switch