Solving the problem of recouping electricity costs from students with a prepaid utility system
Private student accommodation remains an attractive property investment opportunity in 2019 as tertiary institutions across South Africa remain unable to accommodate the number of new and returning students.
Apart from the obvious challenges of working with residents who have never lived on their own before, there are a number of other unique operational issues. A key one being the consistent recouping of monthly utility costs such as water and electricity.
One common way to address this is to include a fixed cost of utilities in the rent. This deals with the admin and stress of recouping water and electricity but can often leave the property owners out of pocket as tenants usage can be erratic, and water and electricity costs can be unpredictable.
An alternative is to measure usage and add it to the monthly rent bill, which is admin intensive, time-consuming, prone to dispute and does not guarantee payment.
“Another, much simpler solution, is installing Citiq Prepaid meters,” says Raymond Rorich, National Key Accounts Manager at Citiq Prepaid. “As the devices are backed by our extensive Citiq Prepaid system, which includes an online portals for both owners and tenants to manage usage, bills and payments, our friendly call centre and countrywide recharge network, utility billing and payment become a non-issue,” says Rorich.
The Citiq Prepaid system is perfect for larger, purpose-built, developments with many single units as well as houses that have been transformed into student spaces.
The key benefits of a Citiq Prepaid utility system include:
- Students never spend more than they budgeted: No unexpected bills at the end of the month.
- Perfect utility collection and payment: Property owners and managers always receive exactly what was used.
- No Admin: No need to split bills, distribute invoices, chase payment and work with disputes.
- Easy allocation of monthly utility allowance: Citiq Prepaid’s system enables property owners and managers to allocate utility allowances and distribute voucher codes to the students.
- Easy tracking of costs: In addition to the detailed statements which are emailed each month, the online portal offers 24/7 access to real-time payment and usage information.
- National network of recharge points: Citiq Prepaid has the largest national network of over 80 000 recharge points.
- Mobile recharge options: Students can purchase tokens online via many mobile options such as online banking apps and the Citiq Prepaid portal.
- Call centre support: Citiq Prepaid’s call centre agents are available seven days a week to support students with any utility issues they have.
“Managing utilities payments doesn’t have to have a hassle. Let Citiq Prepaid partner with you and take the admin, frustration and time out of managing utility costs,” concludes Rorich.
Source: Real Estate Investor Magazine