The last quarter of 2020 isn’t going to be easy. It’s likely that this sentiment will follow into the first and second quarters of 2021, making it a tough road for the real estate sector and property owner alike. However, there remain clear signs of light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. Opportunities for the sector to refresh offerings and revisit how they engage with tenants and markets.

“The impact of the pandemic has been felt by numerous well-known organisations,” says Michael Franze, CEO of Citiq Prepaid. “From Sandton City to the V&A, properties have hit the headlines as they’ve faced new challenges across retail space, rent, costs and spend. As restrictions ease and markets show signs of recovery, this is the right time for the sector to look at different strategies that are designed to manage changing tenant needs and expectations.”

The post-pandemic world is still weighty with restrictions and limitations. The wellbeing and security of people remain a priority for every property – be it commercial or residential. In the retail and commercial real estate environment, tenants are looking for immediate and accessible solutions that help them minimise contact and improve adherence to COVID-19 regulations. In the residential market, tenants want less interaction with landlords and neighbours and more immediate solutions to anything from utility management to property access.

“Change, awareness and accountability – these are the three words that define how the real estate market should be engaging with its customers,” says Franze. “People want to limit their movement in the world but they also want reliable services and solutions. Nobody wants needless interactions or to stand in queues or to struggle with endless admin right now.”

Utility management is often a real challenge. Water leaks, electricity issues, overcharges, bill shock, tenant disputes – these all come part and parcel with residential and commercial property rental. Or do they? Is it really necessary for any property to have to sort out usage arguments or submit statements or debate the cost of a leak?

“No, not at all,” concludes Franze. “Prepaid sub-metering simply sidesteps these issues by placing the tenants in control of their own utilities and spend. Citiq Prepaid’s sub-meters are pay-as-you-go, can be recharged at the country’s largest network of recharge outlets, including online and on mobile devices, and come with online reporting tools that allow both property owner and tenant to manage their spend more closely.”

In a world defined by differentiation, Citiq Prepaid’s sub-meters remove the need to debate rates, suffer from bill shock and unexpected water leaks, and engage in unnecessary human contact. Online, seamless and digitally-driven, these sub-metering solutions put innovation into the hands of the real estate sector, when it needs it the most.