SA prop-tech startup HouseME launches deposit-free service

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South African prop-tech startup HouseME has launched a new product, DepositFREE, which enables tenants to lease residential property without paying an upfront deposit.

Formed in 2015 and available to the public by the end of 2016, HouseME is a digital platform that connects prospective tenants to landlords with full automation of the letting agency process, and fair and transparent rental pricing – all for a fraction of traditional fees.

The startup, which secured further funding last year, has now launched DepositFREE, through which tenants can choose to pay a little more for their monthly rental instead of paying the upfront security deposit. For landlords, HouseME provides full coverage against the value of the deposit.

“Given the impact the current economic climate has on tenant purchasing power and vacancy rates across South Africa, HouseME built DepositFREE to ease the burden for tenants and, of course, to continue helping landlords fill properties rather than lament their lost rental,” said HouseME chief operating officer Lorne Hallendorff.

“Deposit coverage funds everything a normal deposit would cover, at no extra cost to landlords. It will have no impact on a landlord whether a tenant is renting DepositFREE or not. We are excited to bring this new product to market as it will make a significant impact to South Africans with limited disposable income. We have already trialled it with some of our tenants and the results have been promising.”

As a tech company, HouseME uses smart technology to vet tenants and collect rent. Over 99 per cent of HouseME’s rental ends up being paid in full by vetted tenants, which is well above the national average.

“Since inception we have ensured a rigorous tenant vetting process and are confident that this new product will do extremely well in the current difficult economic environment,” said chief executive officer (CEO) Ben Shaw.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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