Lack of property automation leaves landlords with 30pc revenue loss

A view of apartments and rental house in Westlands. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Lack of automation by property owners has left majority of landlords counting a 30 per cent in revenue loss every month.

New data by Kiotapay indicates that landlords lose money due to the inability to track and properly reconcile tenants payments from different channels such as mobile money, banking agents payments and banking payments.

According to the report, property owners and agents also lose critical data such as tenants statements, financial records, complaints, repair and maintenance data which is critical in improving the quality of service they give to their tenants.

Kiotapay Chief Executive Officer Paul Macharia said as a result, landlords have to wait for days, sometimes a whole month before receiving the collected rent and have no real time visibility for the payment process.

According to Macharia, landlords and managers also struggle with low occupancy due poor marketing channels and low tenant satisfaction.

“Property automation will lead to greater benefits for rental investors. It will consequently improve their return on their investment. That means that the cycles of property units going without tenants will also reduce significantly,” said Macharia.

He said in the long-run the rental pricing will become affordable for the tenants with landlords enjoying a 98 percent occupancy having no need of overcharging rent in order to stabilize their return on investment.

Launched in September 2021, Kiotapay provides an efficient way of aggregating all the moving parts of real estate into one functional app.

The platform makes it cheaper and efficient for self-managing landlords to run their property operations end to end where they can screen tenants, create units, create leases, bill, collect payments and track their expenditure.

“Property owners and landlords have improved their monthly collection by 18 per cent and reduced their operational overheads by 13 per cent. That means we have been able to pay back a whole 31 percent to our property owners and managers,” he said.

Kiotapay also integrates with smart water, electricity meters, and smart lighting for remote monitoring and control.

“We have a huge clientele from the Kenyan Diaspora market who bill their tenants and receive the payments remotely through our platform and later make payments either for their property expenses, pay loans and move money to other mobile phones or bank accounts,” he said.

Macharia said increasing innovation in the build sector has seen the property sector experience a rapid growth.

Some of the emerging technologies include Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) that allow potential buyers or tenants to experience properties remotely, providing immersive virtual tours and interactive visualizations.

Internet of Things (IoT), where devices can be integrated into buildings, enabling smart features such as automated temperature control, energy management, security systems, and predictive maintenance. This technology enhances sustainability, operational efficiency, and tenant satisfaction.

“Other innovations in the sector include Blockchain technology that offers secure, transparent, and tamper-proof record-keeping systems,” he said.

The report said in real estate the technology has streamline property transactions, digitized property titles, and enabled smart contracts while reducing fraud and improving transparency.

 The report indicates due to lack of automation in the rental housing market with financial leakages in the management of properties such as unreasonable house finders fees, unscrupulous and unprofessional people posing as agents and unreasonable pricing has led to further losses in the property market.

World Bank data proves that development of housing units across the country is currently at less than 50,000 units annually, well below the target number, culminating in a housing deficit of over 2 million units, with nearly 61 per cent of urban households living in slums.