With a new year on the horizon, residential landlords and property investors are seeking better ways to protect their investments and collect rental income from financially strapped tenants.

Credit: NH Business Review

Credit: NH Business Review

RentMaster has emerged stronger after lockdown with new management at the helm ready to empower landlords to get paid on time and tenants to remain in good standing.

The company is a trailblazer of tenant rental guarantees, a title earned by being the first to provide a rental guarantee product in South Africa coupled with two decades – more specifically 240 months of cash-flowing landlords’ rental payment in their bank on the first.

With decades of finance, insurance and technology experience, the new owners of the company, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shanaaz Trethewey and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Peet van der Walt, have re-positioned the company in the Fintech space for optimal growth, evolution, and success going forward.

The duo focused their energy on building a new digital platform, giving landlords the comfort of full access to their property portfolios. The company provides the full-service suite of a payment processing hub, debt collection and legal evictions; with the important combination of allowing landlords to have a full view of each tenant’s collection status and the comfort of cash-flowed rent paid on the first.

“Taking on a management buyout at the time when Covid-19 was in full force was a challenge Peet and I were both up to, and demonstrates our conviction in the business,” says CEO Shanaaz Trethewey. Deon Botha, one of the founding members remains a minority shareholder.

Second-up, the company’s lockdown-learnings enabled them to solidify their value proposition. “The days of letting leases run without vigilance has come and gone; we need to adapt to constantly changing economic circumstances that affect tenants and therefore their landlord’s pockets,” explains Trethewey.

“Our relationship with landlords deepened as they leaned on us more to actively monitor what was happening with tenant profiles, affordability and distress. Ultimately, from a landlord perspective lockdown revealed the enhanced need for good quality tenants going into a crisis and our active monitoring allows them to do that.”

Also, the company found that tenants were willing to engage with them to reach agreement on payment terms for their rentals. “We had to be respectful to the landlord’s needs and empathetic to the tenant’s unfortunate circumstances,” she adds.

“It was really amazing to see the level of emotion and empathy landlords had toward tenants, they genuinely wanted to help. At the same time landlords couldn’t be expected to become financiers of their tenant’s rent without a firm commitment from them on how their rent would be paid,” she says.

The company distilled what was required by each party back to a legal framework and proper documentation that gave the landlord assurance and the tenant an obligation they could handle financially.

“My advice to tenants is to reach agreement with the debt collection company or landlord sooner rather than later, then stick to the commitment you make as this will allow you to recoup your good financial standing prior to lockdown.”

Trethewey believes that their strategic partnerships and integration with other platforms such as TPN Credit Bureau and lease management software RentBook, are key to the service during and post lockdown. This integration allowed them to gain access to highly credible data to vet tenants initially and monitor tenants on an ongoing basis, therefore providing massive value to landlords.

And it worked! With 85% of all RentMaster tenants in good standing in 2020, despite lockdown, they are a full 10% above the industry average.

The company offers a full-service suite of the payment processing hub, debt collection and legal evictions.