There is a dire shortage of accommodation in Johannesburg for those looking for rentals between R2 000 and R3 000 per month. An innovative residential property business has developed a new concept in the Johannesburg housing market to meet this need providing ‘estate living’ for the lower LSMs. Live Easy has pioneered the concept of a nano unit for rent with a lifestyle element that has never been available in the affordable market.
A nano unit is 15m2 and includes a fully self contained en suite bathroom and kitchenette. All developments include spacious common areas – a lounge area and a café that encourage community interaction, indoor and outdoor playground areas, free wi-fi and Dstv access, braai areas, a supermarket, cafe, gym and a crèche, hot desk office space, 24 hour bio metric and CCTV security, parking bays and each unit has a pre-paid electricity meter and readable water meters.
Units are predominantly studios to suit lifestyle and affordability and are priced between R1 950 to R3 750 per month.
Explains Jeffrey Froom, co-founder of Live Easy, “Urban dwellers from all over Johannesburg struggle to find places to live that are clean, safe and affordable. They are earning entry to mid level salaries but land up living in unsavory and overcrowded conditions, sharing rooms separated only by curtains and where multiple tenants share one bathroom. Live Easy is a great opportunity for those who want a chance to move in and move up.”
Live Easy’s flagship development is situated in Kew, near Alexandra, Sandton. This converted warehouse launched in September 2016 and the first phase of 136 units was pre-let a month before the opening date. Phase two is currently under development and comprises a further 123 nano units. The full development, once complete, will feature 500 units with additional lifestyle facilities.
Live Easy has a pipeline of developments valued at R320 million which will provide almost 2000 units. Properties consist of a combination of converted warehouses, offices and residential properties in Kew, Balfour Park, Highlands North, New Doornfontein, Greswold and Bramley.
Employers have expressed an interest in this type of development especially those in the hospitality and call centre industries. Restaurant managers for instance, need to ensure that their staff return home safely after hours and have to coordinate lifts to different areas. The appeal of Live Easy is that all staff members can stay at the same place and shuttle or use taxi services to and from work. Not only is this cheaper, but staff can more reliably arrive at work on time and travel home more safely late at night and they have the added benefit of a higher standard of living.
Jenine Saaiman was one of the first people to move into Live Easy Kew. She says, “I’m a beauty therapist who’s employed close to my residence. The accommodation is neat, comfortable and affordable. The premises are well maintained. Staff have been extremely helpful and accommodating. They take an interest in the tenants as well and make comfort and safety a priority. The play area is well secured for the kids. The braai area is always neat and an awesome initiative for socializing. I’m thrilled to say that Live Easy has boosted my lifestyle in so many ways. From affordability, to travelling convenience – I would not change my accommodation soon.”
Another tenant David Ncube comments: “All my life I have been living in flats and I have never been in such an organised professional complex. We have an area for kids to play, internet access is rolling out, there is a braai area for family time and most importantly we have a place of refuge after a long day at work.”