The critical shortage of student accommodation spans across South Africa. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that there were 2.55 million students enrolled across all universities and vocational training schools in 2020 with an estimated supply-demand gap of 511 600 beds.
With student enrolments set to grow to almost 1.6 million by 2025, the shortage in student accommodation is likely to increase by approximately 781 000 beds by 2025.
Online and distance learning, brought on by Covid-19, coupled with the recent nationwide student protests, has caused additional concern for the sector. While an upward trend post-Covid-19 is anticipated, PropTech players in this space who offer convenience and variety, like Reslocate, will prove invaluable.
Reslocate is South Africa’s number one off-campus student accommodation web-based app that connects landlords with prospective students nationwide.
With millions of students heading off to tertiary institutions every year, founder of Reslocate, Lucas Tsholofelo Mohaswa, a civil engineer by profession, saw a gap in the market to address the pressing need for an easy and reliable way of providing safe, vetted student accommodation.
“We have lived the student life. We understand the student journey and how hard it can be to balance registration and classes while trying to find suitable accommodation – all within the first week of arriving on campus” says Lucas.
“Reslocate provides students with the power to explore and to compare a variety of off-campus ‘pozis’ via our app – before arriving on campus. This takes care of at least one thing on a student’s long to-do list”.
In turn, Reslocate not only offers parents total piece of mind by reducing the risk of their children being exposed to unsafe properties, bogus property owners and possible rental scams, but it assists in terms of budgeting.
“PropTech is universal, and it provides students with convenience and variety. The Generation Z market likes flexibility and options. 4IR is the future for this tech-savvy market and our model searches for and legitimizes pozis close to universities and colleges”.
For students, by the students
Karabo Motshekgwa, a Generation Z post-graduate student from the University of Johannesburg says student accommodation that fits within budget is key, especially with a shortage of options on campus.
“Students are attracted to the value for money and the value of support that a pozi can offer them during the academic period. 24/7 secure accommodation that offers a ‘work, rest, play’ environment with free Wi-Fi tops the list. We also calculate the distance between our accommodation, campus and the nearest amenities – including transport – when looking for a suitable pozi”.
Like so many other students, Karabo has had a bad experience. Often, landlords advertise their properties with ‘zoomed-in’ photos which is not an accurate reflection of the listing and additional costs hidden in the monthly service fees seem to be a recurring issue too.
“I found an off-campus option which turned out to be expensive and too small. I did not reside there for more than month – I could not take it anymore”.
But through Reslocate, Karabo sourced a safe, suitable shared pozi for less than R2 000 per month with facilities that cater to his student needs such as a study centre, take-out meals, and a nearby laundry service.
“With Reslocate, it felt that they were fellow students in varsity. They understand the value of student accommodation”.
One added advantage to Reslocate, is that it has developed a model whereby students enrolled in institutions of higher learning, are employed as ‘Area Agents’ – like Karabo – to assist with vetting the submitted pozis.
“By employing students as our Area Agents, we are killing five birds with one stone. We train them and pay them on an ‘as when’ basis. We would rather have students from the University of Johannesburg vetting pozis offered outside of UJ’s campus”.
While Reslocate’s platform is free for students, it also speaks to property owners who may be finding it difficult to secure tenants in the struggling rental market.
Connecting the dots
With market research gathered from the pool of students who have joined the platform, Reslocate tries to assist up-and-coming start-ups or property owners wanting to build their student accommodation portfolios.
The benefits for property owners registering with Reslocate are immense. When registering, Reslocate advises them on a one-on-one basis, providing them with first-hand exposure in terms of marketing to the millions of students across South Africa looking for suitable accommodation like George Molefe, a property owner in Braamfontein who has listed his property on the Reslocate platform for the past five months.
“The most beneficial part about using Reslocate for me – as a property owner- is that they helped me to cut down on regular marketing costs. It makes it much easier for students to find my property on the platform – at no recurring monthly cost” he says.
“Another benefit is that there is not a lot of back and forth when you engage with the student or their guardian – you already have the documentation needed which speeds up the lease application process”.
With a portfolio predominantly in Gauteng, Reslocate has approximately 500 beds listed on their platform, and they are continuously recruiting for landlords. Property owners are not charged a registration or subscription fee and Reslocate only invoices a ‘referral’ fee on completion of a successful, signed lease agreement.
“Landlords are not in the business of marketing and Reslocate alleviates this problem for them. When students pre-book accommodation, Reslocate gives listed landlords the extreme advantage in terms of filling their vacancies” says Lucas.
Reslocate’s target market varies from the low ‘Living Standards Measure’ (LSM) to the high LSM. More importantly, the brand understands the student gene by offering a holistic approach to all students from various universities and colleges, without prejudice.
Founded on the 29th of May 2020, Reslocate turns one years old this week and the brand is working hard to increase its visibility with plans to expand to other provinces and neighbouring countries.
“We want to establish ourselves as the number one PropTech company in Africa. Reslocate is my calling, and the vision is much bigger than all of us. Invention is the fabric of Reslocate”.
- Download the Reslocate app.
- Create your free account.
- Fill in your details.
- Search for a pozi.
For property owners:
- Download the Reslocate app.
- Sign up as a ‘Property Owner’
- Fill in your details.
- Check your email for your account’s activation link.
- Load your property and the documents required for a student to book your accommodation.
- Reslocate will contact you to set up an appointment to vet your property.
- Once an Area Agent has done a site visit and everything in in order, your property will be loaded and visible on the Reslocate platform.