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November 16, 2018

Manyatta Rent app saves landlords agony of chasing after tenants

The logo of the Manyatta Rent mobile phone application. /COURTESY
The logo of the Manyatta Rent mobile phone application. /COURTESY

It is that time of the month when your rent is almost due and you are rushing to the bank to transfer the funds before the landlord comes for you.

Following Christmas and New Year celebrations, most Kenyans are broke in January, so you want to save every shilling in the process.

But the traditional banking method hardly accords you this opportunity and in some cases, there are long queues.

Transactions take longer for those who own more than one property, for which there may be different accounts, and some banks' styles of operation include more steps.

Those who opt for banking agents are haunted by thoughts of whether the mobile money account numbers given are their personal ones.

And most of the time, the collecting agent is conveniently elusive, even on a Sunday which might be your deadline.

Enter Manyatta Rent, an application tailored to serve the real estate market, specifically in the management of rent payments.

It offers a processing solution that allows tenants to make the payments using mobile money transfer systems, and allows professional real estate agents and landlords to cut operational costs.

The application incorporates the use of a tenant database that records payments and balances and even indicates vacancies.

“The idea came about when I was designing an app for a friend who is an agent. The pressures he always faced while collecting rent made me see that through modern technology, I can ease people’s work,” said founder Stephen Ngethe.

“The application, which is available on android, makes tracking payments easier since the money is sent from any of the money transfer platforms straight to the bank. Accounting functions such as reconciliation make it easier for agents and property owners to calculate their net gains since they can also input their expenses."

The tool makes use of Safaricom's mobile money transfer service, M-Pesa. Currently, only M-Pesa users can transfer money to their agents.

“The good thing about the app is that owners can text tenants individually over arrears, and at a go. We also have push notifications on the app,” said Ngethe.

The app was presented during the first ever Launchpad Start in Nairobi, by Google Developer’s Launchpad Start in partnership with iHub. 

“Currently in Kenya, we can pay electricity bills, digital television subscription and water bills through mobile money transfers. Why not use the same for rent payment which is hectic for most people?” posed John Kimani, Developer Ecosytem Programme Manager at Google.

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