BY Fast Company 2 MINUTE READ

HouseME makes renting fair, easy and affordable for all. It’s a PropTech company that has scaled to beyond 100,000 users. In disrupting the archaic, traditional managing agencies, HouseME has created a platform that allows for frictionless transacting and counterparty trust.

This is particularly relevant in what has been a very opaque process for too long. HouseME ensures that there is no room for racist and sexist discrimination whatsoever.

DepositFREE provided the ability to tenants to lease without paying a security deposit.

The innovation opens up the rental market to prospective tenants who are excellent renters, but due to liquidity constraints are unable to pay a high security deposit up front. This tends to be typical of tenants who don’t have family-money to rely upon for such a deposit and therefore has a disproportionate impact on previously-disadvantaged renters. DepositFREE allows such tenants to provide landlords with peace of mind, by renting with HouseME.

HouseME founders Benjamin Shaw and Kyle Bradley. Image:  Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Around 40% of South Africans live in a rented property; that’s 1.3m households across the country. In order to apply for such properties, tenants are often profiled not on their ability to afford rental and look after a property, but rather on their ability to pay a high once-off security deposit. This excludes a great number of (often previously-disadvantaged) prospective tenants. Not only does DepositFREE open up more of the market to landlords, who stand to gain by a better, larger pool of applicants, but it removes this burden from tenants and provides an opportunity for them to build up a security deposit over time.

CEO Ben Shaw created product structure and integrated it into business model financials, while COO Lorne Hallendorff drove innovation through the company, developed the legal framework, and tested ahead of the official launch in 2019.

HouseME is SA’s digital renting specialist, and its unique innovations include DepositFREE, WithdrawME (the ability for landlords to take out their annual rental up front), PlaceME (which allows tenants to bid on pricing for each property) and fully digital leasing. HouseME was founded in 2015 and has managed thousands of properties to date. It was named by MEA Markets the most Innovative Rental Property Agency in Africa, and one of Africa’s Top 8 startups by Forbes in 2019.