By: Tebogo Mokwena
Real estate entrepreneur Sihle Ndlovu’s online platform has made it simpler for backroom landlords to connect to a database of real estate agents and clients that suit the landlord’s preferences. Ndlovu, who is the founder of IndaoHub, has also helped older and less tech-savvy landlords in townships reach a wider market and cut costs in seeking tenants. Ndlovu told Vutivi News that the platform had access to a growing database of tenants and landlords, and it was also used to get quality backrooms and occupants.
While it is a popular platform in Thembisa and Kempton Park in Ekurhuleni and Protea Glen in Soweto, it is being used in other townships in the country as well. Backroom owners face a number of obstacles in attempting to alert potential occupants about their rooms, with many landlords having to rely on word of mouth and social media. Ndlovu said reputable online platforms were expensive for township real estate owners to utilise, and they were not specialists in sourcing backrooms in townships.
Besides linking landlords with real estate agents who operate in townships, IndaoHub also allows both landlords and tenants to register. Ndlovu told Vutivi News that this market was growing, with more people needing smaller and more affordable accommodations. “For tenants, it is very hard to look for property in the townships, and the Covid-19 pandemic forced many people to cut the costs of living, causing an increase in the demand for backrooms,” he said.
“It is also difficult for older property owners to use digital platforms to list their backrooms, and many of them depend on these rooms for a living,” Ndlovu said that IndaoHub attempted to solve this problem by helping tenants find affordable accommodation, and giving landlords an affordable platform to help them get clients. He also said that because it charged fewer fees, this also helped township property owners. Due to a greater need for this kind of platform, Ndlovu plans on introducing other services to the business, which was founded last year and has six employees.
He wants to upgrade the platform to include services such as accessing utility bills, receiving and paying rent, and other property-related administrative services. “A lot of people are moving back to townships from suburbs due to economic conditions, and that is good for the township economy,” Ndlovu said. “This is going to bring a lot of activity in the township economy.”