Enforcing rental payments can often be a challenge—even when an economic crisis isn't affecting how your residents can pay the rent. When dealing with social distancing and a crisis like COVID-19, collecting the rent becomes more difficult for property owners.
What can landlords do when guidelines restrict your current, in-person methods of collecting the rent? Only the best property management Seattle provides understands the challenge of encouraging renters to pay the rent when social distancing means they can't drop off a rent check at your offices.
While social distancing isn't something we ever want to deal with again, the required changes caused by these public-health measures could actually be an opportunity to upgrade your rent collection process as part of a long-term solution to address any future crisis.
If your residents can't get a rent check to you in-person, property owners can make it easier for them to pay you in other ways! Follow these tips from the best property management, Seattle landlords, to eliminate social distancing barriers to on-time rental payments and the rent collection process.
Please note: This article is not a substitute for legal advice, and was current at the time of its publishing. However, this situation is rapidly evolving. For up-to-date information and guidance, reach out to Real Property Associates, your Seattle property management partner!
Offer an Online Payment System
Offering a way for residents to pay the rent online eliminates the need to deliver (or retrieve) a paper check. When social distancing prevents residents from getting to the post office to mail a check or stop by your leasing offices, an online payment system helps them pay the rent from the safety of their homes.
Once you and your residents experience an online portal for rental payments, you'll never want to go back to the manual process of collecting paper checks! In fact, the best property management Seattle offers often suggests this move to digital become the norm, rather than an option. It's convenient for residents and helps eliminate some rent enforcement tasks from a landlord list of to-dos every month.
Even with social distancing guidelines in place, residents don't have an excuse for not delivering a rent check on time. They can also schedule payments to help prioritize their income when agreeing to a payment plan during a financial crisis.
Waive Fees During the Transition
Some of your check-writers could be reluctant to embrace a change to technology when making rental payments. If your properties house older residents, they could cling to the old-school monthly process of writing a check and delivering the rent to your leasing office as a treasured part of their budget-balancing.
However, almost everyone—regardless of age or dedication to routine—enjoys saving money. To help encourage your check-writing residents to utilize an online portal, waive online payment fees for a few months to help get them on board with the change.
Without processing fees, residents often see the benefits when it comes to making a transition away from paper. However, it's important to make sure they understand that the incentive won't last forever. After a few months of the new process, your residents will appreciate how easy it is to pay the rent online.
Collecting rent online keeps everyone safer, even after social distancing guidelines are lifted. This change eliminates in-person contact to comply with any currently recommended health and safety guidelines—but that's not the only benefit.
Property owners can appreciate plenty of perks when using an online portal for rent collection, including:
- A higher percentage of on-time payments: Chasing down late rental payments is time-consuming, frustrating work. When residents can schedule payments or quickly go online to make a payment the day it's due; property owners spend less time contacting residents to enforce rental payment rules.
Access to almost real-time income: Property owners have to manually track paper rental checks, then take them to the bank for deposit if they lack a scanning app. Even if rent checks arrive on time, it can be several days before you see the income in your bank account. With online payments, funds can be available much quicker with digital processing.
- Residents appreciate fewer penalties: Even during social distancing, the rent is due on time. With an online payment system, residents can avoid late fees by staying up-to-date on their account.
These benefits—and more—make an online portal worthwhile as a long-term upgrade for your residents and your investment property business.
Your Biggest Win Is Hiring a Property Manager
Helping your residents transition to a new payment process is easier when you hire a property manager to set it up and communicate the changes with your renters! In some cases, the cost of the best property management, Seattle landlords, is not much more than the cost of landlord software. Plus, a property manager comes with many additional benefits!
Your property manager supports you by:
- Appropriately enforcing rental payments and lease terms.
- Adapting processes to work within any mandatory Seattle guidelines.
- Providing professional maintenance services that comply with any legislation.
- Resident screening and property marketing to keep your properties occupied all year.
A property manager helps protect your investment property income—with or without social distancing!
Expert Property Management Makes Rent Collection Easier!
Working with only the best property management Seattle offers you as a property owner can make all of the above easier than ever! Having access to a dedicated online rental payment system is only the beginning of a better customer service experience for your residents. When renters are happy, they adapt to changes and are more likely to renew their lease.
At Real Property Associates, we've been helping property owners like you since 1991 transition to a better way of running your rental properties in the Puget Sound area. To get a better idea of what we can do to help you as a property owner, download your free copy of our Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook! This free resource is an excellent option as well for DIY landlords who have been struggling with the rent collection process during this time.