As tenants and landlords alike grapple with the new normal created by the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to keep heads above water is the name of the game. For tenants, that means paying as much as they can when they can. For landlords, it means making rent payment easier—so that you can get paid. Thankfully, you're not alone in developing your strategy: our Chesapeake property management team is here to help.
The simple fact is that, as a landlord, you cannot go on forever without collecting rent. The New York Times recently reported that tenants have been staying surprisingly current on rent throughout the pandemic, but expressed concern over whether that trend would be sustainable. As we begin moving beyond the brief bump provided by the stimulus measures in the CARES Act, we've been keeping an eye on this evolving situation for you.
Beyond payment plans, landlords need to make paying rent easy for your renters during this time to encourage payments to keep coming in regularly.
Foreword: If you've found this blog, it may be because you're facing a serious financial crisis. While we provide exceptional Chesapeake property management, this blog is not intended to replace legal counsel. If you need live support, get in touch with the team of Rent Estate™ Advisors at Renters Warehouse Hampton Roads!
Work With Tenants as Much as Possible
Even as businesses continue to reopen, and people return to work, life will continue to be challenging for many of your tenants. It's important to let your tenants know that you understand this and that we're all in this together. Keeping your business afloat—even keeping it profitable—is still possible if you can work with your tenants to create a payment plan that works for all parties.
Landlords and property managers nationwide are responding in different ways, from deferring rent to waiving late fees as part of the collection tools available to them during this time. If you can encourage your tenants to pay a smaller amount now and then pay the rest at a later date, that's better than collecting no rent. It also helps to create an easier method of payment.
Offer Online Payment Options
Struggling with late payments has become a major issue for some landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there's reason to believe that it could become more of an issue as the situation continues to change. Your best option is to make paying rent as simple and convenient as possible by setting up online payments.
Under current conditions, most tenants will actually feel more comfortable with online payments. After all, who wants to go to the post office to mail a check, or deliver their rent to their landlord by hand? Online payments are not only convenient, but they also feel much safer and more secure during social distancing. The advantages of setting up an online payment platform for your tenants include:
- Simplified rent collection: Landlords no longer have to handle cash, deposit checks, or risk tenants' safety and their own with direct contact.
- Encouraging auto-pay: Most online rent payment tools allow for recurring automatic payments, which helps ensure that rent will continue to be on time throughout your tenants' lease.
- Rent reminders: Many online payment systems allow you to set up rent reminders or alerts, which encourage tenants to pay without painting you as a nagging landlord.
- Better records: Digital payment tools make it simple to keep track of who has and hasn't paid rent, as well as how much has been paid in cases where you've made special arrangements with a tenant. You can also create automatic rent receipts.
Waive Fees for Tenants Who Pay Online
With a lot of traditional online platforms, tenants have to pay an extra fee when they make online payments. One of the best ways to encourage tenants to pay online—and reward them for doing so—is to waive these fees. Most of the recent rental data we've seen as Chesapeake property management professionals suggests that waiving fees makes a big difference in getting tenants to pay online—and on time.
You may have to absorb those fees yourself, but consider the value of the trade-off: now more than ever, tenants need all the help they can get. If absorbing the convenience fee makes the difference between whether or not a tenant can pay rent, it's a small price to pay—especially if it leads to a lease renewal down the line.
Work With Chesapeake Property Management
One of the best ways to reduce the burden for landlords and tenants alike is to choose a qualified Chesapeake property management company to oversee rent collection. Property managers offer a wide range of services that make collecting rent as easy and streamlined as possible! When you work with Renters Warehouse, for example, you get the advantage of:
- Easy, online rent-payment options for your tenants: Renters Warehouse uses FastFundsSM, which allows tenants to pay using virtually any form of payment.
- Quick and easy direct deposits: Renters Warehouse sends free direct deposits to your bank account and provides monthly statements for your records.
- Eviction assistance and lease enforcement: Less than 1% of our tenants ever have to be evicted, and the professionals at Renters Warehouse are trained to facilitate every tenant situation with care.
At the end of the day, hiring a property manager doesn't usually cost much more than the price of a subscription to professional rent collection software. When you consider all the additional services a property management company brings to the table—rental price analysis, tenant screening, property maintenance, inspections—you get the most bang for your buck when you work with a pro!
Contact us today at Renters Warehouse Hampton Roads to learn more about the advantages of professional Chesapeake property management, and take advantage of exclusive resources like our Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook!