Four Steps to Simple Online Rent Payments

Four Steps to Online Rent Payments

It is true that property managers are more concerned with their day-to-day duties and less concerned with implementing new solutions for collecting rent online. To many property managers, online payments seem complicated; they will say “I’d need to setup a merchant account for my business, market the offering to my tenants, and then answer all kinds of questions to tenants. And many of my tenants don’t pay with checks! Basically, it’s just another thing to worry about.”

This popular sentiment is simply wrong. We believe it can all be summarized in four simple steps.

Setup and Support

Supporting you and your tenants should not be a chore. Let your payments vendor do that work. This means providing you with clean templates to help you notify and market this new payment program to your tenants. Also, your payments vendor should be willing to get on the phone with you and your tenants to help them get comfortable.

Provide Payment Options

Not all tenants pay the same way. Not all late fees are the same. Your online rent payments vendor should provide you the flexibility you need to receive rents how your tenants like to pay: cash, check, debit, or credit. (Yes, cash can be processed through an online rent payments platform). Your vendor should also provide options for you to customize and automate late fees. You deserve options and should demand them from your vendor! If the vendor you are considering doesn’t have what you are looking for, don’t be afraid to ask – the feature could be on their roadmap.

Seamless Brand Integration

Are you concerned that your tenants will be confused if they rent form the “The Oaks” but then they need to go to some other random site to pay rent? This can get confusing for some tenants. Ask your vendor if they integrate their payment solution into your website so you can keep the branding experience for your tenants as seamless as possible.

Ongoing Training

Your vendor cannot forget to support the ongoing questions and needs of your tenants. Questions will come up and who will be around to answer them? You don’t want them, do you? Can you or your tenants get a real person on the phone?  Solid communications are necessary to keep your customers happy.

Online rent payments result in significant time savings for you and your tenants. It distinguishes your property from your competition, which is certainly a consideration factor for both current and prospective tenants. And let’s be honest, today, most tenants would rather pay online!

Tips For Drafting a Lease

Writing Pencil

Completely clueless when it comes to drafting a lease? Don’t be! With our guide, you’ll have a clear and concise lease in no time.  Remember—states’ laws differ greatly, so be sure and check on your local laws. What is legal in one state could be unconscionable in another.

A “strong” lease:

It is a known fact that courts will refuse to enforce agreements that are made in bad faith, meaning that the lease terms are outrageous and unreasonable. Furthermore, a lease should be strong, but not so restrictive that it will be held invalid by the court. Each state is different in regards to documenting a lease, so it is recommended to check your state’s regulations prior to drafting your agreement.

What is a severability clause?:

Under the severability clause, the terms of the contract are independent.  Therefore, if just one term in the contract is seen as unenforceable, the contract as a whole cannot be deemed unenforceable (this can come in handy).  Make sure to include this clause, or else your entire lease could be impossible to implement!

Security deposit:

It is important to include the amount of the security deposit in the lease, otherwise it can be difficult (or impossible) to impose later. Additionally, if you do not collect the security deposit because you “trust their character” or some other reason, the tenant could start to take advantage of the situation and fail to pay rent, damage the property, or some other unfortunate consequence.

What should I include?:

Here are some of the articles that we believe would be beneficial to include in your lease. Keep in mind that this is not by any means the entire list, but will give you a good head start on the process. Furthermore, each point can differ depending on the state that the lease is drafted in, so keep that in mind:

  • Will you allow subletting?
  • Is there limit on the number of occupants and animals that are allowed to live on the property?
  • What is your state’s definition (and remedy) for default (when one party to the contract fails to fulfill the terms of the agreement)?
  • Who are the parties to the lease? (This is important for numerous reasons.  One example is that if two people, such as a couple, are renting a unit, then both signatures should be included on the lease, or else this could become a complication later on).
  • When is rent due? When is rent considered to be late?
  • What repairs are the responsibility of the landlord? What about the tenant?
  • What will happen if the tenant breaches the lease agreement?

Do you have any other important items to include while drafting a lease?