As a rental property owner, the success of your investments relies upon the tenant paying their rent in full and on time. Although paper rent payments had been the most common way to pay for some time those could result in a number of hassles. Even if you have a property manager that handles the paper rent checks for you, and although you can’t necessarily force your tenants to do so, the best practice is to encourage tenants to pay online. Not only are paper rent checks more time-consuming to handle, they can also easily cause interruptions in your monthly cash flow. Whether the payment is delayed, a check bounces, or a tenant is committing outright check fraud, by accepting paper checks you could run the risk of investment returns suffering.
Inefficiencies of Paper Payments
There are several reasons why paper check payments can create nightmare scenarios for the unwary rental property owner. One of these reasons is that handling and depositing paper checks is prone to inefficiencies. The entire process is filled with potential pitfalls. For example, every tenant may not pay all their bills at the same time or by writing out checks for each one. So, writing out that rent check can be easy to forget. If they do get the check written, then it needs to find its way to you. Many tenants rely on the mail to deliver their rent check each month, so you often are required to wait for it to arrive. Although not common, mail can be lost or misplaced, leading to serious delays. Once the check does arrive, you then need to deposit it into the bank. Some banks will hold those funds for days or even weeks until the check clears, meaning you won’t actually have access to the money during that time. If problems occur in even one part of this process, your monthly cash flow could be seriously interrupted.
Added Costs and Fees
In addition to inefficiency, another reason why paper check payments are such a hassle is that they can easily result in added costs and fees. If your tenant does not have enough funds in their bank account to cover the rent check, the check will bounce. Your bank will reject it and could charge you a fee. If that happens, you will then need to spend more time tracking down that missing rent payment, not to mention charging and collecting late and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees from them.
Check fraud is another reason you may want to encourage tenants not to make paper rent payments. Unfortunately, it’s all too common an issue. There have been instances where tenants intentionally send paper check payments that they know won’t clear, just to buy themselves more time to get the funds in the bank. Others may not have any intention of paying the rent, a fact you won’t know for sure until after the check has bounced and your tenant is unable or unwilling to rectify the situation.
Online Rent Collection
With all the problems that paper rent payments can bring, it’s no wonder that property owners have started looking for more efficient and secure methods of collecting rent. Fortunately, technology has advanced so much in recent years that online rent collection has become both affordable and increasingly popular. By encouraging your tenants to pay their rent online, you can avoid the many hassles of paper rent payments. Online rent collection can help you ensure consistent cash flow every month, as well as immediate access to your funds.
At Real Property Management, we understand that timely and convenient rental income collection is crucial to owning successful rental properties. We make rental payments quick and easy for you and your tenants so that it’s more likely that they’ll want to pay online instead of by check. We do this by using the online payment software Appfolio. By offering your tenants a way to make secure, convenient, on-time rent payments online – and giving you instant access to your financial information and funds – we might just revolutionize your rent collection process. For more information, please contact your nearest Real Property Management office.
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