Just as tenants expect you to provide a safe and habitable rental home, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to expect your tenants to pay rent on time. This is one of their main responsibilities, and it should be reinforced in your lease agreement and your penalties for late payments.
While on-time rental payments are completely the responsibility of your resident, it never hurts to help them out. When you have systems and procedures in place that encourage on-time payments, you’re more likely to get the rent when you expect to receive it.
Here are some of the things you can do to ensure your Grand Rapids tenants pay the rent on time.
Make Your Rent Collection Policy Accessible
Be explicit in how, when, and where rent should be paid every month. You can’t expect tenants to pay on time if they’re unsure of how much is owed or you were never clear on when it’s due.
Your lease agreement should be specific and include a rent collection policy that tells your tenants:
- How much rent they’re required to pay every month.
- When the rent is due and whether there is a grace period.
- What the consequences will be if rent is paid late.
- The methods of payment you’re willing to accept.
Most tenants aren’t going to go combing through their lease agreement every month just to get a question answered about rental payments. Go over the particulars when they’re signing a lease. Make sure they understand and answer any questions.
Provide Different Ways to Pay
Make it easy for your tenants to pay rent. This will cut down on late payments, lost checks, and excuses.
Most tenants have moved beyond paper checks and prefer to pay online. It reduces the need to find an envelope, buy a stamp, and get it to a mailbox on time. Instead, they can make payments securely and conveniently from their own homes or even from their mobile phones. If a tenant doesn’t remember that rent is due until the last minute, it will only take seconds to make the digital payment.
Online rental payments usually involve software systems that allow tenants to schedule reminders for themselves or set up recurring payments. They can save their bank account information or debit card number. You’ll have your payment and your notification instantly.
While online rental payments are favored by most tenants, others will still prefer to pay by check or in cash. Make different payment methods available to your residents. It will increase your on-time payments.
Be Consistent with Late Fees and Penalties
Late fees are a good idea because they incentivize tenants to pay on time. Make sure the fees are included in your lease and that your tenant knows to expect them when rent is late. Charge a late fee every time the rent is paid late. Consistency and enforcement will result in better payment schedules.
When a tenant is late with rent, make sure you reach out to find out what happened and to talk about it. If you hear from your tenant before it’s late to notify you that the payment may be a couple of days after the due date, that’s even better. You want a good relationship with your tenant, and that requires open and safe communication. This will help you play a key role in helping to solve late rent payments and support your tenant.
Adopt Thorough Tenant Screening Practices
Avoid late rent by avoiding tenants who are likely to pay rent late.
During the screening process, make sure you verify income. Check their credit report for any history of late or missing payments to utility companies, apartment buildings, or other housing-related institutions. Make sure your tenant can afford the rent you’re charging, and talk to current and former landlords about whether rent was paid on time.
These are some of the ways we hold our tenants accountable for on-time rental payments. If you’d like to hear more about collecting rent or anything pertaining to Grand Rapids property management, please contact us at Short South Realty Group.