Enter your email address for weekly access to top multifamily blogs!

Multifamily Blogs

This is some blog description about this site

Charge It!: Why It’s Time to Start Accepting Rental Payments Via Credit Card

Charge It!: Why It’s Time to Start Accepting Rental Payments Via Credit Card
Credit cards are a powerful tool for consumers, made only more powerful by their convenience and popularity. Failing to accept credit cards as a valid method of payment for rental fees is to really miss out on a great opportunity to delight and accommodate your tenants. But there are so many more reasons to justify adding credit cards to your repertoire. Read on to learn why charging it is the way to go.   Convenience is king. Manual is out. According to a recent study by Entrata, a leading online payment provider, 79% of renters prefer to pay rent online. And “why?” you might ask. Because it’s easy. What could be simpler than a few clicks of your mouse to button up this month’s payment? Buying new checks, sending payment by snail mail or dropbox. These are all things of the past. Not only do modern day tenants appreciate the convenience of online rent payment, but they’ve come to expect it. The bar has been raised. That’s right. The expectation is there. Gone are the days when you do your business your way and the customer is the one expected to adapt. Now tenants have options in the marketplace, and it’s up to landlords to listen to their wants and cater to their needs. If you are the only property on their list that doesn’t accept credit card payments, that kind of distinction could put you squarely in the wrong category. Quick and painless. The speed with which a credit card transaction takes place is virtually unmatched. Proc......
Continue reading
542 Hits
1 Comment

Accepting Rent via Paper Check: What’s it Really Cost?

You’re likely familiar by now with the term eCheck. If you are not, an echeck is an electronic version of a paper check that is used to make payments and transfer funds online. The benefits of such a form of payment in contrast to traditional paper checks and cash are fairly clear (simplicity, security, convenience), and you’ve likely weighed those pros against the (perceived) con of increased cost. However, the notion that eChecks are more expensive than paper checks – or, more commonly, that accepting rent via paper check is actually free – is the result of a misconception. Paper checks do have a cost, and it’s not merely in time. Both directly and indirectly, accepting rent via paper check is often more expensive than eCheck. The Real Cost of Going to the Bank Paper checks are loaded with sunk costs and indirect fees.  It is because of this that people often mistakenly think that accepting rent via paper check is a free means of processing funds. But this is not the case.  There are a few fees that should be taken into consideration – primarily manpower and incidental costs – that are not included when processing payments via eCheck. For starters, depositing paper checks at the bank requires you to physically be there.  The average distance between bank branches is increasing due to branch consolidation and closures. This means more time (manpower cost) and gas, mileage, wear and tear, etc. (incidental costs). But let’s get into specifics. The average distance to a bank is ab......
Continue reading
738 Hits
1 Comment

Tips to Respond to Coronavirus Related Online Reviews

Tips to Respond to Coronavirus Related Online Reviews
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with stay-at-home orders in 31 states and counting, an increased number of families are confined to their homes. During such times, the on-site property teams and resources are likely to be tested. Reviewers are complaining about the property teams not doing enough to combat Coronavirus or lack of accommodations by the management when it comes to rent payment. On the bright side, residents are quick to point out positive actions such as the “manager handing out pizza and sanitizers.”  As you work frenetically to manage this crisis and the effect it may have on your online reputation, how can you effectively respond to some of the criticism stemming from your property’s handling of Coronavirus in online reviews?  Here are some tips to respond to reviews around this fluid situation. Be empathetic: The situation today is an anomaly, and many people are extremely anxious. Be empathetic while reading and responding to reviews, and reassure residents that the management is making every effort to follow guidelines from trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionand the local, state and federal government to ensure the well-being of everyone connected to the community. It is critical to reflect sympathy and understanding particularly with complaints related to rent collection during this time of “economic vulnerability.” Monitor your reviews: Get your teams to diligently monitor reviews for any conversation related to this crisis. Nip any apprehensions and further gossip in the bud by reaching out to the resident directly ......
Continue reading
1970 Hits
2 Comments

Five Ways to Encourage Residents to Pay Their Rent On Time

Making sure residents pay their rent on time and in full: it's possibly the most important task facing an apartment operator. Without the expected cash flow from renters, operating expenses become tough to cover and a community's bottom line takes a pounding. So how can operators encourage their residents to fulfill the terms of their leases? Below are five suggestions. Report rental payment historyWhen operators report their residents' positive rental payment history to the credit bureaus, they help those residents build their credit history. A strong, positive credit history makes it easier for them to secure car loans, credit cards and mortgages – and to do so at favorable interest rates. When residents understand how they can create a better financial future by paying their rent on time, they will be highly motivated to do so. A couple of studies have demonstrated the significant impact of reporting positive rental payment history. In 2013 and 2014, the Credit Builders Alliance conducted a pilot project in which eight affordable-housing providers reported the rental payment history of more than 1,250 low-income residents. Nearly 80 percent of the residents saw their credit scores increase, with an average rise of 23 points. Similarly, an Experian RentBureau study on the effect of positive rent reporting in nearly 20,000 subsidized housing residents revealed a considerable beneficial impact on the thickness of the renters' credit files. According to the study, 23 percent of thin-file residents moved to the thick-file category after their positive payment history was reported. Bottom line: r......
Continue reading
3133 Hits
2 Comments

Show Me The Money, Effective Rent Collection

Rent collectionContacting residents regarding unpaid rent can be difficult.  To prevent the need for collection calls, we often incentivize timely rental payments.  However, apartment communities continue to have individuals that do not pay their rent on time. Tasking a team member with the responsibity to follow up on the individual with  unpaid rent generally has the following results; - A notice or door hanger was placed on their door. - Left a voicemail message. - Sent an email. For too many staff individuals, the possibillity of a face-to-face conversation about unpaid rent creates anxiety.  Its viewed as a potential confrontation, a conflict to be avoided if possible. Explaining the Payment Policy A resident needs to understand how the apartment community handles unpaid rent. During the leasing presentation, the process of rent collection should be explained, as well as the steps to collect unpaid rent. Signing a lease is a commitment to pay rent, and provide the payments timely. If a resident does not meet their responsibility, it creates the need for action on the part of the management team. Management staff must be understand the importance of this function as an administrative responsibility. During the hiring process; a future employee should role play a scenario involving rent collection.  Can they maintain eye contact and ask for the rent? Additional training will provide guidance and policy but if the individual doesn’t have personal confidence, they may not be the best candidate to handle this responsiblity. Payment Convenience Personal contact will bring results in......
Continue reading
3400 Hits
2 Comments

Is Multifamily Finally Saying Goodbye to Checks?

Is Multifamily Finally Saying Goodbye to Checks?
The multifamily industry has a reputation of being slow pokes when it comes to adopting technology. Between rent checks, applications and leases, there are a lot of paper documents circulating around your typical leasing office. But according to PayLease’s 2014 Market Survey, many multifamily firms are finally bringing their online technology to this century's standards, especially when it comes to online rent payments. The survey is conducted by New Heights Research and polls hundreds of multifamily and HOA firms about their usage of online payments. The results are analyzed by the property management industry overall, and also dissected by portfolio type and company size. This year’s survey revealed some promising trends for multifamily. Some of the highlights: 62% of multifamily firms now accept online rent payments, up 8% from 2013.  For the first time in the survey’s history, multifamily firms outpaced HOAs in the rate they added online payments.  32% of companies who made a change to their payment collection process added online payments for the first time. 14% of firms who made a change to their online payment solution in 2014 increased the number of online payment solutions they offer. A big round of applause for multifamily firms for finally jumping on the online payment bandwagon! With fewer rent checks to process, community managers have more time on their hands to focus on bigger priorities, like fulfilling vacancies (which, by the way, happened to be at a record-low in 2014). Offering online payment options and seeing traction from residents actuall......
Continue reading
2132 Hits
1 Comment

4 Tips for Minimizing Drop Box Liability

4 Tips for Minimizing Drop Box Liability
Payment drop boxes were once a fixture at every community office across America. Nowadays they are slowly disappearing.  With so many residents choosing to pay their rent online, drop boxes are becoming antiquated. An even bigger factor for their decline? Lately, the risk of leaving a check or money order in an overnight drop box has skyrocketed. Thanks to a surge in drop box thefts over the past few years, many property management companies are choosing to discontinue the practice. Crafty thieves, equipped with coat wires and adhesive, are able to fish thousands of dollars’ worth of rent checks and money orders from overnight drop boxes. These crimes often result in payments being fraudulently cashed, leaving residents and property management companies at a loss. In some instances, the theft leads to a legal battle between the resident and the management company about who is responsible for the missing rent payment. Despite the risks, some management companies continue to offer drop boxes as an option for residents who need to make a payment after business hours. If your management company still utilizes drop boxes, here are some tips to minimize the liability. Increase signage at the drop box Placing a sign at the drop box informing residents that they can pay online is a great way to remind them there are safer, more convenient ways to pay. Your online payments provider may be able to provide you with this type of signage. You may also want to add a sign that indicat......
Continue reading
1881 Hits
1 Comment

My Apartment Collection Story

b2ap3_thumbnail_rent-collection.jpgI often think it's valuable to share things from the renter's point of view, and although I no longer live in an apartment, I have one final story to share with you.  Early last year, we moved out and bought a home, and at the time, we believed we did not have any outstanding payments left.  But this week, almost 20 months later, I got an email from my former apartment community that I had a remaining charge of $24.66 from a delayed water bill.  Before I continue, let me be clear that although the ridiculous delay of this bill is annoying, that in itself was not the problem.  What really made me as a renter upset is that even though this is the first time I have ever heard from them after 20 months, they felt it necessary to add this nice little threat at the bottom: "Please remit balance due within 15 days from the date on this notice. If payment is not received, the balance due will automatically be turned over to our collection agency and the credit bureau. Should you have any questions, please contact the community office immediately." Is this really how to treat former residents?  Don't contact them for 20 months, and when you do finally get around to letting them know, tell them to pay within 15 days or get submitted to the credit agency?  Obviously, this is a standardized email, and it probably got sent out to all past residents when they implemented......
Continue reading
2093 Hits
5 Comments