Some tenants such as millennials are ready and eager use online rent payments, while other tenants still prefer to write checks. This week a landlord asks veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi who he uses for online rent payments and how it works for him. Here is this week’s question:

Dear Landlord Hank,

I want more of my tenants to start using online rent payments and stop using checks. What payment system do you use? How do you suggest I get my tenants to use it?

-Landlord Tim

Dear Landlord Tim,

As a real estate broker dealing in leasing and property management we use the program AppFolio.

It started as an accounting program and expanded into property management. We can accept rental payments, deposits, maintenance requests, etc all online. If tenants use eCheck it’s free to them. Credit cards require a fee.

I tell tenants up front that rent is due on the first and late on the 4th and that is when late fee is assessed. We charge $100 for late fee.

We tell our tenants that owners have mortgages, etc to pay and must have rent when due. It’s faster, surer and safer than the mail.

Appfolio has bank grade security built in. This software is expensive, and it’s an on-going expense. You don’t buy it, you pay for it every month and we have to have an accountant and someone familiar with the software to utilize it. It has loads of bells and whistles.

It’s great if you have lots of rentals to keep up with and the staff to make it make sense.

If all you need is ACH rental payments, I’d talk to your bank. Some banks are helpful, others not so much. If your bank won’t help, I’d start calling and find one that would.

We have 99.2% of our tenants pay on or before the first of the month and pay electronically.

Sincerely,

Hank Rossi

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About the author:

“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals. We did maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. ”  Visit Hank’s website here.

Dear Landlord Hank: How Do I Get My Tenants To Use Online Rent Payments?

Photo credit Polke via istockphoto.com