Collecting rent is the goal of your property business. It is the fruit of the labor with respect to renovating and leasing the property. Being a landlord doesn’t mean you have to be callous. It’s important to be cordial, prompt and exact in every encounter with your tenants. However, there is a difference between being nice and polite, and being your tenant’s friend. Being a friend makes it hard and awkward to collect rent or assess late charges. This is why I follow strict rules and guidelines for all my tenants when it comes to collecting rent.
Number 1: Never accept cash or personal checks.
When collecting rent, personal checks can bounce, and cash doesn’t have a paper trail. For your protection and theirs, only accept money orders or cashier’s checks made out for the exact amount. This way they can never claim payments they didn’t actually make, and the checks can’t be canceled or hot. You want trace ability of rent payments.
Number 2: Sign up for a P.O. Box.
If you’re like me and have properties spread out over a wide area, you don’t want to spend a whole week driving around and collecting rent. It’s a waste of time and gas. I use a P.O. Box nearby my home and use that address on all my leases, correspondence and instructions. I swing by at 6 p.m. on the due date and if the rent isn’t there, then it’s late. In disputes over when rent was mailed or received, make sure you check the stamp over the postage for a date. The post office marks each envelope with a date when it first goes through their system. If they claim to have mailed a check on the 30th, but the stamp says the 2nd, then you have proof for court.
Number 3: Use direct deposit.
Collecting rent in the digital age should be electronic. It’s the 21st century, and while we still need roads to get where we’re going, there are advanced methods of receiving rent payments. You can give your tenant your business account number and they can deposit the rent. Banks are secured, your money is safe, and they don’t have access to your account. This way there is no question about when rent was paid.
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For more advice and landlord training, check out Beware! Renting to relatives can be a financial disaster. Also view our video Late Rent Payment- three easy steps to resolution
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