Electronic rent payments

I have a smaller park about 2 hours away. Half of the tenants are paying via Rentigo and other than the long delay for payments to clear it has worked well.

The other half pay rent and water directly to a local bank . They write their lot numbers on the deposit ticket and the bank sporadically sends me scans of the tickets. Clumsy and not timely. This branch is set to close in April so I’d like to address the issue now.

Most of the remaining tenants don’t have internet or smartphones but I would like to get them paying electronically so I have better control.

Does anyone have experience setting up the no web or smartphone tenants on a remote payment system? Or should I go back to mailing checks?

Any feedback would be appreciated.

We use a local bank account as well, but their online functionality allows me to see the deposit slip online within 24 hours of the deposit. Is there another bank available in town that could give you this functionality?

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My local bank shows an image of the deposit slip the next day.

I gave each tenant a business card with their name and lot numbers and the name of the account for the deposit.

I also went in and met with the bank and tellers and do business there so they know me.

This has worked for years and allowed me to not do any onsite collections. I also use Buildium for online payments. And they can mail a check if they want.

In the lease these are the only approved payment methods. People will conform to whatever you set up. Everyone has smart phones with internet or knows someone that does or can go to the library. Somehow they pay all their other bills.

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Our parks were purchased as turnarounds and we didn’t feel comfortable forcing the tenants to conform to a new payment system on day one. Right or wrong, that’s what we did and it’s definitely been annoying getting the typical “I lost my money order” and “I promise I mailed it” responses from tenants. However, this has been pretty rare (maybe two a year).

Just like most operators, we have all kinds of tenants ranging from the 80-year old senior who doesn’t know what the “innerweb” is to the middle-aged blue collar couple that only uses money orders.

What we have done is slowly introduce technology to the tenants while still providing some flexibility in payments methods. We use Quickbooks for our accounting system and use their merchant services and Bank Transfer features for online payments. As part of our new lease agreements, we make automatic “bank transfers” a requirement. If they want to live in the community, they must be willing to have their rent payments be automatically drawn. We have never had a new tenant object to this.

About half of the original tenants have converted to online payments as well. Younger tenants almost expect this kind of service and many of the older tenants simply don’t want to deal with writing checks and mailing letters so they like it as well.

However, we still get checks in the mail and deposit them either via remote deposit or a monthly trip to the bank. Personally, I don’t mind it because I rather enjoy collecting checks as it is a reminder to me why I’m an investor in this industry in the first place.

The fact is, there are so many different technologies to use right now and tenants are becoming more and more comfortable with them. The only legitimate excuse for not being able to use technology for payments is if a tenant does not have a bank account and can only use money orders for payments. Personally, I don’t know anyone where this applies. If a tenant has a bank account, why would they NOT want to save themselves the cost of a money order and the inconvenience of a trip to walmart or the local bank? We’ve found that a simple explanation to them is typically enough to get them onboard with online payments.

Jon

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