As a landlord, you should always require rent to be paid in full and in advance, on or before the due date of each rent period. There are several things you can do to better manage rent collection and to minimise arrears potentially incurring.
1. Choose tenants carefully
If you want the tenants who pay on time, you need to find the 'right' tenants. This means doing your due diligence and conducting thorough background and credit checks.
4 Golden rules when choosing your tenant:
- Choose the person who can afford your place.
Confirm their employment or sources of income. Make sure they have enough funds to cover rent.
- Check the applicant's credit history.
It's always a good idea to check your tenant's credit score. It shows their history of past debts and outstanding fines, court orders and offer a glimpse into their money management.
- Check the Tenancy Tribunal records.
Check the Tenancy Tribunal database for any previous issues with the tenant and past decisions made at the Tribunal hearings. You will want to know if your applicant has a history of being evicted.
- Contact the past landlord.
The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. There is no better person to talk to than the tenant's previous landlord. They'll be able to confirm if the rent was paid on time, if the bond was refunded in full and confirm the reason their tenancy ended.
2. Be clear with your rent payment instructions and expectations.
This may seem obvious, but you need to be clear with your instructions. You need to make sure your tenants understand what day rent is due, how much rent needs to be paid, how often and how to pay it.
Be very clear about your expectations and the consequences of non-payment of rent
Don't let your new tenants move in without making a full advance payment of rent and bond.
3. Make paying rent easy - automate it
Encouraging tenants to set up automatic rent payments is the best way to collect rent on time. This eliminates the human error of forgetting to make a payment when it's due.
When collecting rent through myRent, you can see all your payments in one place and know at a glance if your tenants are up-to-date or in arrears.
4. Synchronise the tenants' paydays with the rent due days.
To reduce the likelihood of missed payments, try scheduling the rent payments for a day and frequency that suits the tenant. You're not here to help your tenants with budgeting but synchronising the rent due days with their payday may result in regular, on-time payments every single week.
5. Make sure rent is not due on the weekend
Most tenancies start on the weekend, and often landlords keep the due day as Saturday or Sunday. It is however best to avoid rent falling due on the weekend or a Friday. Banks typically process their payments only on workdays. Any payments made late on Friday or due on weekends and public holidays are unlikely to reach your account until the next business day. You can lose 3 days before you even know if the tenants are late and before you can take any action.
Not paying rent is considered a breach of a tenancy agreement. When your tenant signed the agreement, they legally promised to pay rent on time and in full.
6. Send reminders
To reduce accidental missed payment, it is advisable sending a reminder message to your tenants that their rent is due a few days prior and/or on the day it's due. With some many communication mediums currently available, this doesn't need to be intrusive and could be done via an email or text.
If you're a myRent user, you can relax knowing that your tenant has been alerted without having to send that message yourself.
7. Provide alternate ways to pay rent
Now and then there might be a need to settle a one-off shortfall of rent. The payment options like cash and credit or debit card (the later is available if you use PM systems like myRent), can offer an immediate settlement. Your tenants need to know that these options are available to them if they need to resolve a problem quickly.
Are Partial Rent Payments Considered Late Payments? Yes, because you have not received the full amount on time.
8. Enforce your rent collection policy
Communication is, of course, important when it comes to dealing with rent arrears. Finding out the reason for the late payment will help you understand and solve the problem. If the tenants simply forget to pay, you can send them reminders. If they have an issue with budgeting, you can offer to change the rent due date to coincide with their payday. You need to be fair.
But you also need to be effective. That is the reason why we talk about setting expectations of non-payment of rent at the start of the tenancy. For your rent collection process to be effective, you need to enforce it.
To ensure regular, timely rent payments, keep your collection policies firm and consistent.
Your tenant has a responsibility to pay rent on time, and you need something to ensure that this won't happen again. It is entirely up to you how strongly you enforce your arrears policy. But you need to be consistent about applying these rules and follow through on your promises. The better you're at it, the less likely your tenants will pay late.
Consider carefully to renew the lease with someone who you always have to chase for arrears.
Following these tips consistently and systematically should ensure that your tenants' rent is paid on-time more often. You will no doubt improve your processes with time, but this should give you a good foundation to start with and improve your ability to collect rent on time.