It’s been a challenging few months for landlords—but it’s been a challenging few months for tenants too. If you’re the owner of a Washington DC homes for rent, one of the best ways to keep your business afloat as we navigate these unprecedented waters is to make paying rent as easy for your tenants as possible. This is especially important as you consider how to address the payment-plan requirements set down by the DC Council over a month ago.
There are a few ways you can accomplish this, and it starts with acknowledging that your tenants likely face several roadblocks when it comes to paying rent. It’s not only the safety concerns and social distancing norms we’re all struggling to conform to: It’s also the fact that many of your tenants are likely out of work—or possibly just starting to work again. With this in mind, here’s how you can make paying rent as easy as possible for your tenants.
A word of caution: This blog post does not act as a substitute for legal counsel. When in doubt, consult with your trusted attorney or Renters Warehouse DC/NOVA for real-time assistance concerning your Washington rental homes!
Work With Your Renters as Much as Possible
Start from a place of empathy, and make it clear to your residents that you understand what they’re going through. At the same time, your tenants must also understand that your livelihood depends on revenue from your Washington DC homes for rent—and you will have to collect rent to stay above water. It can be a tough balance to reach.
- It’s in your best interest to avoid evictions and keep your reliable, long-term renters!
- If your tenants need help paying rent, work with them as much as possible through payment plans and by directing them to available resources.
- Decide on an arrangement that allows them to pay some of what they owe you now and make up the balance at a later time.
Do anything you can to avoid eviction—and above all, make paying rent simple and easy! Thankfully, there is a straightforward way to do this that also benefits you as the property owner.
Encourage Tenants to Make Online Payments
If you’re like most property owners in DC right now, you’ve probably been struggling with the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic since it began. Even if some of your tenants are returning to work, they’re likely to continue to have their own difficulties for some time. It makes sense to make paying rent as easy for your tenants as possible—and the best way to do that is to set up a platform through which they can make payments.
Online payments are more than sheer convenience: they also help your renters feel much safer during social distancing—especially those at risk. Online payment platforms eliminate the need to visit the bank or post office, handle cash, or interact in person. Plus, with most online platforms, auto-pay is an option! You and your tenants each get to enjoy a variety of benefits:
- Rent collection is safe and easy—with no need to handle cash or risk direct contact.
- Automatic payments are encouraged, making it easier for tenants to pay on time throughout the term of their lease.
- Rent reminders or alerts can be set up automatically, so you don’t have to be hands-on with this part of the process.
- Digital bookkeeping tools make it simple to keep track of who has paid rent, and how much is owed.
Waive Online Payment Fees
One thing that might make some tenants shy away from online payments is having to pay the extra fee that many platforms charge. Naturally, tenants who are already struggling might balk at having to pay another fee on top of their existing rent payment. You can encourage your tenants to pay online by waiving these fees—at least temporarily—for tenants who switch over to online payments.
Recent rental data we’ve studied (and common sense) suggests that waiving fees makes a big difference in getting tenants to switch over to online payments. Even if you end up having to absorb the fees yourself for a time, it’s a small price to pay for working with your renters to receive regular, on-time payments for your Washington DC homes for rent.
Your Property Management Makes a Difference
Working with a dedicated property management team is a great way to ease the burden of being a landlord in challenging times—especially challenging times that come with restrictions and guidelines.
Overseeing rent collection is a property manager’s job—one of many—and the right manager will offer a wide range of resources that make collecting rent easy. When you choose to work with Renters Warehouse, for example, you have access to:
- Easy online rent payment options that allow tenants to pay using virtually any form of payment.
- Quick and easy direct deposits that go straight to your bank account.
- Prompt and accurate monthly statements keep your records up to date.
- Lease enforcement and guidance on guidelines to keep renters from violating their lease.
The convenience and simplicity of online payments are exactly why we offer them as an option for the renters we work with in your Washington DC homes for rent! In most cases, hiring a property manager doesn’t cost that much more than setting up your own professional, online rent-collection platform.
When you add in all the other services a property management company provides—from rental price analysis and tenant screening to property maintenance and inspections—it’s more than worth it for most property owners. A great way to learn more about what we do to serve you as your Professional Landlord is to look through our free resources! Get started with our Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook.