Even when times are 'good,' we find that DIY landlords often struggle with the dynamics of collecting rent. If you're in charge of handling your own day-to-day property management (Orlando rentals) during COVID-19, you've probably already experienced that your renters have varying ability right now to pay their rent.
The Orlando market is unique nationwide in that it relies heavily on industries that have been most impacted by the novel Coronavirus. This makes finding solutions for collecting rent during a time of hardship even more challenging for DIY investors and property owners. While the outlook is hopeful when it comes to plans for returning to business as usual, you need to have an approach for addressing the present when it comes to your rental properties.
Prior to the impact of social distancing on everyday life, you probably relied on traditional means of collecting rent if you happen to be a property owner with less than ten properties. You can probably see the difficulties of upholding your leasing agreements now more than ever as plans to reopen the Orlando economy are up in the air.
Even with businesses set to reopen in the future, it's likely that many of your renters will be on shaky footing during this time as we begin to regroup as a community. Ensuring that you have a clearly-outlined approach to how you intend to collect rent now and in the future will give your residents an idea about what to expect—and it will set you apart from your competition.
Here are some tips for property management Orlando rentals should be using as we begin taking the first steps towards a post-COVID-19 future.
Aim for a Digital Solution
We already mentioned the difficulty of managing your rental units in person in an age of social distancing. One of the first goals when providing property management Orlando rentals deserve as a DIY property owner is to go digital.
While it can take some time to get set up and navigate the methodology behind online payments, these systems can be very useful for automatic rent collection that protects you and your renters. Limiting face-to-face interaction not only benefits you as a property owner now, but it sets you up for the future. Modern renters prefer—and in some cases, expect—online means of paying their rent. While check writing isn't an extinct form of payment, it is certainly on its way out with your future residents.
When property owners can prepare for the future, address the present, and provide options that increase the satisfaction of their renters, we consider that a win-win at Verandah Properties.
Adopt a 'No Cash' Policy
No matter what system you transition to when it comes to rental payments, it's a wise move to avoid relying on cash. Not only does it become harder to track, proving that someone did or didn't pay becomes a risk many DIY property owners can't afford.
Making it clear that you don't accept cash allows you to create and manage a clear 'paper trail' when providing the kind of property management Orlando rentals demand. It can be tempting when a tenant comes to you with cash to make an exception and just write a receipt. Just know that it's a slippery slope that some 'Professional Tenants' will take advantage of.
Use Consistency in Grace Periods and Late Fees
While being a compassionate landlord is important, including being flexible with things like payment grace periods and any late fees, you must be consistent with your application—or risk litigation. It's easy for property owners to find themselves caught up in the unique needs of each resident and expose themselves to discrimination claims or a public blasting on social media.
- Spell out your approach to fees and grace periods clearly in your lease from the start, and be sure that you go over these terms together with your tenants when they are moving in.
- The last thing property owners need right now is to cause confusion for your renters about when the grace period for rent ended, and when late fees begin.
- Creating situations where your renters talk to each other and discover that you make exceptions for some of them, but not others can damage your income and your reputation.
- Being consistent protects both you and your residents!
Professional Management Makes It Simple
Many landlords find that the expertise of a property manager can make providing the kind of property management Orlando rentals call for stress-free! Whether it's collecting rent or managing maintenance, a property management partner takes on these tasks for you so that you can focus on what matters most.
When you work with the right property manager in Orlando, you'll gain access to easy-to-use online portals and other tech-driven solutions for rent collection from day one. Additionally, given that these payment structures have been in place for some time, your property management partner will already have a defined approach for how to handle late or missing payments.
When it comes to property management Orlando rentals need, collecting rent can be one of the more frustrating and opaque aspects. However, with Verandah Properties on your side, you'll never have to face the challenge of rent collection solo! If you're interested in how we serve Central Florida landlords, learn more about our commitment to excellence by getting in touch with us.