How to Collect Rent and Fees Completely Online

It’s undeniable that the advancement of technology within the past 5 years has not only significantly changed the multifamily industry, but will continue to shape resident acquisition and communication practices for years to come. Even the National Apartment Association can’t deny that the housing/technology opportunities are there. While some property management companies and independent rental owners continue to do offline, in-person rent and fee collections only, you might want to look into going online to keep your communities competitive.

We all know how much of a hassle it is to contact vendors, businesses or applicants on the phone or in-person. Personally, if I can’t reach the information I need online, I tend to push back contacting someone or avoid the task altogether, and I doubt I’m the only person who does this. As we showcased in our infograph, 90% of millennial renters (ages 18-34) and 84% of Gen X renters (ages 35-50) utilize online resources. As both generations consist of 85% of the renter population (and Gen Z has just begun entering the renter market), avoiding online processing is likely costing you rental applications.

So, now the question is: What collection processes can you migrate online?

Rental Applications, Background Screening, and Application Fees

You already know that we’re big supporters of online rental applications and tenant screening. In fact, we currently offer a solution that allows property managers to do both in one platform. While online rental applications aren’t the newest, most cutting-edge technology in the multifamily industry, incorporating this process can make the largest impact. Although I certainly don’t speak for all millennial renters, I can say that within my own leasing experience that any paperwork that can be filled out right on my cell phone and digitally signed gives the property bonus points.


Rental Payments and Management

Even if you’re managing only one property, you know that collecting rent (and any fees) can be a painstakingly long and tedious process. It takes time away from marketing vacancies, setting up showings, and making sure units are ready for move in. Depending on your property management software, processing resident bills and fees (and everyday management) can differ in difficulty level. To enable your team to dedicate more time to resident satisfaction and managing multiple communities, ideally, you should look into property management software that automatically posts rent and fees every month and allows residents to pay online. Of course, deciding to switch your software isn’t the easiest decision, but it’s one that can significantly streamline your community’s internal processes, and give your residents and applicants more options.


Debt Collections

Unfortunately, sometimes residents (or past residents) rack up quite a bit of debt. While finding a service that effectively deals with debt collections entirely online is pretty impossible, at the very least you can utilize services that enable you to file everything online and effectively get your money back. We recommend our friends at Rent Recovery Solutions, who specialize in multifamily rent collections and have made it their policy to recover funds respectfully. Without the hustler methods, your community’s reputation stays intact.

Make it a priority to give your community the benefits of modern-day multifamily technology. Whether you start with online rental applications or go big with your entire property management software, moving your internal and external processes online will immediately give you a competitive edge and make processing payments easier for your team. It’s not too late to start now.


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Becky Bower is the Content Strategist here at the CIC Blog. She holds a degree in English, with a focus in creative writing, from CSU Channel Islands. Her biggest weakness is cake and favorite superhero is Batman.

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