Landlords have a litany of responsibilities. From rent collection and tenant screening to maintenance repairs and bookkeeping, landlords really are jacks of all trades. In order to run a successful rental business, all of these processes must run smoothly and efficiently. Unfortunately, sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day.
The good news is that landlords have access to affordable technology designed to make your job — and life — easier. Property management software and other assistive technologies enable landlords to automate many of their responsibilities, freeing up time to focus on other important tasks. Below, we go over 6 ways to automate your landlord responsibilities.
Landlord Responsibilities – Automate Rent Collection
Rent payments are likely the primary source of income for your real estate business. As such, it is crucial that you streamline your rent collection process, making it a well-oiled machine. It’s simply a fact that offline rent collection introduces more work for you and your tenants. When a tenant pays through traditional paper methods, you have to count and recount their cash, write out handwritten receipts, make trips to the bank to deposit checks, and track them down if they forget to pay.
With property management software and other online rent collection methods, none of this is a concern. Tenants can typically choose between paying via credit/debit card and ACH payments, depending on the collection method. They can then set their payments to recurring, meaning they don’t have to remember to pay each month. Payments will automatically deposit into your account, resulting in fewer trips to the bank and less work on your part. It truly is a win-win for tenants and landlords.
Automate Tenant Screening
The rental application process can be long and costly. Once you find interested renters, you have to set up multiple meetings for showings, lease signing, and more. Once it’s all said and done, your vacancy period can extend to weeks and months. Landlords must minimize turnover by any way possible — and automating tenant screening certainly helps.
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The best property management software platforms offer automated tenant screening that includes credit checks, criminal history checks, and prior-eviction checks. Once a tenant applies and fills out the necessary information, you’ll receive screening reports instantaneously so that you can quickly decide whether to move forward with a renter or rule them out. Waiting days or weeks for screening reports unnecessarily draws out vacancy times even further.
Automate Late Fees
Unfortunately, managing rental properties means that sometimes you have to be the bad guy. Enforcing late fees is among a landlord’s most unpleasant tasks, but it’s a necessary evil. With offline rent collection, landlords are often forced to have uncomfortable conversations with tenants about late fees. They explain their extenuating circumstances, and you explain that you can’t afford tenants who don’t pay on time.
The good news is that now you don’t have to be the bad guy. Property management software enables landlords to customize the rates and grace periods for late fees so that they align with the terms of your leases. The fees will automatically apply to the tenant’s account, which they can pay alongside their rent. The best management platforms also allow you to block tenants from making any future rent payments until all of their previous late fees are settled. This keeps you in control and protects you if you decide to move forward with the eviction process.
Automate Maintenance Requests
If you handle all of your maintenance requests through texts, calls, and emails, you’re likely to run into a few problems. For one, landlords managing more than a few units will be flooded with constant requests in multiple places. Not only is this overwhelming, but it also increases the chances of you missing requests because you didn’t know where to look for them. When you don’t respond to maintenance requests, you run the risk of damaging your tenant-landlord relationships as well as furthering the damages to your property.
With all of that said, it should be clear that streamlining maintenance requests is a must. Most rental management platforms provide portals dedicated to maintenance requests. Here, tenants can not only submit their requests, but they can also include description, pictures, and videos of the problem. You and your maintenance team can then monitor this portal and track the progress of all your maintenance requests in one consolidated location.
Doing your bookkeeping manually takes too much time and leaves too much room for human error. When you collect rent online through property management software, all of your financial transactions are automatically documented for you. This means rent payments, late fees, and any other payments from tenants are tracked and organized without any work from you. Most property management platforms also allow landlords to export their records so that you can effortlessly share them as needed.
Managing rental properties demands nearly constant communication between tenants and landlords. From pushing tenants to renew their leases to reminding them that rent is almost due, landlords send a lot of repetitive emails. Automating communication with tenants is a simple way to free up some of your valuable time.
Begin Automating Your Landlord Responsibilities
With property management software, landlords are able to customize email reminders to send out automatically at key times. With this streamlined communication, you will decrease late payments, minimize unnecessary inquiries, and maximize your team’s productivity.
As you well know, landlords juggle many responsibilities. They manage maintenance work, customer service, legal issues, marketing plans, and more. Many of your tasks operate on a monthly cycle, revolving around rent due dates. What’s great is that many of these recurring tasks can easily be automated, as we’ve just discussed. With affordable technology at your fingertips, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be maximizing your valuable time. Now’s the time to take the plunge and begin automating your responsibilities.