FM Articles

Know Your Neighborhood – Timely Property Management Payments


Household renting is at its highest point for 50 years. The number of household heads who rent has more than doubled from 1965 to reach 43 million. One of the biggest hassles for landlords and property managers is ensuring that rent and fees are paid on time. However, with multiple tenant personalities it is essential to look at the various reasons payments are late, rather than just assuming the typical “check’s in the mail” excuse. In today’s market, there are many payment solutions and while it may be easy to offer a single option, this won’t meet the needs of a diverse range of residents and will leave potential revenue on the table.

Let’s take a look at four common tenant profiles, the different payment options they may prefer, and how these options can help landlords and property managers maximize timely payments.

Millennial Mandy
Apartment rental is still the dominant form of residence among millennials. The reasons behind Mandy deciding to rent range from more freedom, to being declined a mortgage, to trying to balance a costly avocado habit. Millennial Mandy has cut the cord with paper-based communications doing everything on her smartphone – on average millennials check their phones 150 times each day – and rarely uses postal mail. The likelihood Mandy has access to a check book is slim. Even if she finds the time to go through her postal correspondence, without an option for her to pay via a debit or credit card it will be tricky to get that payment.

So how do we relate to the millennial with regards to payments? With this generation relying more on personal devices than any other, it is essential to provide the right mobile options.

Recommended solutions for Millennial Mandy:

  • Online portal access to bill and payment options
  • Electronic bill presentment
  • Bill presentment and payments via Text

Forgetful Phil
This guy has a lot on his plate. He’s not just forgetting to pay his regular monthly payments, but he also forgets which day to put out his garbage and when to bring it back in, so often incurs fines – which he then forgets to pay. As landlord or property manager you can’t take his trash out on the right day for him, but there are things you can do to help him manage his payments.

Like many people Phil opens his mail after work when the collection office is shut, so is unable to make his payment then and there. He is only reminded again at the same time a week later when the collection office is again shut, so 24/7 options are key.

Recommended solutions for Forgetful Phil:

  • Instalment payments
  • Automated email/text reminders
  • Electronic bill presentment
  • 24/7 IVR payment

Long Gone Sally
As a strong independent woman Sally doesn’t follow the rules. She’s worked hard to be able to afford her 20ft yacht and if she wants to keep it on her driveway she will. When those fines drop through her mailbox there’s a high chance she’ll be out of town, be it for business or pleasure. A few months later Sally is promoted and moves across the country leaving behind her outstanding balance.

With Sally not often at home, access to a mailed statement will be limited and therefore it is essential for her to have options to make payments from anywhere.

Recommended solutions for Long Gone Sally:

  • IVR payment option
  • Online portal access to bill and payment options
  • Electronic bill presentment

Steady Eddie
Eddie is essentially your dream association member. He always pays his bills on time and never complains. This personality tends to be rare but also very desirable, so you’ll want to keep hold of them. Eddie likes structure, he knows he gets paid on the 15th of every month and wants a payment schedule that takes the money out on a date when he knows there will be money in his account. He doesn’t want the hassle of having to ring up and explain why a randomly dated payment got rejected.

In other words, Eddie wants as simple way to handle his payments and not end up in your bad books.

Recommended solutions for Steady Eddie:

  • Future dated and recurring payments
  • Instalment payments
  • Electronic bill payments

From Hassle to Harmony
These are just a few of the possible personality types that landlords and property managers meet every day as part of their collection process and will start to explain why you may be struggling to receive payments. In a consumer-driven world, it is essential to provide a suite of payment options that tenants find attractive and will encourage them to pay in a timely manner. Good payment partners will be able to provide you with a payment portal where you can select and switch the different payment solutions for your tenants and this way will greatly increase your revenue, and improve the customer experience for your tenants.

Dave Yohe is VP of Marketing at BillingTree.