As we continue to grapple with our “new normal” during the COVID-19 outbreak, there are many areas of life where things that we once took for granted have now morphed into much more detailed processes. Take, for instance, stopping by the grocery store to pick up a loaf of bread and (hopefully) a few rolls of toilet paper. What used to be a quick 15-minute errand now requires donning a mask and a pair of protective gloves, and then showering off with a bottle of GermX afterward. Rental property owners may also need to make a few revisions in the way they collect rent from tenants, taking into consideration safety and social distancing requirements. Here are a few tips for making sure that both landlords and tenants remain out of harm’s way when making and receiving monthly rent payments:
1) Set up an online payment option. If you haven’t already done so, offering a way for tenants to pay their rent online can provide safety measures for both you and them. There are a number of online rent payment services available, such as RentRedi and Cozy. Other alternatives like PayPal could work, too.
2) Accept rent via credit card. Accepting rent via credit card is another option for virtually collecting payment. Going this route could also help tenants who are currently experiencing a cash crunch by “buying” them some before their card statement comes due, while also ensuring that you continue to receive incoming cash flow.
3) Work out a payment plan with tenants. Because so many people are struggling financially now, working out a payment plan with tenants could mean the difference between getting some amount of monthly income versus none. For example, paying half on the 15th of the month, and half on the last day could be easier for renters to do, at least in the near term.
In any case, making sure that you keep the lines of communication open with your tenants is critical. If your time could be better spent elsewhere, though, now could be a good time to bring a property manager on board.