How do you guys collect your rent?

How do you guys collect the rent on property without having to go to the door and get it or without having them mail it to your personal home (knowing where you live)? I know you can use an outside company but that would cost almost as much as the profit is in the rent.

Get a PO Box and make them send it there. We base late fees off the postmark date of the payment. That way there is never an argument about when they sent the check or money order. If it’s postmarked by the 5th of the month, no problem. After that, they put in late fees. I don’t have the time to chase the rent and I’m definitely not telling our tenants where I live. If they want to find out bad enough, they will but I’m not making it easy for them. We send all our mail to the PO Box and don’t have a landline phone. That at least helps, but if you own your house in your own name it will be in public records.

Business checking accounts are free at Chase. I get one for each house I own. I throw the checks away but I order deposit cards instead of debit cards. A deposit card is like an ATM card with no Visa logo. It will only let you make deposits. The card won’t let them make transfers, check balances or make withdrawals. When I look at my business account online I give each account the “nickname” that is the house location so I know whose account it is. They make the deposit into any Chase ATM. I look at the account after the first of the month and you can see when the deposits are made. After they are all made and the balance goes to available status, I transfer the funds to my main account and them pay mortgages etc.

There are no excuses this way. If they take the family to Disney and realize that it is the third of the month and they forgot to mail the rent before they left, all they have to do is find a Chase branch in Orlando and pay the rent.

that is a great idea. I will use this too. kudos!!!

Cliff, great idea on the deposit cards. Now that banks are doing away with free checking, I wonder if this is still an option? I’ll have to call and see.

Cliff, do you know? Is your outstanding suggestion still a viable solution, or has it gone the same as fiscal conservatism in this country too? :wink: BTW, I’m in Houston too.

We accept cash, checks, VISA, MC, Discover, Am Express and Travelers’ Checks. We have a drop box in front of our office for people dropping off checks. Then we mail them a receipt.

Lots of tenants come in to our office monthly and pay. Others authorize us to run their credit card for half a months rent on their payday.

We rent to working middle-class and professional people. They know where I live! Each year we invite a few lonely travelers to share our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Last year it was a pharmacist from India, a retired farm couple from Nebraska, and a Canadian bachelor. Those are fun parties and they always bring good food along too.


I am currently renting out my house and we drive over to the property to get the rent. I will admit this is the worst and most painful way of collecting rent and yet everymonth we do it. We do use the oppertunity to check on the property and already have been able to step in on one occasion and fix a potentially disastrouse situation involving trash and the tenants storing it in the basement because they missed a few trash pickup days.

I hesitate to open a PO Box so they can mail the checks because of a prior experience where a tenant just kept saying they mailed the check then they said they mailed the money order and in the end we waited for almost a month until finally they just moved out.

I have seen online rent collection sites advertised. Seems straightforward and people are doing everything online anyway. Has anyone tried them? Any recommendations?

Sorry to go off course a little, but to answer your question we go to the door. It is terrible and every month I feel like some sort of evil person asking for rent at the door.

Our PO Box is on the other side of town from the majority of our rentals. The mail takes literally one day to get to us from our renters. Payment is due to be postmarked by the 5th of the month. So even if the 5th is a Sat, we should see payment by the 8th at the latest. Otherwise it’s late. The check in the mail excuse flies for a couple days…that’s it.
Most of our tenants don’t even have checking accts and only know how to use the internet to play free games.
You should not feel bad at all when you go to collect money (except for the fact you’re inconveniencing yourself so your tenant can make no effort to get the payment to you besides getting up off the couch)…they are paying for a service you’re providing. They owe you. What makes you the bad guy in this situation?

I dole out pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes for my tenants to send their rent. Saves time and excuses! They are sent to my PO Box. Easy, hassle free for my tenants and me.
Many of them pay with money orders and I remind them to save their receipt as proof of payment. If I don’t receive the rent and they can’t show a receipt, they have to replace the rent payment.

There has to be a better way than a PO Box. I just dont feel safe with the idea that the check/money order is in the mail excuse is readily available to the tenant. Mail really does get lost and either way they can stall for weeks.

I also think that the concept that they must produce a reciet of MO if lost is legally valid but in practice what are you really going to do? Start eviction? If so then you will just lose more valuable time with the check is lost excuse and then have to do an eviciton weeks later than you could have done.

I have only lived in one place where I had to pay rent and they had an onsite management office. So tenants paid on-site.

In this day I would think we would have some sort of rock solid, reliable and fast way to collect rent.

There are other options. There are online clearing houses that will take money from the tenant’s account and transfer it into yours. That’s assuming they have an account somewhere. Bluemoon (moderator on here) gives his tenants a deposit card so the tenants can deposit the money in an atm and have it show up in his acct. These cards are deposit only.
You could always have the tenants bring it to you, but I wouldn’t want tenants at my house.

My sister has rentals and she has lock boxes on site at each of her multi-family units, so the tenants can deposit their checks or money orders on the day rent is due. Sounds like an easy, fail-safe way, right?
But when one of her boxes was broken into and everything was stolen out of it, she realized nothing is fail-safe, unless you do direct deposit. My lower-income tenants don’t have checking accounts, so the money order option is easiest. And really, although I have 27 units, I rarely run into the “lost in the mail” excuse.

These are great ideas thanks!