Collecting overdue rent is about as fun as having bamboo shoots shoved under your fingernails. Both managers of self storage facilities and the tenants in arrears usually dread it.
We will soon be entering the holiday season – when money is tight and tenants might have a hard time coming up with money to pay for their rental unit. What can you do as manager of a storage business to encourage tenants to pay on time?
One of the best things to do is to be very explicit up front with new renters. The saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is so true when it comes to getting renters to pay on time.
Before a renter ever signs the rental agreement, set clear expectations. Go through the agreement so that the prospective tenant knows the exact day that rent is due, if there is a late fee, and what will happen if rent isn’t paid. Don’t just plop the agreement down and say, “Sign here.”
Ask the prospective tenant if s/he understands everything in the contract. Ask if there are any questions. Taking time in the beginning sets a good foundation so the tenant knows exactly what you expect.
Have your prospective tenant fill out a ‘tenant information’ sheet. Get as much contact information as possible. Get the home phone number, work phone, and cell phone number. Get the home mailing address and an e-mail address. Also, make a copy of their photo ID.
Get the contact information for someone you could contact in the case of an emergency. In the event of a natural disaster (such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods) when power and phone lines could be down, this would be extremely helpful in trying to reach the tenant. Ultimately, you want this information (in the event that you cannot reach the tenant) as another method of contacting the tenant.
Two to three days before the rent is due, call renters to remind them that the rent will soon be due. Don’t call renters who have pre-paid several months in advance.
Don’t call those who have a good record of paying on time. Call those who have a problem paying on time and call new renters until you know whether or not they pay on time.
If you have a lot of renters to call, you might want to send a text message or e-mail message. You can write one message and send it out to multiple people at once which saves you time.
“Get the Upper Hand in Collection Challenges.” The Storage Facilitator. 23 October 2012.
“Steps for Collecting Late Rent Before Issuing an Eviction Notice.” Rocket Lawyer.
“How to Collect Late Rent Payment and How Much Late Rent Fees to Charge Tenants.” Propertyd.com.