Long before this year’s HomeLet Landlord Survey results came in; we’ve known that arrears are an issue in the UK rental market.
The survey informs us that over half (51.7%) of landlords had suffered a problem tenant, and more than two thirds of those problems were caused by late rent or by non-payment of rent.
We suspect things aren’t as bad in other industries and that, as an industry, we’ve become used to the admin burden that comes with managing inconsistent payments from tenants.
The real problem of course is that it can be difficult to distinguish between accidental late payment and the first signs that a tenant’s struggling to pay. For some letting agents this means spending hundreds of pounds on sending letters to tenants that have chosen not to set up a standing order but will always pay. For others, it means never getting to the bottom of that list of tenants to telephone and discovering that the last one was the one that really needed the call.
For landlords, late rent payments can mean serious cash flow problems, annoying admin or costly eviction.
Interestingly, most tenants are in fact good money managers, and setting up a payment schedule that suits them - i.e. collecting rent just after payday rather than just before, and providing useful reminders - can make the difference.
Launching in April, the PAID & CO platform enables letting agents to set up new tenancies with a Direct Debit rent collection service that’s tailored for rentals and includes everything possible to keep tenants paying on time, including:
- Direct Debit payment schedule set up on the day the tenant picks up their keys
- automatic text message reminders 3 days before rent ‘s due
- automatic attempt to collect the rent again if the tenant can’t pay on rent day
- …and then another try if that fails
- a ‘thank you’ sent to the tenant after a successful collection
- reports on the status of rent payments to credit reference agencies
Plus, all the data a letting agent needs to manage the exceptions that don’t pay after the above has been carried out.
The PAID & CO website includes an extensive list of the features and benefits the service includes. We think it offers private renters and landlords an opportunity to move away from cash, cheques and standing orders and into well controlled rent collection by Direct Debit.