South Africa

5 tips to help rental agents manage arrears in uncertain times

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This year, as with 2020, property rental agencies will have to continually adapt to stay afloat. 

Operating during COVID isn’t just about video meetings and virtual walk-throughs – it’s also about making sure back-office processes are efficient and preferably digital.

Here are five tips to help principals of estate agencies manage the transition:  

1. Be aware of tenants’ current arrears situation 

While arrears may have improved during 2021, many tenants are still further behind than before the pandemic. 

That being said, managing arrears shouldn’t take up too much of your time. It’s important to have a system that tells you which tenants are in arrears, without necessarily having to check with the bank. The system should automatically calculate the balance and send reminders to tenants to settle their accounts. 

2. Deal with arrears swiftly but kindly

It is just as important to keep track of any repayment terms agreed between the landlord and tenant, to avoid putting tenants under unnecessary pressure. 

Swift arrears chasing may produce swift results, but property has always been about people, hence the need for PropTech that allows you to put your clients’ needs first!

3. Stay front-of-mind with professionally branded invoices and statements

Agencies should take every opportunity to present a professional image of their company, and where better than on the invoices and statements that are sent out each month? 

Well-designed, officially branded client communications are far more likely to get attention than a boring accounting document. This process can be automated, thereby relieving the pressure on internal resources.  

4. Give your tenants a variety of payment options 

When collecting rental payments, it’s ideal to offer your tenants as many payment options as possible to settle their accounts. Examples of this might include paying in-store at many leading retailers, via instant EFT, debit order or traditional EFT payment. 

5. Vet future tenants

But before any of these processes is in place, your first priority is the vetting process of future tenants. How sure are you your prospective tenant will pay? 

The biggest challenge for rental agents this year will be finding good tenants – that is, those with acceptable credit scores, sufficient funds for a once-off damage deposit and sufficient monthly disposable income to pay the rent.

Protecting your clients

During continued uncertainty and isolation, agents must protect their rentals and ultimately their landlords’ source of recurring revenue. 

To make it easier on everyone, it is advisable to adopt rock-solid payment and arrears processes, all of which comes with a trusted payment provider. 

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