Making Your List and Checking It Twice – Is Your Arrears List Naughty or Nice?
Christmas is a season of giving. As Property Managers, what are we doing to ensure that our tenants are not shopping up a storm with their rent money? Are we considering the flow on effect to our landlords if our tenants think that the silly season means they can reshuffle their rental obligations?
Whilst this time of year can boost the economy, it can leave many people wondering where all the money went. It is our job to ensure it is not our landlords wondering whether their rental income has been misplaced at the bottom of a Christmas stocking under the tenants Christmas tree.
Prevention and preparation are your best allies leading into the silly season. Attached are some fuss free, light hearted ways to remind your tenants that falling behind in their rent is not okay. A general reminder may be sufficient to keep most tenants on track, however, if you have regular offenders or recent poor payers, something more specific might do the trick to get them back in check. Keep in mind if your landlord payment schedule has been amended for the festive season, it is important to prioritise your arrears follow up calls leaving enough time for tenant payments to arrive as cleared funds before the final disbursements of 2016.
Some options to combat arrears at this time to minimise our stress include:
- Running a marketing campaign in the build up to Christmas that aims to deter from tenants falling behind, to see some examples of Christmas arrears marketing campaigns click here.
- Offer a financial support and advice service through assistance with budgeting plans. Some company’s provide a flyer with budgeting advice, some will go so far as offering a financial planning helpline to call.
- Implement Rewards/Incentives to ensure all payments are on time:
- Running a competition for all who keep their rent up to date
- Offering movie tickets for all who are two weeks in advance over the period
- Providing special personal warnings to repeat offenders, almost to let them know that we’re going to be watching their arrears very closely over the period to make sure they stay on time.
- Some agencies even offer the tenants an option to pay extra throughout the year to help them get a bit ahead for these tighter times.
- Reminding tenants of importance of maintaining positive ledger, instead of threatening termination, let them know you want to help them maintain a positive rental ledger to assist with future rentals (and even mortgage repayments as these days some lenders are requesting this information)
- Utilise your blog, newsletters and social media to educate and share the message
Be sure to choose what works for your agency and your brand. Don’t forget to score some brownie points with the owners and let them know what you’re doing to ensure they don’t have missing payments over Christmas! What other ideas do you have for keeping your arrears low at Christmas time? Please share them below!
For our Real Plus members be sure to check out our Christmas Letter template on Real+ Online and stay tuned for more Christmas tips in our daily tips.