Rent checks late or disappears for 2.5 months. Alternatives please

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Landlord here just received a rental money order 12 days late... an 2.5 months ago another tenant sent check that just got returned to tenants - stamped as not deliverable. They sent pic and it has the correct address and I can clearly see the stamp etc. 

The mail is failing me. Is there any other delivery methods? I have considered getting an account that they can deposit directly into but I am afraid of what someone could do to that. There is Paypal, but they charge. 

Any ideas?
edit: forgot - 4 months ago rent from another tenant was ripped open and the check was hanging out the bottom of envelope. Probably the machine ripped it.
Plus none of these people have been late in the past.

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I give my tenants deposit slips and they just mail or drop payments off at my bank. This has worked well for me for 5 years more.

tightpapa said:    Is there any other delivery methods? I have considered getting an account that they can deposit directly into but I am afraid of what someone could do to that.
  Ask the bank to flag it as deposit only. I got mail issues the last six months as well. i'm considering rolling it up and letting every tenant deposit to my bank

You don't necessarily need deposit slips, your acct number will work


What did your postal carrier say when you asked them about delivery issues?

Is your postal address properly formatted? https://tools.usps.com/go/ZipLookupAction_input
 

JavaCoder said:   https://cozy.co/for-renters/pay-rent-online
Precisely

DeGlass said:   What did your postal carrier say when you asked them about delivery issues?

Is your postal address properly formatted? https://tools.usps.com/go/ZipLookupAction_input

  Yes it is. 
In 1987 someone showed up at my home and wanted to rent a house from me and pleaded and would not go away for over an hour. But after running a check I found out they could not pay rent. So i got a PO Box. And the process has been working until recently. I start off by giving them 6 months of pre addressed envelopes. And they are addressed correctly. (Tenent sent a picture on the one that was returned to sender as undeliverable after 2.5 months)


 

rufflesinc said:   
tightpapa said:    Is there any other delivery methods? I have considered getting an account that they can deposit directly into but I am afraid of what someone could do to that.
  Ask the bank to flag it as deposit only. I got mail issues the last six months as well. i'm considering rolling it up and letting every tenant deposit to my bank

You don't necessarily need deposit slips, your acct number will work

  Are you concerned what they could do with your account number. I have had some renters try strange things, although that was the exception.
 

DeGlass said:   What did your postal carrier say when you asked them about delivery issues?

Is your postal address properly formatted? https://tools.usps.com/go/ZipLookupAction_input

  I am going to ask Monday. But I would guess that there is not a good explanation! (To my satisfaction)

JavaCoder said:   https://cozy.co/for-renters/pay-rent-online
  Did a little research on them and it appears they don't charge. And sounds to good to be true? How do they make money?


protomenace said:   https://cozy.co/blog/how-does-cozy-make-money/
  Looks really. Good.

I have been using Cozy for a few months and everything has been fine so far. They do allow credit card payments which I do not like because of the potential for chargebacks.

We've been self-managing 3 different rental properties for several years now and we put in our lease that electronic-funds transfer is a requirement of the lease. We also make certain that we have a verbal understanding that short of first-months rent + deposit, EFT will be in place. We also mandate 700+ credit score, and do quite a bit of other screening, so maybe our renter market is not representative, but most banks offer a service like Paypal as part of the banking service. The one I know of is called Popmoney. I know that Citi, Wells Fargo and at least some small credit unions even include Popmoney as a free service. There are limitations on daily spend (and beware that Fri, Sat, Sunday is a single business day) so if for example, your tenant's rent is $1500 and their daily max is $1000, and rent is due on the first, I recommend that $1000 be paid on the 20th (so it posts around the 24-5th) and then the additional $500 be scheduled for the 23rd or 24th so that a weekend could never cause the 2nd payment to get cancelled.

Anyone else simply make EFT a lease requirement? "requirement" may not hold up in court, but having it in the lease since day one with all of our tenants has created a no-misunderstanding environment from day one and has never precluded us from gaining a solid prospect.

OP, I don't use my cell phone for much but the basics, deliberately (for safety and privacy),
so I have not tried depositing a check into my bank account by taking a photo of it and sending it by cell phone (within the bank's app or however that works),
so I apologize if I am mistaken in understanding how it works --

but would it be possible to do it like so:

1. your tenants write you out a paper check (the kind that they have been sending to your PO Box)

2. they take a photo of the filled-out check on their phone

3. they text or email you the photo of the check

4. you use your bank's app to deposit this check into your account by using the tenant's photo of the check

5. they either mail you the paper check (if it is necessary for you to keep the paper trail) but now without worrying that the $ is going to be late going into your account, or they destroy the check because its job has been done

Would that work?

=======
If that would not work, 
I am pretty sure that there have been Finance threads on this topic in the past - you might look up some keywords and see if there are any other good ideas that were described earlier, in addition to what folks have suggested here.

oppidum said:   OP, I don't use my cell phone for much but the basics, deliberately (for safety and privacy),
so I have not tried depositing a check into my bank account by taking a photo of it and sending it by cell phone (within the bank's app or however that works),
so I apologize if I am mistaken in understanding how it works --

but would it be possible to do it like so:

1. your tenants write you out a paper check (the kind that they have been sending to your PO Box)

2. they take a photo of the filled-out check on their phone

3. they text or email you the photo of the check

4. you use your bank's app to deposit this check into your account by using the tenant's photo of the check

5. they either mail you the paper check (if it is necessary for you to keep the paper trail) but now without worrying that the $ is going to be late going into your account, or they destroy the check because its job has been done

Would that work?

=======
If that would not work, 
I am pretty sure that there have been Finance threads on this topic in the past - you might look up some keywords and see if there are any other good ideas that were described earlier, in addition to what folks have suggested here.

  There are still plenty of people that don't have smart phones.

tightpapa said:   
JavaCoder said:   https://cozy.co/for-renters/pay-rent-online
  Did a little research on them and it appears they don't charge. And sounds to good to be true? How do they make money?

  Had the same question because they look good, at least on the surface. And by "look good" I mean that they do a lot of things that need doing, and things that a number of Property Management companies do - more or less. I looked them up:

http://news.theregistrysf.com/cozy-raises-8-45m-series-b-funding... 

They do charge for some things on the renter side, although virtually everything on the landlord side looks free. The question is: Is it enough to make them a long-term viable commercial entity?


Pay Rent Online
Set up recurring payments, and pay with your roommates. Use your checking account free, or pay by card for a small 2.75% fee.
Free by ACH transfer

2.75% fee with a
debit or credit card
Cozy Renter Profile
Your reusable online application – perhaps the last one you’ll ever need.
Free
Cozy Credit Reports
The credit report that you run, share, and control who sees.
$24.99 per request
Cozy Background Checks
State and County criminal and eviction search.
$24.99 per request
Full Screening Report
Combined credit report, score, and background check.
$39.99 per request

 

Ally uses PopMoney also. I have a bunch of Ally savings accounts. Sender gets no info but email address, which YOU link to the account. Tell them it takes up to 3 days and they must pay early enough to arrive by due date.

tightpapa said:   
rufflesinc said:   
tightpapa said:    Is there any other delivery methods? I have considered getting an account that they can deposit directly into but I am afraid of what someone could do to that.
  Ask the bank to flag it as deposit only. I got mail issues the last six months as well. i'm considering rolling it up and letting every tenant deposit to my bank

You don't necessarily need deposit slips, your acct number will work

  Are you concerned what they could do with your account number. I have had some renters try strange things, although that was the exception.

  not really. Every bank I've tried withdraw from asks for ID. It's also a dedicated account with no other transactions other than withdraws by me.

Although bank is still not 100% reliable. I had a tenant make deposit and send me deposit slip but not show up in my account. Seems they credited to wrong account but they corrected same day I called. So you still have to keep track but easier than usps mail

As a renter they use https://www.rentpayment.com/pay/login.html
I never had an Issue paying through them

oppidum said:   OP, I don't use my cell phone for much but the basics, deliberately (for safety and privacy),
so I have not tried depositing a check into my bank account by taking a photo of it and sending it by cell phone (within the bank's app or however that works),
so I apologize if I am mistaken in understanding how it works --

but would it be possible to do it like so:

1. your tenants write you out a paper check (the kind that they have been sending to your PO Box)

2. they take a photo of the filled-out check on their phone

3. they text or email you the photo of the check

4. you use your bank's app to deposit this check into your account by using the tenant's photo of the check

5. they either mail you the paper check (if it is necessary for you to keep the paper trail) but now without worrying that the $ is going to be late going into your account, or they destroy the check because its job has been done

Would that work?

=======
If that would not work, 
I am pretty sure that there have been Finance threads on this topic in the past - you might look up some keywords and see if there are any other good ideas that were described earlier, in addition to what folks have suggested here.

  Ever heard of Photoshop and bounced checks?

Rentalutions.com is another option similar to Cozy.

Bitcoins......

Or forever stamps.

tightpapa said:   
rufflesinc said:   
tightpapa said:    Is there any other delivery methods? I have considered getting an account that they can deposit directly into but I am afraid of what someone could do to that.
  Ask the bank to flag it as deposit only. I got mail issues the last six months as well. i'm considering rolling it up and letting every tenant deposit to my bank

You don't necessarily need deposit slips, your acct number will work

  Are you concerned what they could do with your account number. I have had some renters try strange things, although that was the exception.

  Set up a specific account for rent collection, and as deposits post transfer the money to a private account.  It might get overly complex, but you could even do so for each tenant so there's no question about who to attribute with any funny business in a given account.  But either way, if you keep the balance at zero, aside from some tangent hassle there is minimal if any risk.

Does anyone know how soon after deposit the funds are available when using Cozy and similar companies? I don't want to be giving 3 day notice to tenants that pay good.

Glitch99 said:   
  It might get overly complex, but you could even do so for each tenant so there's no question about who to attribute with any funny business in a given account.  

  any suggestions for banks that are flexible with this?

My landlords have either done venmo or done direct deposit into their bank account

We have a bank account where they do ACH via Chase.

If you think a bank account is risky, create a new account for "rent" deposits only.
Also you can ask the bank to not allow withdrawals, but only internal transfers from the that rent account to your main account.

I think that generally accepted "industry standard" is 5 business days minimum.  In my lease addendum I include the following:

'...Tenant agrees to establish a recurring EFT rent-payment to be received by the Landlord no-later than the 1st of each month as a direct-deposit to the account information stated on the EFT section of this form below. Bank processing time for any of issuing, mailing and/or processing/receiving payment is not an acceptable reason for receipt of late-payment.'

I ask tenants to schedule the bank payment on or around the 22nd to the 24th of the month.  With that said:  I've never gotten push back and usually see that payment post to my bank on or around the 29th.  

I'm realizing as I'm writing this though that the achilles heel of my approach is that I'm supplying my Bank name, routing-number and account number to tenants in order to do this.   For that reason, I should probably look at Cozy for future tenants as well.

DeGlass said:   oppidum said:   OP, I don't use my cell phone for much but the basics, deliberately (for safety and privacy),
so I have not tried depositing a check into my bank account by taking a photo of it and sending it by cell phone (within the bank's app or however that works),
so I apologize if I am mistaken in understanding how it works --

but would it be possible to do it like so:

1. your tenants write you out a paper check (the kind that they have been sending to your PO Box)

2. they take a photo of the filled-out check on their phone

3. they text or email you the photo of the check

4. you use your bank's app to deposit this check into your account by using the tenant's photo of the check

5. they either mail you the paper check (if it is necessary for you to keep the paper trail) but now without worrying that the $ is going to be late going into your account, or they destroy the check because its job has been done

Would that work?

=======
If that would not work, 
I am pretty sure that there have been Finance threads on this topic in the past - you might look up some keywords and see if there are any other good ideas that were described earlier, in addition to what folks have suggested here.

  Ever heard of Photoshop and bounced checks?


I think the risk of that is no higher than the tenant failing to pay in any other way.

If they are bouncing checks then they don't have the money. If they don't have the money you won't get paid no matter the payment method. Worst case is a delay until you are told the check bounced.

As far as I'm concerned a bounced check that is not immediately fixed gets an eviction notice.

One of my property managers uses AppFolio, which provides several options for the tenants to pay, via ACH, credit card, etc. Tenant pays fees if applicable.

A PM I recently fired was accepting rent via Paypal, and absorbing the fees himself. That is one expensive way to do it.

One of my other PM's has a Chase account, so I get the funds via Chase QuickPay, which now deposits the money instantly.

If your tenant does not have Chase, PopMoney is free for several banks and credit unions, but there is a 3 business day waiting period for the deposit to go through. I have a tenant who was making deposits into my Chase account for years, but much like the "it's in the mail" excuse, she often had to work late and not make it to the bank on time, so I checked on her credit union's website, and they were part of the Popmoney network. So she now sends payment that way, and I've effectively eliminated her excuses. I don't even care about the three day lag, and she can do it on her phone, so no more excuses!

I take it the tenants have a bank account?, don't all banks now have free online-transfer and bill pay.
I have received rent using BOA to BOA transfer, they are instant and free.
Used free billpay where recipient is not in the system and they mail a check, when lost in the mail I have prof I tried to pay on time.

My tenants' rent is deposited into my bank account directly via ACH and deposit in branch. I set up the account specifically for rent.

My renters just go to my bank branch and deposit directly into my account before the 5th. It's easier that way

On the day rent s due you will get an email that the payment has begun for the tenant i.e. the ach transfer has begun.  Then about 5 days after that you will get a message that the monies are depositing.  It then deposits the next day or shortly thereafter.  I have only used this service for two months but that has been my experience so far,

If they have Venmo, you could use Venmo. Or Paypal payment for "friends and family" where there is no fee as long as it's coming from their bank account rather than a credit card.

If you 2 are using the same bank, just use the bank app to do a transfer and put Rent in comment area.

protomenace said:   https://cozy.co/blog/how-does-cozy-make-money/
  
I use Cozy.co for a few tenants and never had a problem. I usually get the money around the 8th or 9th though.

ArmchairArchitect said:   Paypal payment for "friends and family" where there is no fee as long as it's coming from their bank account rather than a credit card.
  
THIS

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He is right.



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