Unfortunately some renters appear to view owing their landlord money as a cheap loan - a debt with 0% interest no matter how much is owed, but there is more that landlords and letting agents can do to cut rent arrears, according to PayProp.
The PropTech firm claims that effective use of communication and technology can help landlords and letting agents reduce their rent arrears, minimise voids, improve housing stability in the private rental sector and avoid having to go through the long-winded and costly repossession process.
“If rent arrears are kept under control during a tenancy, this is one way in which the number of repossessions and the time taken to reclaim a property could be kept to a minimum,” said Neil Cobbold, chief operating officer of PayProp UK.
Cobbold is advising landlords and agents to chase tenants on a regular basis if and when they fall into arrears, in order to establish what is causing the non-payment and, if necessary, work together to find a solution such as an affordable monthly payment plan.
When it comes to reminding tenants of the money they owe, automated SMS messages and emails are the most effective, according to the PropTech entrepreneur.
Cobbold continued: “Statistics show that around 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of receipt. Meanwhile, our data shows that 61% of tenants with outstanding payments settle or arrange a solution within 48 hours of being reminded.
“Automating this process reduces the letting agent's workload and ensures that no-one is forgotten or reminded when they shouldn’t be.
“Agents should no longer be sending letters to chase unpaid rent as it prolongs the process and letters are easier to ignore.”
The PayProp system allows agents to see the live arrears status of tenants and then proactively chase unpaid rent with automated reminders.
Managing the process in this way helps agents to keep on top of administration as they can see who they have reminded and when.
It is also hugely beneficial in providing agents with a full summary of the debt position of their tenants and therefore greater visibility of their overall business.
Cobbold added: “Our system provides landlords with owner statements which gives them all the information they need about payments and can help them with their annual tax returns,” Cobbold explains.
“On top of this, it helps agents to identify the highest-risk tenants to their clients by monitoring what has been paid, how much is owed and by what date. This process means agents can put measures in place for their landlords to reduce arrears likely to occur in the future.”