Landlording & Rental Properties

8 Reasons the Best Landlords Always E-Sign Rental Agreements

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties
26 Articles Written

Regardless of how tech-savvy you are, switching to e-signatures can be a daunting process. There is something about a physical signature on a piece of paper that seems more reassuring, more binding. However, landlords who make this technological change reap the benefits of electronic signatures.

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As with any innovative digital solution, people have reservations. When talking about the smooth running of your property management business, there is no room for mistakes. With this in mind, let’s look at why the best landlords always eSign (e-sign) rental agreements.

Why Landlords and Tenants Should eSign Rental Agreements

1. E-sign is legal

The biggest concern for landlords is knowing that eSigned documents are legal documents. The rental agreement contains both the landlord's and tenant's rights. Should anything go wrong, it is essential that the lease agreement holds up in court. So, for the rent contract to be legally binding, it must be signed by both parties.

Electronic documents with an eSignature are legal documents. The U.S. Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 (ESIGN) and the European Union eIDAS (EU No.910/2014) ensure that all electronic signatures and transmissions are legal. International laws make eSign legal in 188 countries.

Related: What’s the Best Way to Communicate With Tenants—Text, Email, or Phone?

2. E-sign is secure

Naturally, you will have a username and password for your eSign account, both of which are encrypted by the 256-bit SSL method. All personal data is also encrypted in the same format. Sessions are automatically closed after a certain period to stop other people from accessing your details.

3. Signers will save time

The most significant benefit to landlords of eSigning documents is that they save you time. Typically, the traditional method of signing leases involves sending emails, printing contracts, signing the documents, scanning them, and sending them back. An even more time-consuming process is having to meet with new tenants in person. With eSignature, you can send the lease online; tenants then have the time to review it, eSign it, and email it back. Just think how quickly the process will go.

Related: 10 Surprising Advantages of the Best Property Management Apps

Plus, eSigning documents is the perfect solution for long-distance landlords who need to arrange contracts and agreements without being there in person. Electronic signatures make this not only possible but also painless.

4. E-sign provides better document management

Before any rental agreement is signed, an authentic copy is created. What’s more, you have an accurate digital record of every transaction that is made.

5. E-sign is convenient for landlords and tenants

As long as you have an internet connection, you can access your lease agreements. There is no need to rush to the office and dig through files to find a contract. You can also download rental agreements to save them on your computer. If necessary, you can print them, but most landlords are happy with the digital copy.

One advantage of using rent collection apps is that many have features to process rental applications and eSign documents. This streamlines your rental business even more.

Related: Landlords: Always (Always, Always) Require Renters Insurance—Here’s Why

6. E-sign makes renewing leases simpler

As easy as it was to sign the original rental lease, any lease renewals can be handled with the same process, saving further time.

7. Landlords gain a better reputation

The new generation of renters, and even a large percentage of the older ones, are looking for online services to make their lives easier. E-sign is still a relatively new concept, so offering this service allows you to stand out from your competition. When tenants are happy, they are more inclined to leave positive reviews. Both of these actions lead to an increase in unit occupancy.

8. Landlords can save money and help the environment

Printing leases costs money. You must pay for paper, the wear and tear on printers or photocopies, and buy toner. And all these costs soon add up. A lease agreement online can be changed unlimited times without the need for reprinting. Another great benefit for your business reputation is that you will become “green”— people are more attracted to companies that actively help save the planet.

Related: The Definitive Guide To Tenant Screening

E-sign is the type of thing that will make you wonder how you survived without it. It’s fast, legal, valid, and straightforward. Aside from boosting your reputation and providing your business with a modern, professional look, landlords can streamline the rental agreement process.

How to Choose the Best E-Sign Platform

Below are some of the key features to look for in an eSign platform.

Security

As mentioned before, having a secure platform containing your personal details and your tenants’ details is essential. Look for websites with HTTPS instead of HTTP because these sites offer more protection. Data encryption (128- or 256-bit encryption) is also a must. If a property management app offers eSign features, it’s vital to ensure that it also meets the highest security standards.

Biometric phone authentication

While not essential, using biometrics to access accounts is a highly secure authentication method. It is also an attractive option for those who tend to forget passwords. Two-step verification is another safe way to protect your sensitive personal data.

Notifications

Email notifications allow you to keep on top of digital transactions in a timely manner. Notifications are also a useful security feature because you receive a warning if anything happens without your knowledge or permission.

Compatibility

Your eSign solution should be compatible with business solutions that are already in place. This will include multiple document formats like PDF, Word, Excel, etc. Today’s digital solutions are all about integrations. So your eSign platform should enable integration with the software you are using, such as Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox.

Cloud storage

It is possible to store all your lease agreements in a cloud-based solution. This cloud service must be secure and allow for two-factor authentication.

Related: 5 Tips for Collecting Security Deposits Smart Landlords Swear By

User-friendly

An e-sign platform that is not intuitive may lead to frustration on your behalf and the tenants’. The platform must be easy to navigate and use to avoid ending up with more work.

Templates and customization

Another excellent feature to have is templates for your rental leases. This will allow you to use pre-built agreements using the right language and vocabulary for the real estate industry. For an even more professional appearance, you should be able to customize your contracts to add your logo or other business details.

Accessibility

All these useful eSign features are great to have on your desktop. But it’s even better when you can access them from your mobile device. You will be able to create, send, and consult lease agreements at any time of the day from any location. When your tenants can do the same, everything starts to happen much quicker.

The Many Benefits of E-Signatures

E-signatures create valid and legal rental agreements in countries across the globe. Landlords who switch to eSigning documents choose an incredibly cost-effective solution to bring their rental business into the digital age. This streamlined process of running a successful rental business saves you time and is more convenient for tenants. Utilizing eSign services is also great for any landlord who wishes to boost their reputation, make their tenants happier, and increase their rental income.

Questions? Comments?

Join the discussion below.

Remen Okoruwa is the co-founder of RentDrop, a free software tool that helps landlords and property managers collect rent and maintain their units. Remen has a background in the software industry and business strategy, working as product manager at HubSpot and previously serving as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company.
    Stacie Smith Investor from Gilmer, Texas
    Replied 15 days ago
    Informative post! I look forward to your website!
    Travis Rogers Rental Property Investor from Eugene, OR
    Replied 15 days ago
    Thanks for the post Remen. What are your top suggestions for digital lease companies? Has anyone used Zillow? i'm in the middle of creating a lease today for a new tenant and am considering Zillow's platform, in the past I always used paper and am in the process of moving to digital.
    Benjamin Yeager Rental Property Investor from Honolulu, HI
    Replied 15 days ago
    Don’t forget about the culture of your business you establish with your tenants from day one... if they have to go out of the way to download DocuSign app onto their phone, it’s setting the tone from the outset that this is how things are done here. We sign documents online, we submit maintenance request and documents online, and most importantly we pay our rent online! Set the thermostat don’t take the temperature. Create the culture of your business.
    Falko Kloepper
    Replied 15 days ago
    Most of my leases have to be notarized due to the term. How do I handle that?
    Joleen Najjar
    Replied 14 days ago
    Do you have any site recommendations?
    Jessamyn Smith
    Replied 8 days ago
    It looks like his own company might be one. It says he's the cofounder of RentDrop.io
    Jessamyn Smith
    Replied 8 days ago
    This is a very comprehensive article on a unique subject. Thank you for writing!