I was thinking today that it might be handy to have a lock box I could leave on site (locked onto a porch post or secured somehow) when I am showing an apartment for those that aren't able to scan and e mail applications on line. Has anyone done this and is there a product you would recommend?
I live about 10-15 minutes away from our properties, but running over there to wait around to meet a prospective tenant isn't always practical. I rent mainly to college students and not all of them have easy access to scan and e mail their applications. I have been using Intuit's Payment Network for application fees (also use this for rent) or they can pay in cash if I meet up with them, so I was thinking the lock box could also be used to collect the app fee. I would have them let me know when they drop something off so I can swing by at my convenience (and so I know which group of applicants has their stuff in first).
College students with no access to scan/email applications? Of any group, I would think they would have the most access. I guess "scanning" can be a bit outdated now though.
I have had applicants take photos of their applications with their smartphones and email them to me. Every college student has a smartphone now, right? I also have an online version of my application so no need to fill out anything on paper, it's all electronic. I would be worried about having a receptacle that holds cash. What happens when someone claims they put their money in, but you don't get it?
Checks only and if it is an open unit slip it under the door. If you want a box I suppose you could get a locking mailbox. Slot in it already. or use one of those boxes they put needles in... Maybe somebody makes a special product but I would guess it is expensive.
@Susan M. is right. I have had lots of people take a pic with their phone and email it to me.
You really should set up an online application. RocketLease.com is a good one. I used to use it and it works great. The applicant can even pay them directly, so you don't have to deal with collecting the fees. Then RocketLease runs the background check.
I use another system now, because it's part of the software I use. But, I really liked them when I used them.
@Kelly N. agree with Account Closed that the electronic lease is the way to go. If that's not possible for the resident (I have some properties where that wouldn't work) then your solution of the lockbox could work. I have a mail slot that works really well.
Thanks for your input everybody!
I didn't think of taking pics with smart phones, that sounds like a great option.
Slipping it under the door isn't really an option- the doors are sealed pretty well and they are also common entry doors. A current tenant or guest might take the application and check or the applicant might say it was taken. (I doubt any of my tenants would be an issue but you never know)
Do they electronically sign your online application Account Closed? When I contact current and past landlords, some of them ask for proof of application including the signature allowing them to release information.
I want to be there when the prospective tenant hands in the application and application fee (cash only). It is my chance to look over the application with the tenant, ask clarifying follow-up questions, check & copy photo ID. It is also a chance for the prospective applicant to ask me any follow-up questions. A lock box seems too vulnerable.... it would contain cash and there is too much personal information on an application, including the social security number.
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