International Rent Deposits

7 Replies

We have a fully furnished studio apartment near a university that we want to rent to academics. Many of these academics are coming from overseas. That means getting their initial deposit can be challenging if they don't have a US bank account. Is their an online payment service that accepts international payments?

Thanks!

Originally posted by @Carolyn Fuller :

We have a fully furnished studio apartment near a university that we want to rent to academics. Many of these academics are coming from overseas. That means getting their initial deposit can be challenging if they don't have a US bank account. Is their an online payment service that accepts international payments?

Thanks!

We have several rooms and units we rent to international students and post-doctorate fellows.    There are several ways these foreign candidates can pay their deposits to you - depending on where they are located.

One of the most universal, though most expensive for both the transferor and transferee is a wire transfer from their bank to yours.  This can also be a bit of a pain for the candidate as smaller U.S.A. banks do not play well on the world stage.  However, as long as you can provide them with an IBAN or SWIFT code for your bank and the necessary routing information for your branch and account, there should be little problem.

Another way which is easier and most often cheaper is to use Paypal - provided the candidate lives in a country where s/he has access to Paypal.

You can also use Western Union, but it has been the centre of so many international scams over the years that it may not be viewed as trustworthy by the candidate.

There are also several ForEx services on-line these days, some of which will wire money for far less than a bank.

I agree and can attest to the simplicity of paypal. Just be sure that they wire you the money with a significant amount of lead time to move in, as paypal allows the sender to request a return of funds up to 14 days (if I remember correctly) and paypal will actually pull the money back out of your bank and hold it in escrow until the "dispute is resolved". I learned that one the hard way. We still received the money in the end, but it became quite tedious.

Also - avoid nigerian princes...

@Carolyn Fuller

I think I understood that you plan to rent the apartment sight-unseen to the intended applicant? Its always best to at least meet the person and that they have viewed the apartment prior to renting. Pictures don't always do a place justice and a foreigner may just have different expectations about the meaning of words. For example, the words "fully furnished" and "spacious" have very different meanings in different countries. I would suggest that you simply wait until they arrive and then show the apartment and make arrangements for the transfer of funds once you fully screen the applicant and everyone has signed a lease.

One thing you can do is work with the local university that may refer students to you once they arrive especially if they have an international students office.

@Wendy Noble I agree that it is preferable to meet the tenant prior to renting to them but that is not always possible in this academic setting. We have experience with another rental that we manage through HomeAway. Although that rental is by the semester instead of by the year, it is still long enough to warrant meeting the prospective tenant when possible. But it just isn't possible all the time. 

One of our first applicants for this new studio is currently in Japan and is not going to be able to make a trip here before he arrives for a year's academic appointment. I'm not willing to turn him away just because I am unable to meet him in person.

Hi all,

Since posting this question 2 years ago, I have discovered Transferwise. My tenants who do not have US bank accounts have told me it is the cheapest option they have found for transferring money from aboard to the US and it does not cost me anything!