Changing Tenant's Rental Payment Method

5 Replies

HELP! I've run into a rental payment issue. My tenant was previously depositing her rent ($1800/month) into my Pentagon Federal Credit Union account. When she signed a new lease starting 1 June, I wrote the requirement to deposit the $ into my new bank account at USAA into the lease, as I was converting all my primary accounts from PFCU to USAA. I did not realize she was taking cash to the actual PFCU account until she was unable to deposit cash at USAA (since she's not a member).

I offered to discuss alternate forms of payment, including wire transfer, etc (I'm 600 miles away so I can't ask her to come by my home with cash). Her response today was "depositing the cash into a physical location is best for me - the PFCU account works great."

I'm not sure the best way to proceed LEGALLY since she does not seem to understand that the PFCU account is no longer an option. If I keep the PFCU account open I'm getting charged $15.95/month since it is no longer receiving direct deposit. How would you proceed?

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What about charging her an extra $16/month as a processing fee? 

Does the direct deposit have to be payroll? If not, you can set up a deposit from one of your other accounts to that account that the tenant prefers to use. 

But you should look into not mixing the rental income with your W2 income in the same bank account ...

So is she now unpaid for June AND July?? If not, how did she pay?

I would have a talk with someone at USAA before I did anything else.  Sometimes the tellers just aren't aware of the procedure for having tenants deposit cash into a landlord's account.  This happened to us at a local bank.  We had to talk to the manager who then had to explain it to her tellers.  I don't see why your tenant has to be a member to deposit cash into YOUR account.  Maybe that's just a mix-up and you can resolve the issues that way.

If it turns out that USAA absolutely will not allow her to deposit cash into your account there then I would just tell her that I'm sorry, but the policy has changed.  Maybe she just doesn't understand that the old account is no longer an option. She signed the new lease agreeing to the new policy (I hope you pointed out the new policy to her with the new lease) and she's just going to have to follow the new rules. I don't think "legally"  you have to do anything other than enforce your lease. You're in charge here, not her.  If she doesn't pay according to the new policy then she will be unpaid and you will have to file eviction. I would hope she wouldn't push it that far.

There are several really good online payment systems.  Is she computer literate?  Does she have a checking account or debit card?  If so, online payments are really easy and once you get her over her fear of change she might really appreciate online payments. I use Intuit Payment Network but there are several that are really good for collecting rent. It's all about selling it to your tenants as a benefit to them (which I truly believe it is).

I am a USAA member and I can see how this would be problematic for non-members. There are plenty of banks that have free checking, certainly including in her town. This is just my opinion, but I think that if you are going to require a deposit into a bank account, rather than mailing you a check, you should try to make it reasonably convenient for the tenant. I use a bank that has 4 branches scattered throughout the city I have my rentals, so there is no reason a tenant cannot easily get to a bank (especially since they are near the rentals). If they do not want to go to the physical location, I use erentpayment, and they pay the $3 fee. That covers it both ways. 

Again, my opinion, but it seems unreasonable to select a bank that doesn't allow deposits into accounts by non-members. You wrote it into the lease that way, you should have verified that USAA would accept the deposits. I think you eat the 16 bucks considering you are renting a unit for almost 2 grand a month, or you find another bank to use. And then do something different at next lease. 

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