Cozy Rental Management

16 Replies

Hey all, I am buying my first fourplex and am trying to decide how I want to manage it. Has anyone here used Cozy? It seems like a great tool and a fantastic price. Any positive or negative feedback? Thanks!

I was just looking into easy online rental collection and cozy came up in my search. It actually indicates that it is free for landlords - at least for the basic package. Still reviewing the site now, but it looks kinda cool.

And of course, I should have realized that the biggerpockets team would already have a post on this very topic:

@Robert Whitelaw Account Closed I currently use Cozy for most of my managing tasks, collection rent, applications, maintenance request. I use Smartmove for screening because theirs is better. That said, the 5-7 day wait for the free version of ACH can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but as long as you don't need that months payment to make your mortgage it should be fine. 

I was considering moving to Tenant cloud with my next property, so you might want to check that out as well. Overall I like Cozy, and would recommend it to DIY landlords and small property managers. 

Account Closed I use Cozy for my rentals and I love it.  I self manage and its a great way to show tenants you are serious and they should be using tech like they do with the utilities, etc.  I can say things like "oh our billing vendor does this..." etc. 

The ACH payment is slow - I get paid on the 7th or 10th usually unless a tenant uses a credit card.  I just account for this timing and its live-able.  I also track all maintenance requests and expenses in the app.

I wish it had a spanish translation and more help for non tech-saavy renters.  I also wish it had some ways to send bills to tenants for one-off payments and fines.

@Gabe Hall @Donald S. That sounds good. I just would hate to get all my tenants on one program and decide to switch later. But it seems pretty tenant friendly as well. So you wouldn’t recommend Cozy’s screening documents? They seem pretty simple from their demo but they don’t seem very informative.

@Gabe Hall you should be able to send a bill to the tenants, just click the "add a bill" option in the payment screen. Not sure if it notifies the tenant of the bill, but it adds to their balance due. 

Account Closed I don't think cozy's screening is in depth enough and doesn't give me the information I want to see. Smartmove does a better job for the same price to the tenant. Just have to be clear with the tenant to fill out the background check etc on Smartmove, and then go to Cozy and fill out the application, and not to do the Cozy background. Causes a little confusion at first, but not enough for me to worry about. 

I manage all my rentals and just started offering cozy. I love it. I agree it takes maybe 5 to 7 days to get ach but you get an email saying it's coming and that's all I really need to know that the money is on it's way. The system is user friendly on both ends.

I do not recommend Cozy. The inherent flaw in Cozy's business model is that you cannot turn credit card payments off. If a tenant pays via credit card, they have a 90 day period to dispute the charge. For me, this resulted in a tenant going from fully paid, to behind 3 months in a single day. In this instance, Cozy will come after the landlord to collect the lost payments. This has resulted in 3 credit collection accounts being added to MY credit report. Cozy does not make this situation well known, and it is not discussed on this forum at all. I recommend utilizing a method for rent collection that does not allow for credit card payments.

From another reply by Cozy

Hi @Gabriel T. .

I’m sorry that your experiences with Cozy, and your recent tenant, weren’t positive. I'd like to shed some more light on the payment process because it can be confusing and riddled with regulations:

First, both credit card and ACH transactions can be disputed and reversed by a tenant's bank. Turning off credit card payments is unfortunately no protection from a tenant who chooses to lie and steal or make payments with funds that aren’t theirs.

Second, Cozy doesn't do anything specifically to "allow" a dispute – in fact, all financial transactions across industries are subject to the same fraud and dispute laws – so it's not unique to Cozy. On a macro level, it's important that people can dispute fraudulent payments, because fraud happens, so it's not an inherently bad thing that banks support a payer's ability to dispute a claim. It exists for a good reason.

Finally, if the bank decides to honor the tenant's dispute, we (Cozy) have to attempt to collect lost/disputed payments from a landlord because they are the merchant and the intended recipient of tenant's payments. If we didn't collect disputed payments from landlords, Cozy would be at a loss, and hugely vulnerable to fraud ourselves. We (Cozy) work with landlords and communicate clearly about our intention to collect funds from them prior to attempting to do so. We offer a number of options, including collecting a new payment from the tenant, before we get anywhere near sending the uncollected funds to a third-party for collections and reporting. Your comment misrepresents our process and makes it look like we "come after" people and ding their credit immediately and without warning. That's just not the case, and we strive to be exceedingly patient and constructive whenever a chargeback like this happens. There are multiple opportunities to remedy the issue, on both the tenant's and landlord's behalf.

Regardless of how a landlord chooses to collect rent, they could experience the same thing that happened to you. It's really horrible what happened to you, and I feel your pain. But for you and any landlord, this is a situation in which a strong legal lease agreement, and an understanding of your local small claims court system is the best defense.

Lucas Hall

Well I agree on one point. Two of the payment methods that cozy accepts are indeed some of the riskiest forms of payment that an investor can receive. Cash>Check>ACH>Credit card.

Credit card: Disputable up to 90 days by the click of a button with minimal verification relative to the other methods

ACH: Disputable up to 60 days by informing the bank in writing (and with a higher level of verification by the bank)

Check: Disputable up to 30 days after the customer’s bank statement is issued and requires the customer to prove fraud or identity theft

Cash: is king - however the chances of getting your tenants to send you cash every month is nil

The goal of any investment is to reduce risk (or be duly compensated for accepting additional risk). A simple change from credit card payments to ACH reduces the landlord’s exposure by 30 days, providing valuable time to go through the eviction process.

If you are a current Cozy customer and there is no way that you can go back to accepting checks, you should reach out to Cozy customer service and request that credit card payments be made optional. If, as Lucas Hall suggests, Cozy doesn’t receive revenue from accepting credit card payments, then there should be no reason Cozy doesn’t add this functionality.

Lucas, as illustrated above, the landlord’s choice of payment acceptance can have a profound impact on risk. Your last statement “Regardless of how a landlord chooses to collect rent, they could experience the same thing that happened to you” is blatantly false (but I can see why you would want people to believe that). 

We're all popping through the same threads here.  I'll quote my reply from that original thread where Lucas replied.

Credit cards are the easiest thing to dispute. They require little proof on the payor (tenant) and push everything onto the vendor (landlord) for proof that the transaction was valid. They also don't have to prove fraud, they only have to prove that they didn't get the services they paid for (claim that the unit was uninhabitable anyone). It's up to the landlord to prove that the tenant did get what they paid for. Other than a lease, what landlord can prove the tenant got what they paid for? Is there a receipt of goods, a signed acceptance of services, or that all was correct for the month? Nope, it's just an automated thing. Adding that credit cards provide 90 days to dispute a charge and you can see the HUGE issue with accepting them as payments. A tenant with a well timed claim can knock 4 months of rent out in one swoop. Picture rent payments via credit card on 1/5, 2/1, 3/1, and 4/1. A dispute files on 4/4 (89 days after 1/5) would be able to pull all those payments back and it's up to the landlord to prove they were valid...with only a signed lease.

Bank ACH is next, however, if the tenant initiated the transfer from their own bank via ACH they've got A LOT they have to go through. They're basically telling their bank that their account was compromised or there was fraud. Banks don't push onto the landlord for this. The burden of proof stays on the account holder to prove that the transaction was fraudulent, and banks make sure to cross their i's and dot their t's on these claims to figure out where that money went and if it was supposed to.

Checks - again, burden of proof falls to tenant to prove it was fraudulent. even smaller time frame to dispute than ACH.

Cash, well, cash is king.

As Gabriel mentions, allowing a landlord to choose to not accept credit cards is a very valid option. Instead of poo-pooing it you should look at the valid business reasons that it would be beneficial (to landlord's at least - maybe not so much to Cozy's business model)

I think cozy should do something to reduce this risks especially after some real cases from some landlords. Otherwise people would choose using other rental management tools.