Can I require online payment for rent collection

6 Replies

OK I have an issue with one of my tenants. I had excepted them conditionally based on them paying online via cozy to rent the property and they are now saying that it's not in the physical lease and they don't "trust" online payments. Can I legally require them to pay online or in my start excepting a money order from them and is there any ramifications that I can impose against them for failure to meet the conditions of Set forth.

Lesson learned for me already is I need to change my lease to mandate online payments going forward because I honestly don’t want to deal with collecting rent.  

 This is a C class property, if that makes any difference. Everybody seems to have a checking account and bank somewhere so it’s not like we’re dealing with individuals that  don’t have any means or ability to have a checking account.  

Thanks. Learning daily of the loopholes people will use.  Slowly closing those loopholes.  

First thing you need to do is check with your state landlord tenant regulations and confirm that landlords have the right to demand specific rent payment methods. If not it is up to your tenants.

Regardless in this situation if it is not in the lease you can not force them to pay as you desire. If you are allowed you put it in your lease when you renew if you are keeping them. Again some regulations do mot allow you to change lease language at renewal.

You need to study your stste codes.

You will severely narrow the pool of potential renters by forcing them to pay by one means only. Tenants in class "C" properties are less likely to have bank accounts than tenants in "A" and "B" properties. Some may even have less access to online technology. There are other ways you can set it up for tenants to pay rent and have it deposited into your account. "PayNearMe" comes to mind. May require a mobile phone. Most tenants do have mobile phones, even if they don't have a bank account.

Your post is a little confusing but ultimately you and the tenant are both bound by the terms of the lease so it's going to come down to what your lease says are the acceptable methods of payment.

For example, if you told the tenant that you prefer to collect rent via Cozy but then you both signed a lease that said rent could be paid via Cozy or check or money order, you aren’t going to be able to penalize them if they mail you a money order for payment of rent because they’re complying with the lease. 

As a business owner you should want to accept as many payment forms as possible. You want to make it easy for people to give you money, not make it harder for them to give you money. 

Your hands are probably tied in this case being that the lease has already been singed. Nevertheless, I agree with @Russell Brazil on the fact that you should accept as many payment types as possible to make sure you get paid and to not limit your pool of renters. 

What I have done that seems to work very well is promote the payment type you want to receive and  "penalize" the payment type you don't want to receive. For example, my online payment processing fee is only $1.50 while the payment processing fee for checks is $3.00 and cash is $5. I justify the added fee by the fact that I would need to send someone to the bank to deposit the checks/ cash so there are added costs for me to do so.