Texting tenants

46 Replies

I'm sure there are a dozen apps out there to send text to remind people that rent is due. Can anyone recommend one?

@Trevor Rutherford , hope you don't take this the wrong way, but, you really don't need an app for something like this. Just add all of your tenants into your contact list on your phone and then create a group with just those names in it. Once you are ready to send the text message on the reminder date, just text the message to the newly created group name instead of each individual. The message will be sent to all of them at the same time. Similiar to how you email a message to a group of people. Hope this helps.

@Trevor Rutherford  

A fair number of the payment services out there have included texting as part of their services.  The tenant gets email and text alerts at whatever time you want them to.  I'm guessing most are writing their own apps at this time as well.

Provided you put consent language in your lease agreements, there should be no issue. Without it, you can still face violations of the TCPA, 47 U.S.C. 227 et seq.. There's tons of caselaw on texting cases.

Regarding group texts, i have found that they don't always work right. If you send a text to the group, you may also expose yourself to revealing all your tenant's phone numbers to the group. Another thing that might happen is that someone responds that they are going to be late and the whole group gets the message. Worse yet, if you respond "okay" then all of your tenants will know that you are okay with rents being late. 

I personally have not found group texts to work well when you have everyone on different phones and different carriers. 

I know that there are ways to text from your computer and possibly even from Outlook. I've never gone the route of Outlook because i never needed it.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/cre...

Ultimately, I love your idea and I plan to steal it once I get tenants into my new properties!

Wendall De Guzman posted about using a mass texting tool in his post about the real life of a real estate investor see Wendall post.

Just a side note to ponder. You are training your tenants to depend on you for reminders. Can you charge late fees if one month you forget to send the reminder? While the reminders are effective, you need to consider automation so it's not on you or the tenants to collect rent. I use an ACH service which debits the tenant's accounts. They do all the communication with the tenants so it's totally hands off for me.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Are you going to charge a tenant a late fee if they don't receive your text? Spell it out in your lease.


Joe Gore

If your lease is clear and you are strict with your late policy, there is no need to text them to remind them of their rent payments. I have never sent a text to any of my tenants reminding them to pay rent... The only time I would consider doing so is reminding them that rent is late on the 4th and the late fees are now kicking in and again after day 10 that the eviction process will begin... Good Luck!

@Mitchell L. Sounds like you are quite lenient. My late fee kicks in after the 1st, ($25) $5 a day there after. Eviction process starts on the 5th. Some people always come up with the, "I forgot it was on the table," excuse. Well, if you would've remember'd. Then you could've save'd yourself the late fee. This is the reminder, I don't have time for excuses.

Good point @Trevor Rutherford but I do a $50 late fee on the 4th-6th and $100 on the 7-9th and 3day notice on the 10th... Keeping the fingers crossed by I get the rent before 1st every month so I haven't had to enforce the late fees but I agree with you!!

@Bill S. What ACH service do you use and what does it cost? If the money is not in their account, what late fee and eviction procedure do you use?

Standard practice in the medical field is to remind patients of their appointments. Standard practice in the legal field is not to remind clients of their appointments, to expect clients to be responsible enough to show and to charge for a no show. Standard practice in the landlord field is not to remind tenants of the rent due date (after all it is the same every month!) but rather to contact tenants as soon as they miss the due date.

Establish incentives for tenants to pay on time, have expectations clearly stated in the rental agreement, and follow through with enforcement. I encourage tenants to set up auto pay if they can and allow for various means for paying rent. Don't waste your time with this. It is tenant's responsibility to follow the terms of the rental agreement, which includes paying rent on time in the proper manner.

Originally posted by @Michael T. :
Provided you put consent language in your lease agreements, there should be no issue. Without it, you can still face violations of the TCPA, 47 U.S.C. 227 et seq.. There's tons of caselaw on texting cases.

Agreed. I absolutely cannot stand when doctor/dentist offices take it upon themselves to add me to their automated text message systems.

I wouldn't suggest texting them as i think i looks unprofessional.

@Chris K.

How does one execute a TCPA, 47 U.S.C. 227 complaint if they are put on a call fire list?

I would say a more professional reminder could be an email, a letter, or even a phone call. Also, what i would do to prevent late rent turn-ins is to charge late fees and enforce them. If people realize that they will have to pay an extra 50 dollars even if it is only a day late, then they will make sure to turn it in on time.

Originally posted by @Trevor Rutherford :
@Chris K.

How does one execute a TCPA, 47 U.S.C. 227 complaint if they are put on a call fire list?

By contacting a lawyer

@Kenneth Huddleston I think people ignore phone calls more than they do texts. And there is no guarantee that they will be checking their email.

@Chris K. I guess if they really want to put forth the effort and spend the money on an attorney.

Originally posted by @Trevor Rutherford :
@Chris K. I guess if they really want to put forth the effort and spend the money on an attorney.

Gotcha! So stealing change from the tip jar is ok too cause hey....who's going to waste their time going to court over some change right??

I don't see why you wouldn't just get their permission to opt into your text reminders as opposed to taking it upon yourself to do it. As others have stated here it definitely comes off as unprofessional.

Texting is great. It is especially great when you need to pick up cash or checks. I don't see it as unprofessional at all. You simply need to write full sentences, and do not use slang/abbreviations. If you do, that IS unprofessional.

The text string usually goes like this:

Me: Hi John. What time works for you today?

John (tenant): 10:00 should be good

Me: Okay. I will stop by then. Thanks.

Done...

I agree with @Bill S. l would not "train" my tenants to depend on me like this plus the fact that some states have laws on the books. Oh and on the group text option- can't someone easily reply on the group text thread and now you have all of your tenants texting each other etc... not sure I like that option either!

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