Booking that dream apartment is an important milestone, but you have to consider a lot of factors before the final signing. The most important of these is the issue of paying rent.
The initial security deposit, first and last month’s rent payment, and other apartment move-in fees also count – but most of these are just at the beginning of the lease agreement. The monthly rent will take out a large chunk out of a tenant’s gross income each month, so it needs careful consideration before renting an apartment.
Several Ways to Pay Rent on an Apartment
As a potential tenant, you need to ensure that the matter of rent payments is sorted before signing on the dotted line. Your potential property manager or apartment complex might already have a set of rules on the matter.
Know the Options
It helps to know the various options available for occupying a rental property. This way, you can be sure of having enough money to make the rent payments each year, saving embarrassment and possible late fees. It will also help to budget for the future, which can be a great help with rising costs everywhere.
How to Pay Rent for an Apartment
There are several solutions available for facilitating regular rent payments to your property owner or landlord. Whether you are a first-time apartment renter or not, knowing about these solutions can really help out.
You may also be wondering if you should rent a 1-bedroom apartment, have only a shared apartment, or live in studio apartments.
Wondering what the choices are and which ones are the most beneficial?
Let’s find out now!
1. Pay Rent Online
A large percentage of American renters are behind on their rent payments, but an online system helps to keep track of these issues. There might be different systems available. They usually entail the tenants putting in the required information and making the payment without having to go anywhere.
Online rent payment services also provide features such as reminders, notifications, warnings, and other automated nudges. Tenants might even be able to link their bank account to the service and send proof of a direct deposit once they make the payment.
Saves Time and Hassle
When landlords or property managers set up an online rent payment service, this shows that they are valuing the tenants’ time and peace of mind. There might be a small fee for such services, but that should not matter if the dealing is smooth.
2. In-Person Rent Payment
Some apartment communities have a landlord’s leasing office on-site or very near the main property. If you are considering such a place, you would probably appreciate the convenience. Not only should it be easy to submit the rental application, but you can also make your payments directly to the office. This may be in the form of a personal check, a money order, or even cash.
Method of Payment
The exact method of payment here will depend on the apartment management. However, this should not be the only means of rent collection. You might be traveling at times or busy with the holidays. Many apartment communities will have some sort of alternative, so make sure to ask your rental agency and the property management before committing.
3. A Mailed Check or Money Order
As a tenant, you can mail in a money order or check to your landlord. This could be a physical check or one generated through your bank’s services.
While this is a reliable and traditional method most of the time, it does make for a lot of frustration and delay at several points. The weather might not allow timely mail delivery or affect the operating hours of the post office. The same goes for the holiday season and many other factors.
Where Can You Get a Money Order?
You don’t necessarily have to visit the bank to get a money order. They are a fairly old means of payment, but this option might still be available at check-cashing stores, the USPS, convenience stores, large grocery stores, pharmacies, and payday loan stores.
If you do pay by money order, make sure that your name and the landlord’s name are both on the document.
4. Electronic Transfers
Automatic Clearing Housing (ACH) electronic transfers are the most common option here. Some banks may provide such services, however your landlord does need to coordinate the system with their own bank account as well.
If you do go for this process, keep in mind that it will require certain information and updates over the years. While the service itself is convenient, it can become problematic if the information is not regularly updated. Banks may also charge a high fee for such services, but it varies according to location and branch.
5. Online Money Transfer Services
There are several money transfer services that make it both easy and safe for tenants to pay their rent. These usually require just an email address shared from the recipient’s side. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular examples of such services:
This is quite a common method of transferring funds to and from various bank accounts. However, there are a few drawbacks to this service.
Zelle isn’t available for many business and some personal accounts. This means that while it may work for you, it may not work well for your landlords. You will have to ensure that the other party is willing and able to accept such payments before making this your default method.
This is another popular payment method performed through an app. However, its popularity is usually due to the ease in which friends can pay each other back for a shared meal or coffee at a restaurant.
Venmo might work for rent payments, if there is no other option, but it is far from the best method. That is because the service providers don’t offer protection against any kind of errors. In case you use an incorrect Venmo address, there is no way to get the money back unless the recipient is kind enough to send it back. Plus, there are transaction fees if you are using a business account.
Apple or Google Pay
These payment methods are yet another means of paying your rent online. They are convenient if you already use services from Apple or Google. However, your landlord might not be updated on either options or familiar with their interfaces.
Plus, Apple Pay requires an Apple device to accept any payments. If your landlord does not have an Apple device or is outsourcing their rent collection work, this could be a frustrating obstacle.
Electronic Invoice Platforms
Just a few examples of electronic invoice platforms are Square, Stripe, and PayPal. These electronic platforms have additional features, such as reminders for paying rent and tracking systems for the payment timings.
On the downside, though, there are some considerable transaction fees with these services. Since they can really add up, landlords may not want to go for such services.
There are also some delays when you use such invoice platforms. These could be up to three business days or even longer. The delays could cause issues in bookkeeping and cash flow on both sides.
A Bit More About Online Payment Platforms
These online payments are also called peer-to-peer or P2P payments. The means of payment is usually your bank account, credit card, or debit card.
When it is time to pay your landlord, you can simply enter their email address, mobile number, or other relevant information. Then, type in the required amount and transfer the funds. Debit card or credit card payments usually have an attached fee.
Why Might Online Payment Be the Best Option?
While these payment methods may not be the most ideal option, they do have undeniable advantages. The greatest of these is that there is no need to physically go to an office or bank to pay rent. You also do not have to go through the hassle of paying rent by mail, which could be subject to unpredictable delays.
6. Cashier’s Checks or Bank Drafts
These checks or bank drafts are physical paper payment forms that you can get from a relevant financial institution. This could be a bank or credit union, which will write the cashier’s checks and bank drafts and guarantee that the landlord will be able to cash them in.
Unlike a personal check, these cashier checks and bank drafts won’t bounce. They are written against the funds of the credit union, not the tenant. However, the tenants should have enough money in their bank account to cover the monthly rent. Only after withdrawing the amount does the bank write the cashier’s check. This way, there won’t be insufficient funds against the check.
7. Direct Deposit
A direct deposit is a method that allows you to electronically pay rent (or any other payment) directly into the other party’s bank account. This method differs from EMTs or email money transfers. The latter only requires an email address to send the money, while a direct deposit requires the sender to have the account number of the recipient.
While this is a viable payment method, it will only be an option if you and the landlord have established trust in your relationship. For a regular landlord-tenant connection, account numbers are usually not shared due to the risk factor of such personal information.
8. Certified Checks
Certified checks are issued by a financial institution. They are signed and stamped as proof of verification. They are a bit like cashier’s checks, but there is a difference.
Basically, the tenant will go to the bank and ask them to make a certified check for making the rent payment. The bank can then charge a small fee for making this check as part of their services. They will ascertain that the tenant really has enough funds in their account for paying the rent.
Good for Landlords
Unlike the cashier’s checks, the bank does not withdraw the funds in the tenant’s account here. It simply issues the check that has proof of the funds. This way, landlords will have more confidence that they will get their payment through this check.
Are Certified Checks Reliable?
These checks are more reliable and secure than regular personal checks. However, they are less secure than bank drafts, money orders, and cashier’s checks. Some banks will hold the required funds to make sure that the certified checks are cleared, so that makes the process more reliable.
Its Less Convenient
While this method might help you build a trust relationship with your landlord, it is not the most convenient option. To get the certified check, you will have to visit the bank’s branch in person. A monthly visit to the bank can get pretty inconvenient, especially around the holidays or when you are traveling.
Why Should You Go for Certified Checks?
Some landlords may require certified checks or something more secure for certain tenants. They might do this as part of their policy or due to the low credit score of a tenant. You may also have to provide proof of income when renting as a self-employed person.
When you enter an apartment lease agreement with a landlord or property manager, you usually have to go through a credit check. There should also be proof of annual income, evaluation of your credit score, and other aspects to consider.
Keep in mind that the lease agreement is a legal document, so you should be absolutely sure of being able to cover both rent and moving expenses. If this is your first time moving, it is worth knowing about the deductions from your security deposit.
The payment methods above may not be all the available options for your particular situation. Some might be easier and more secure than others. The convenience factor is also important. In some cases, your company might rent an apartment for your accommodation needs. No matter what you think your rent payment situation might be, always make sure of the details before signing anything.