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Zelle is one way landlords are making rent collection easier, more secure and faster for both themselves and their tenants. Most major banks participate in the Zelle network so if your tenant has a bank account it’s likely that they can pay easily and simply using Zelle.

In this article, we explore how to use Zelle for rent collection as well as outline some of the downsides and problems that can arise when using Zelle. Finally, because the purpose of using any software in your business is all about optimizing processes and saving time, we take a look at how you can use Landlord Studio property management software in tandem with Zelle for increased efficiency and accuracy for your rental property accounting.

* Update: You can now use Landlord Studio to collect rent online. Tenants can quickly and securely transfer the rent straight into their landlord’s bank account. It’s fast, it’s easy, and paired with other Landlord Studio features makes late rent payments a thing of the past.

Find out more about online rent collection with Landlord Studio →

How to use Zelle pay to collect rent

To use Zelle both parties need to have enrolled in their software. There are two ways this can be done. First, and preferably for this purpose, you will want to enroll through your banking institute. If your bank doesn’t support Zelle though you can download the Zelle app.

You can enroll by following these steps:

  1. View a full list of supported banks and credit unions. If your bank is supported you can find Zelle in your current banking app.
  2. Follow the instructions on the page to enroll and receive payments.
  3. If your bank or credit union is NOT listed, then download the Zelle app and enroll your Visa® or Mastercard® debit card.

For tenants to send rent through Zelle, they will also need to be enrolled with Zelle pay. As such it’s a good idea to stipulate this as your preferred method of rent payment in your lease. Once both parties are enrolled tenants can freely and easily send rent payments.

Online rent collection is faster, more secure, and generally easier for both landlords and tenants. Johan Hajji, who runs UpperKey, sums up nicely why online payments are generally better, “we’ve found the tenants often delayed or forgot to write a rent check on time each month, simply because of the process involved writing and mailing a check. Now, with the right software they can send payments with a few quick taps.”

However, not everyone is technologically savvy, so if you are going to collect rent online give your tenants detailed instructions on how to create their account with the relevant payment portal eg. Zelle if they’re to use Zelle, or Venmo if they’re to use Venmo.

It’s also a very good idea to recognize those individuals with certain disabilities that might hinder their ability to pay online. Elderly renters, for example, may need more assistance to be able to complete online rent payments.

Online rent collection should make it easier for everyone, it shouldn’t create new barriers for rent collection.

Downsides of Using Zelle for Rent Collection

There are a few downsides to using Zelle for rent collection. This is because it’s not designed specifically for rent collection or small businesses. As such it’s best practice to fully understand any potential problems that may arise.

A few issues you may come across include:

  1. If the tenant inputs your email address or phone number incorrectly it’s possible that the payment will either fail to go through or in the worst-case scenario could be sent to the wrong person.
  2. You can’t refuse to accept a payment. Meaning tenants can theoretically exploit this vulnerability to delay or derail eviction proceedings by sending partial payments.
  3. If your bank or credit union doesn’t support Zelle there is a daily spending limit of only $500. If you go over this you could have your account blocked without warning.
  4. There is no way to add and control late fees since the tenants control how much they pay.
  5. Tenants can only create recurring payments if Zelle is supported by both parties’ banking institutes, meaning you may need to continue to chase up tenants to avoid late rent payments.

Most issues when collecting rent with Zelle arise when Zelle isn’t supported by both parties’ banks. If both parties’ banks aren’t supported we suggest exploring alternative services.

Optimising Rent Collection with Zelle and Landlord Studio

As we mentioned above, with Zelle your tenants can set up recurring payments if, and only if, Zelle is offered by their bank. However, if their banking institute doesn’t offer Zelle, then they will need to connect their card to the app and remember to manually send the money through each month.

To ensure timely payments are made you can use the Landlord Studio software to create rent reminder emails to go out several days before the rent is due. These will automatically remind and then chase up your tenant should they not pay. We detail exactly how you can do this below.

One good thing about Zelle is real-time notifications. You can get notified via either email or SMS when a payment has been made. Then simply open your Landlord Studio app and reconcile the payment directly from your connected bank feed.

* Update: You can now use Landlord Studio to collect rent online and automate your income tracking.

Setting up Rent Reminders for Tenants on Mobile

Step 1: Open up the property/unit you wish to set tenant rent reminders for.

Step 2: Click on the pencil icon to the right (and down) of the log payment button to edit the current lease.

Step 3: Scroll down to the section labeled ‘Email Alerts’.

Step 4: Expand the Email Alerts section and set the number of days before the rent’s due, or after the rent is overdue for reminder emails to be sent out.

Setting up Tenant Rent Reminders on Desktop

Step 1. Navigate to the relevant property via the left-hand menu bar.

Step 2. Click on “edit lease”.

Step 3. Scroll down to the section labeled email alerts.

Step 4. Set the number of days you want an automated rent reminder email to be sent out before and after the rent is due.

Step 5. Hit save

Tenant Rent Reminder Notes

Note 1: You can edit the rent due and overdue email templates in settings.

Note 2: Our default setting is to CC landlords into all communications that go out to tenants, this can be edited in settings also.

View screenshots in our full help article for setting and managing reminders.

Collect RentRent Collection

Ben Luxon

Ben is the editor and lead writer for Landlord Studio. He has worked with real estate professionals all over the world and written educational articles on tech, real estate, and financial growth for sites such as Forbes, TechBullion, and Business Magazine.


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