I have been in the rental industry for over a decade and have used many rental management software platforms. Most of the property management software systems that I’ve used have had rent collection capabilities baked into the software, but very few actually offered rent collection apps in the most straightforward sense of the term.
In the most straightforward sense of the term, being a rent collection app indicates that the software actually offers a mobile app for rent collection.
Here’s what I mean…
Rent Collection Software vs Rent Collection Apps
Rent collection software is just that – it’s a software system (generally cloud-based) that has a payment processor built in where a landlord can bill the tenant, and the tenant can pay rent online.
Rent Collection Software
There are quite a few rent collection software platforms such as:
- Landlord Studio
- Rentec Direct
However, they’re not all made equal.
Rent Collection Apps
Out of all of those platforms, only a handful of rent collection software systems actually offer a mobile app on smartphones where both the landlord and their tenants can access their complete accounts.
That is becoming ever more important as the largest demographic of renters are increasingly those who not only want, but demand, mobile access and convenience for all things rentals.
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Here are the rent collection apps that actually offer mobile apps for landlords AND tenants:
- Rentec Direct
- Landlord Studio
Yardi Propertyware Avail Apartments.com Zillow TurboTenant RentDrop PayRent
And out of those actual rent collection apps, even fewer offer a mobile app for the landlord, tenant, property owner(s), and service provider/maintenance tech.
That’s an entirely different level of convenience that few rent collection apps have yet to achieve.
The only rent collection app that offers all of that is…
TenantCloud Rental Management App Overview
So, what is TenantCloud?
TenantCloud is the only rent collection app I’ve been able to identify that allows landlords to manage their entire daily rental routine entirely from a single mobile app while simultaneously allowing for all of the following (and more):
- TENANT: The tenant can e-sign and manage their lease and renewals, pay online rental payments (including autopay), submit maintenance requests, and communicate with their landlord and maintenance tech(s)/service provider(s).
- OWNER: The owner can e-sign owner agreements, view live accounting and reporting without bothering the property manager, see incoming maintenance requests, and pay owner contributions or receive distributions via the TenantCloud rent collection app.
- SERVICE PROVIDER: The third-party contractors can be assigned to a maintenance request by a property manager (or team member), update the property manager and tenant as the work progresses and even bill the property manager for the work when it’s done – and get paid via the TenantCloud mobile app as well.
- TEAM MEMBER: Team members can view assigned tasks, reminders and maintenance requests, update records on the go, complete move out charges in the app, refund deposits and more – that is assuming that the Property Manager has given the team members access to that level of control. Team members can be limited to only accessing certain properties and/or features based on their role in the company.
The Tenant Experience
The tenant experience on the TenantCloud rent collection app is pretty well-rounded and easy to use.
Prospective applicants can schedule tours, complete applications, e-sign leases and renewals, pay rent online (including scheduling auto-pay within the rent collection app), message the landlord via the built in messenger tool, view private notifications contained within the app, submit maintenance requests and more.
In fact, tenants who use the TenantCloud mobile app are able to communicate with the service provider (re: internal maintenance techs or contractors) that has been assigned to their open maintenance request.
The tenant also gets notified every time the status of their maintenance request changes from new > in-progress > completed (or “deferred”, for example, when waiting for a part to come in).
Of course, the landlord can control many of these settings. For instance, if they don’t want their tenants communicating directly with maintenance – that can be disabled. But it can be especially nice if you can eliminate the middleman and expedite the process.
The Owner Experience
Once the rent has been collected, you’ll also need a way to make sure that the rental income is distributed to the owners of the rental property.
Whether the rental properties are under your own LLC’s or someone else, you’ll need to track the flow of payments (e.g. property income, property expenses, etc) so that you don’t have a ton of work sorting out your rental property taxes at the end of the year.
The TenantCloud app automatically creates a Tax Prep report for your Schedule E reporting, 1099K’s, and in general it just does a great job of keeping all of your accounting sorted for you; it even includes a Quickbooks integration.
Management Fees, Rent Distributions and Contributions
The TenantCloud rent collection app lets you collect rent, charge management fees, and then send rental income distributions to the owners all through the mobile app. Owners will get notifications of incoming funds, and automatically route the money to their preferred bank account.
Owner Accounting and Reporting
Since rental owners typically want to know what’s happening with their money, the property manager can also choose to have a bunch of different reports available to the owner at any given time.
The ability for the owner to access their own reports prevents those last-minute owner requests for rent roll reports, owner statement reports, etc… You know, the ones where the property manager has to drop everything else and get the owner the accounting data they need for a refinance, property sale, board meeting, or any other number of reasons.
Maintenance Requests, Owner Agreements and more
Property managers can also opt to let owners view incoming maintenance requests, communicate with the owners via the built in messenger, bill the owner for owner contributions, send owner agreements and renewals for e-signature, and more.
The Service Provider Experience
Landlords who need to hire a third-party contractor (e.g. plumber, electrician, etc.) can use the TenantCloud rent collection app to connect with service providers throughout the United States – or, they can add their own providers if they already work with some.
The landlord can assign any property maintenance ticket to any service provider, or to an internal maintenance tech. The service provider (or maintenance tech) can then update the ticket they’re assigned to as it progresses while the property manager reviews and verifies it before it’s marked as completed.
The service provider can also bill the landlord for the work completed, and get paid for their completed work right through the TenantCloud mobile app.
The Team Member Experience
On TenantCloud, property managers can add team members such as internal maintenance techs, leasing agents, assistant managers, etc.
Each of the team members can have their own unique sets of permissions based on their role. For example, if it’s an in-house maintenance tech, they could be limited to just seeing and handling incoming maintenance requests, but nothing regarding accounting, invoicing, etc.
Each team member can also be restricted based on property. For example, if you have 50 properties in your portfolio, but you hire a leasing agent who only handles 20 of those properties, you can limit their account to only those 20 properties. They would not see, or interact with, the remaining 30 properties.
Beyond the individual permissions, team members can be assigned to tasks, maintenance tickets, and calendar reminders. The property manager has the ability to review the timeline history of each team member to see what has been created, deleted, edited, etc.
In all, the team admin tool on the TenantCloud rent collection app is pretty well-rounded and full of helpful features when managing properties that require a team effort.
The Property Manager Experience
The goal of a property manager (or rental property owner) is to maximize profit margins by reducing overhead costs, and improving bottom line revenue. One of the best ways to do that with a rental property is to use a rent collection app that automates a significant percentage of your daily routine.
For example, TenantCloud does that by automating:
- Online rent collection (e.g. automatic payment)
- Rental grace periods
- Rental late fees
- Rent reminders
- Auto-filling lease information
- Streamlined, secure communication
- Mass communication
- Rental fund allocation (tenant to designated bank accounts)
- Escrow deposits and tracking
- Schedule-E tax prep
If you want to find a tenant quickly, in just a few clicks the TenantCloud rent collection app lets you list rentals, syndicate them to multiple platforms (e.g. Apartments.com, Zillow, Realtor.com, etc), receive rental inquiries, text potential tenants, customize an online application and receive applications online, charge application fees, complete tenant screening requests, and send leases for e-signature.
When you move the tenant in, you can set automatic recurring rent payments, automate payment reminders, grace periods, late fees and much, much more.
Rent Collection App Recap
Surprisingly, most of the rent collection app software companies listed at the top of this article are substantially more expensive than TenantCloud – which I find interesting considering the significant advantages in capabilities offered through the TenantCloud rent collection software.
At the end of the day, if you own a rental housing property, you have to select the rent collection app that works best for your business operations. And if a stripped down, limited functionality app works for you – then you certainly have a wide swath of options in the world rental collection software.
If you want to scale your company anytime in the near future, and want to have the ability to manage things beyond just collecting rent, then TenantCloud may be your best option.