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Matt Robinson
23-06-2011, 17:00 PM
Hi,

Having experienced the problem of paying and collecting rent myself I am currently developing a simple online tool to automate the collection of rent for landlords. I was wondering if this was a problem other people experienced? I would also love to hear what people think of the following proposition:

- Landlords request money from new tenants via easy to use website - sign-up in one click, create new rent bill stating how much to collect and how often in a second click
- Tenants receive an invite in their email with a link to the website where they can easily set-up a paperless direct debit agreement online
- Landlords are paid automatically on the agreed schedule
- Landlords can log-in to the website anytime to see an overview of existing payments, alter existing agreements or set-up new ones at the click of a button

I was wondering if this is something that you saw value in over existing options. And if it were to charge a %age on each transaction, how much would you be prepared to pay?

Thanks in advance for any responses!

Matt

jta
23-06-2011, 17:38 PM
I don't think landlords are going to be impressed with a rent collection service that adds yet more costs.

What if the tenants don't pay? Do you send the 'virtual' boys round?

Snorkerz
23-06-2011, 18:46 PM
Sorry, no one gets their hands on my rent money except me. I'm sure you would have some kind of insurance in place in case you went bust and took my rent money with you?

LesleyAnne
23-06-2011, 18:49 PM
I already use a simple to set up rent collection arrangement. You must try it - you simply give your tenant a pro-forma standing order mandate form (available from this website and other free online services), already completed with your account details, and ask them to please set up a payment on the required date into the account specified.

I can simply then login to to check rent has arrived on another free website - its called online banking!

Sorry for the sarcasm, but I'm with jta - why pay for something else when the facilities are already there, free, gratis and for nothing!

Matt Robinson
23-06-2011, 19:04 PM
Thanks for all the helpful responses so far, a couple of quick thoughts:

JTA - the tenants would be credit checked instantly when they sign-up online and then the money would be collected by Direct Debit i.e., automatically pulled from their account as agreed in the Direct Debit mandate. If landlords are using letting agents to collect the money then this would save a significant amount of money, if they are using standing order it would save time and guarantee payment.

Snorkz - that's interesting. How do you collect currently? Standing order, cheque, online banking etc? The tenant's money would be guaranteed by the Direct Debit guarantee and the landlord's would be guaranteed by the sponsor bank which provided the client money's account it was collected in. Would that still be a concern?

Lesley-Anne - completely understand your point. The value add of the service would be three-fold: 1) it guarantees that you will receive payment on the agreed date; 2) you can easily collect money for other costs or vary the rents without having to set-up a new order; 3) that you would save time having to check your online bank for individual transactions as you would receive email or text notification when you got paid.

Having seen all of this is this still not at all of interest? If so, please don't hold back as you will be saving me a lot of time.

Thanks again for all the feedback so far, if anyone else has any thoughts please do respond.

Matt

MrJohnnyB
23-06-2011, 19:23 PM
Thanks for all the helpful responses so far, a couple of quick thoughts:

Snorkz - that's interesting. How do you collect currently? Standing order, cheque, online banking etc? The tenant's money would be guaranteed by the Direct Debit guarantee and the landlord's would be guaranteed by the sponsor bank which provided the client money's account it was collected in. Would that still be a concern?


SO the Direct debit would link LL's bank account with T's bank account... As far as I am aware most personal bank accounts cannot be the beneficiary of a direct debit, which is why they have the direct debit guarantee.

Anyway the long and short of it is, if people couldnt be arsed to collect money themselves they'd use an agent, not some dubious website.

jta
23-06-2011, 19:31 PM
As far as I am aware most personal bank accounts cannot be the beneficiary of a direct debit,

Can you expand on that Johnny, I thought a DD could be made to any account.

MrJohnnyB
23-06-2011, 19:37 PM
Can you expand on that Johnny, I thought a DD could be made to any account.

I was given a load of guff by someone about having to have a service user number which requires sponsorship from banks and they only do that for companies apparently or similar. It may have been a useless person giving me advice but apparently as the payee can alter the amount withdrawn they require stricter requirements and authorisation than a standing order.

jta
23-06-2011, 19:40 PM
OK, I'm obviously confusing SO's with DD's.

Matt Robinson
23-06-2011, 19:42 PM
That's correct. Part of what I was hoping to do was give individual landlords access to these cool banking tools which give them more flexibility and control over payments. The problem, as Jonny mentioned, is that obviously there's an associated cost... I was thinking around 0.5% with a max cap per transaction of a few pounds, but from what I can hear that does not sound attractive to you guys.

MrJohnnyB
23-06-2011, 19:44 PM
That's correct. Part of what I was hoping to do was give individual landlords access to these cool banking tools which give them more flexibility and control over payments. The problem, as Jonny mentioned, is that obviously there's an associated cost... I was thinking around 0.5% with a max cap per transaction of a few pounds, but from what I can hear that does not sound attractive to you guys.

The issue is (dont get me wrong I dont want to discourage you!)... it still requires interaction which probably would take as much time as changing a date on a template. Most landlords who are in it for the long haul are very concious of costs and you really have to be. It's not as lucrative as everyone thinks!

LesleyAnne
23-06-2011, 19:53 PM
Regarding direct debits, if I was a tenant, I wouldn't want the LL to have any DD access to my account. I'd want to know exactly what was being taken and when, hence I would suspect SO would be a T's preference every time.

As for collecting "other payments" via the online system, again there would need to be control on both sides, to prevent LL taking what they wanted without T giving consent. We get many posts here about tenants quibbling over LL charges for all sorts of things. I can see LLs having DD access would be open to all sorts of abuse!

Matt Robinson
23-06-2011, 19:59 PM
T's would be sent a notification every time money was taken by automated email and/or text (whatever they prefer). You would also require express permissions for any variance of an existing order or the creation of new orders, this would mean T's would be sent an email or a text to which they could either click a button in the email or send a text to confirm. You raise an interesting point though.

MrJohnnyB
23-06-2011, 20:17 PM
T's would be sent a notification every time money was taken by automated email and/or text (whatever they prefer). You would also require express permissions for any variance of an existing order or the creation of new orders, this would mean T's would be sent an email or a text to which they could either click a button in the email or send a text to confirm. You raise an interesting point though.

This sounds more and more complex. Furthermore if T's have to agree to it, I cannot see any advantage in it, after all if they're dodge, they'll just press the no button surely?!

Matt Robinson
23-06-2011, 20:35 PM
That would be for a new order i.e., they would just have to click a button or send a text saying 'Yes' instead of having to print, fill in, sign and post a new standard order.

Once an order was made the money would be taken and the L would receive it on the agreed day without having to worry. The T would simply receive a notification every time a payment was made so that they knew what was going on.

Thanks by the way, I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me what you think. Out of interest how many properties do you rent? Is there a particular type of landlord you could see being attracted to a really simple automated online solution with a small %age fee?

45002
23-06-2011, 20:55 PM
Why use a 3rd party anyway,more cost to LL or T and worry,if 3rd party does a bunk LL/T dosh.

direct debit or standing orders from T account to LL account,sounds simple to me :(clap):

boletus
23-06-2011, 21:28 PM
Is there a particular type of landlord you could see being attracted to a really simple automated online solution with a small %age fee?

Yes, gullible and inexperienced ones.

Snorkerz
23-06-2011, 22:03 PM
Direct debits can not be paid into a bank account unless that account holder has the appropriate authority from the bank - which requires all sorts of guarantees etc. So, I presume the DD would go into TIDs bank account first and then be transferred into the LLs account - still an opportunity of MY cash to be in THEIR account when they go BUST!

Post #5 the direct debit guarantee does NOT guarantee the rent would be recieved - if the cash is not in the tenants account, it won't be paid - just like an SO. The direct debit guarantee is to protect the payer, not the payee.

Brb
24-06-2011, 07:52 AM
From a T's point of view there is no way I would want a third party involvement with the monies. You set up a SO with a date a few days before rent due day and ta-da it's done.

I would not want a DD drawn up neither. I sign a contract that for x months I shall be paying x pcm, there is no variation needed.

When I view properties and think I will take the one I'm viewing I do ask questions. If this was explained to me and they refused to accept SO I would walk and find a different property. I don't need complications in my life. I need confidence in knowing my rent is paid in full and on time with a minimum of fuss.

theartfullodger
24-06-2011, 14:22 PM
For someone alleged to have worked for McKinsey & an "Oxford" Graduate this disnae ring true... naive ??

mind the gap
24-06-2011, 17:34 PM
Other people's bright ideas for making money out of people by charging them silly amounts to make their lives horribly complicated, always fascinate me.

I'd want to discourage this! OP, nothing personal, but please get a proper job and earn an honest penny!

It reminds me of a scheme/scam I heard of on another forum whereby a company provides the facility for employees of other firms (who are often required to work abroad) to record bedtime stories digitally which can then be played to their children in the parent's absence.

Nice idea, huh?

Except that...you cannot read the child's favourite story, or even make one up yourself, which would be most children's first choices ("copyright problems, you see". Garbage). You have to choose from a limited range of anodyne, homeogenised narratives all written by...guess who? The service providers...who then charge your employers about £100 per employee for a 2 minute recording. Nice money if you can get it.

Much easier to record one of your choice yourself for nothing!

One we've all fallen for : school photographs @ £45 per pack (1 x A4, 2x A5, 4 x passport sized). Otherwise they get shredded. Oh no! They can't shred my child! I'll buy them!

Another one (which we actually fell for) : you get a letter saying that your child's poem was submitted by his teacher for a competition and it has won. The prize is that the poem will be published in an anthology of poetry by primary children from across the UK and they might just get to meet a famous author (unspecified). By this stage the kid is excited, so you agree. Somewhere in the small print you discover that parents of contributors are liable to pay a contribution of £25 towards publication. It sounds steep but what the hell, your kid will be in print. The book comes out (very amateurishly photcopied and spiral bound) and you discover that all the other poems are also by children in his primary school and they are all equally bad. The company is £2500 better off and you are left with a book of very bad poetry. The famous author, needless to say, fails to materialise.

Yet another variation on the old theme : the Emperor's New Clothes.

Snorkerz
26-06-2011, 19:31 PM
We have fallen for the school photos in the past - although the last lot we were expected to pay for got scanned and then the 'copyright' was photo-shopped out by Mrs S. See what I did there - it wasn't me your honour!

Also had the book - only last year. No fee, but the book was £17 for a thin softback, and who could resist buying one? I guess some families may have bought 3 or 4 copies - grannies, aunties etc. You'll never see the book even on Amazon but may find it in a 'remainder bin' for 50p.

Brb
26-06-2011, 20:13 PM
I have one year of my daughter's school photographs that I absolutely hate. Was 3 years ago and the picture is just awful :( I still felt a duty to buy the damned thing. The following (and equally bad) year I flat out refused to buy them and said as much via anon suggestions box in foyer of school. Following year, new photographer who has a new approach (and poses) and much happier to part with my cash now.

Vanity publishing is lucrative.