How to Collect Rent from Residents | Advice for Champaign-Urbana Landlords


As straightforward as rent collection might sound, there’s a lot to consider. A landlord and a tenant sign a rental agreement in which the tenant promises to pay a specific amount of rent on the first day of each month. This area can cause tension between landlords and their residents, especially if the information is unclear or inconsistent.

As professional Champaign-Urbana property managers, we have automated and systematic rent collection policies in place. We know it can be both frustrating to chase down late rent and disruptive to your own financial planning. We have advice, and always recommend that you work with a local property management company if you have any problems with your tenants or your rental home.

Champaign-Urbana Property Management: Communicate Your Rent Collection Policy

Include your rent collection policy in the lease agreement, and discuss it verbally with your tenants before they sign the lease and collect the keys. You want to make sure everyone is on the same page and completely clear about their responsibilities and expectations. A good rent collection policy will include information about:

  • Rental amount
  • Due date and grace period, if applicable
  • Acceptable payment methods
  • Late fees and penalties

In Illinois, there’s a limit to the amount you can charge in late fees. They must be a flat fee of $20 or 20% of the rental amount. You can charge the greater amount, but no more than that. Make sure the lease reflects that late fee, and be sure you enforce it every time.

Providing Online Rental Payments

Most Champaign-Urbana property management companies will offer an online tenant portal allowing for online rental payments. This is extremely helpful in getting the rent in on time. Tenants appreciate the ease and convenience. Depending on the software, they can set up reminders or recurring payments. It’s better for them because they avoid late fees. It’s better for you because you have a lower risk of late rent payments.

Setting up an online platform can be difficult as an individual landlord. If you don’t have a local property management company that you’re working with, be creative with other ways for tenants to pay electronically. Perhaps utilizing an online platform like PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, or Zelle to collect rent seamlessly and at your tenant’s convenience.

Champaign-Urbana Property Management: Screen Tenants Thoroughly

Tenant screening can prove to be beneficial when collecting rent. When you have someone applying for your property, conduct a credit check, and look for outstanding debt owed to former landlords or apartment buildings. Even unpaid utility bills can raise a red flag that tells you this is a tenant who does not take housing bills very seriously.

Look for past evictions and check rental references. When you take the time to do a thorough tenant screening, you save yourself time during the lease period. You’ll rest easy knowing that you’re placing a tenant with a history of on-time rental payments in your rental property.

When looking for an experienced Champaign-Urbana property management company that can help get rent paid consistently and reliably every month, contact us at Ramshaw Real Estate. We can make a difference.