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NAA Student Housing Conference – What we Learned

Last week PayLease attended NAA’s Student Housing Conference in Las Vegas. The student housing population is no doubt the largest and fastest growing segment of renters, so it was a great conference to attend. With such a large portion of the rental market comprised of students, the multihousing industry should pay special attention to the wants and needs of this generation of renters.

One of the sessions at the conference that stood out to us was Collections Made Easy. This was an entire session dedicated to efficient online rent collection in the student housing market, a topic that should be a priority for every property manager.

This session gave some great insights about rent collection.  The speakers strongly emphasized that lowering debt is just as important as filling vacancies. The less your team has to spend on eviction processes and delinquent payment issues, the more time they can spend on filling vacancies. They recommended that from the moment the student or parent signs a lease, set expectations surrounding when and how to pay. And don’t bend the rules.  Also, make it easy for students to pay on time, every time.  Don’t just stop at informing residents and parents of due dates and penalties when they sign. Email reminders when rent is due. If rent has not been paid, call students and request to make an online payment over the phone.

The speakers at Collections Made Easy also had these tips to for making your rent collection process easier:

  • Have residents set up a recurring payment schedule the day a resident signs a lease
  • Enter every student that pays on time into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card
  • Drop off thank you notes with little candies to renters who paid on time
  • Pre-Payment discounts! – Offer 2-5% discount on rent if the resident can pay the entirety of their lease up front (a success with international students)

The bottom line is to get creative and stay on top of rent collection.  Generation Y is looking for the next easiest thing… you better stay on trend and up with the demand of this market

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