PayProp is highlighting the handiness of using text messages for tenant rent reminders and chasing late payments, as it can save letting agents time and resources.
They point out that text message communications also meet the needs of modern tenants, many of who prefer not to receive direct phone calls.
Why is SMS an effective communication method?
According to a report from Mobilesquared, over 99% of all text messages are read by the recipient – and approximately 90% are read within three minutes of delivery.
Neil Cobbold, chief sales officer at PayProp, says: “When it comes to chasing rent payments, it’s clear text messaging has become one of the most effective methods of communication.
“Traditionally, agents have used letters and phone calls to remind tenants about outstanding payments. However, letters are very easily ignored, while younger generations are less likely to speak on the phone.
“Even if tenants delete texts, they are highly likely to read them before they do so. Having the information pop up with urgency can encourage them into action.”
He adds that many renters now use mobile banking to pay their rent, either manually or by standing order.
SMS meets the needs of modern renters
Renters have also responded in recent research that SMS is their preferred method of communication. A survey by bill payment company PayPoint found that 57% of tenants were opposed to direct phone calls, with 62% preferring to receive texts instead.
Cobbold says: “It’s important that agents take the preferences of renters into account. If rent is overdue, tenants are more likely to act if the agent reaches out using their preferred method of communication.”
According to PayProp’s recent report on the effects of COVID-19 on the UK lettings sector, 91% of tenants who received an e-mail or text message arrears reminder from the platform in August 2020 paid some or all of their debt within seven days.
Cobbold continues: “A record of text messages can further be kept and used as evidence further down the line if required.
“Of course, in the most serious cases, a phone call or in-person meeting may be needed. However, in the first instance, text messaging is an effective way of sending rent reminders.”
SMS can also save time and increase efficiency
Cobbold concludes: “Automating rent reminders is a simple way for agents to recover rent owed without taking up too much valuable time. If landlords receive a higher proportion of outstanding rent, agents can preserve their management fees – it’s a win-win.
“This approach lets agents focus on more serious cases of arrears or non-payment of rent where text messaging has been ineffective.”