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  • Cannot connect with customer

    Advice, please. We have a customer who rents two units, payments timely with bank generated checks each month. All mail correspondence has been returned and a few months ago we received a text message to stop texting the phone number on file as it does not belong to this person. All is well until we had a rate increase last month and now her payments are short 20.00 leaving a balance due and adding late fees on the balance owed. It is her responsibility to keep current contact information on file and I'm not sure how much effort to put into searching her out to let her know that her units may go to auction at some point. And can they go to an auction if I've no way to contact her? Continue to take short payments with business as usual?

  • #2
    Of course you can auction a unit without a proper address. Just follow your states laws and send the proper notices the the address the tenant provided to you. I have people like this too. Usually they will get things fixed before a sale, but not always.

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    • #3
      Auction and lien steps as usual. You already said it is their responsibility to update you. Do not post their short payments as that means you ACCEPT their short payment. That is a no no. If they contact you because they have not seen a receipt of payment via email, then you lay down the law. I did not see you say anything about an alternate contact. I will not rent if the tenant will not supply an alternate contact.
      "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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      • #4
        I'll play devils advocate here. It's two units and only $10 each. I would consider cancelling the rate increase since you've got the money coming in every month, unless you're full and really aren't worried about losing the two units. You could over lock them so they are forced to come in the office and talk to you and inform them of the rate increase at that time and also snag their new contact info.
        A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

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        • #5
          Yeah, I see both sides. Keep collecting for the units without an increase or return the next payment to her bank letting them know it doesn't cover the new rates. I did call the bank who issues the check and they are not allowed to contact the customer which I find odd. On the last check there was a Texas address for the customer (we're in OR) so I sent a letter there with no response. And the alternate contact isn't returning our calls.
          Thank you for the feedback and I guess I'll have to pick which avenue soon.

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          • #6
            If you cave, you lose. Then it continues.
            "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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            • #7
              I would follow standard procedure. Keep the checks (don't deposit) to avoid any entanglement with accepting a lower payment and run the course of notices/lien/auction. I am only obligated to send email/mail to the address we have on file that the tenant gives us. If it bounces or gets returned, not my fault. Do an overlock to try to get them to contact you. If it fails and goes to auction and there is a deficiency on rent owed, apply the checks you received to the amount due and return the remainder to last known address. If they fail to cash the returned payment, send it to your State's unclaimed property office. That's how it works in Missouri....YMMV.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by LisaC View Post
                Advice, please. We have a customer who rents two units, payments timely with bank generated checks each month. All mail correspondence has been returned and a few months ago we received a text message to stop texting the phone number on file as it does not belong to this person. All is well until we had a rate increase last month and now her payments are short 20.00 leaving a balance due and adding late fees on the balance owed. It is her responsibility to keep current contact information on file and I'm not sure how much effort to put into searching her out to let her know that her units may go to auction at some point. And can they go to an auction if I've no way to contact her? Continue to take short payments with business as usual?
                I have a customer who does this every year. She is a missionary who spends 3/4 of the year in Russia. Her mail does not go to Russia of course, it goes to her parents here in the states. I will accept the payment but I enter it differently in the system so it does not affect her paid to date. Enter the difference as a credit first, apply the check, then debit the account the same amount you credited, so they will still have a balance, but they wont be overlocked or risk getting the auction notices. We do this only for this customer because we know the Why's and Where's of her story. Your tenant not contacting you is different though. Personally,I wouldn't refuse the payment simply because you raised the rent,I would just cancel the rent increase and continue to accept the money.

                (* I should add, when she comes back she always pays us the amount owing,so I know I can expect this payment from her.)
                Last edited by wc1974; 26th February 2020, 12:55 PM.
                You Laugh, I laugh. You cry, I cry. You take my coffee...may God have mercy on your soul....

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                • #9
                  All of this is very helpful information and greatly appreciated!

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                  • #10
                    I would continue to collect checks and overlock her unit. Even if it is overlocked for 3 or 4 months, you can always collect the $$ when she comes in. When they come in, tell them that they need to keep address current and if it happens again you will do the lien and auction.
                    "A Dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself".

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