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Are some landlords missing a trick on the smart way to collect the rent?

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During my time as a housing lawyer I’ve represented hundreds of social housing tenants in rent arrears with their landlord. Recently I was advising a client on the different ways they could pay the rent to their landlord. There are many different rent payment methods; from good old fashioned cash payments at the local landlord office, over the phone by debit or credit card, cheque (do people still have cheque books nowadays?) and online.

It came as a bit of a surprise to learn that tenants can now pay their rent via a mobile app using their smart phone. I guess that’s just the modern world we now live in. The phrase: “There’s probably an app for that” has never been more ‘app-t’ (sorry – couldn’t resist that one).

With that in mind I did a quick check on a number of different social landlords websites in the North West to see whether their tenants could pay rent by mobile app. The Riverside Group, Halton Housing Trust, Salix Homes, Golden Gates Housing Trust, City West Housing, Trafford Housing Trust, Your Housing Group all offer the ‘All Pay Ltd’ app for smart phone rent payments. The app is free for tenants to download.

Despite a good number advertising the mobile app service, I found it wasn’t available with an equally fair number of landlords. That got me thinking: are those landlords missing a trick when it comes to collecting rent?

I read a statistic somewhere that smart phone usage among adults has increased to 68% in 2014, from 62% in 2013. People use their smart phones for almost everything nowadays, from social media, surfing the web and watching TV. It’s so easy to pay using a mobile phone rather than picking up the phone to make a card payment or trudging down to the local office in the rain. I guess the simplest ideas are the best. It’s time for some landlords to move with the times.

By Mark Pimblett, housing law executive