In this day and and age, many businesses have embraced the benefits of going paperless. Paper costs money, can be difficult to keep organized, takes up extra space to store, and has a negative environmental impact. For many rental property owners however, the thought of converting to a paperless office in an industry surrounded by documents is daunting. For this reason, many turn to professional property managers like Martin Feinberg, who have the experience and resources to streamline operations in ways that require much less paper than would otherwise be necessary.
Going paperless, or at least cutting down on the amount of paper used or needed to take care of business, takes planning but is very doable. The best way to begin is to follow the suggestions below:
UTILIZE ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES FOR CONTRACTS
The Federal ESIGN Act declared electronic signature to be legally binding almost 20 years ago. However, property managers should check with their state’s regulations, and also consult with an attorney, to make sure that their personal documents qualify. Once everything has been proven to be legally binding, using and converting electronically signed documents into .pdf files not only eliminates the need for paper signatures, but printing and storing paper documents as well.
It wasn’t that many years ago that rental property management required extensive use of a fax machine to do business. Faxing documents used to be the easiest way to verify rental and employment information and also send sensitive data. Today though fax machines are practically obsolete. Many online word processing programs make it possible to create either a secure sharable link to a document or limit access to documents via a password. Communicating electronically and securely has never been more easy.
ONLINE WORK ORDERS AND REQUESTS
There are many online options for property managers that allow tenants to send a request or work order or otherwise communicate with their property managers online through portals. Tenant/manager relationships are too important to rely on a paper trail to get things done in a timely manner. Online alternatives make it much easier to respond quickly without the chance of papers getting lost or misplaced along the way.
ACCEPT ONLINE RENT PAYMENTS
Cash, checks, and money orders are all forms of paper and can be both risky and time consuming to handle. Letting tenants pay rent online is a more secure way to handle monetary transactions. It also creates a digital paper trail and reduces operating expenses. The easiest way to do this is to invest in professional property management software that has a merchant processing option.
Good property managers communicate with their tenants often, and that means a near-constant stream of notices, flyers, new move-in information, inspection details, emergency announcements, and more. Communicating online is a much more efficient, simple, and cost-effective way to disseminate information and stay connected.
REMEMBER IT’S ABOUT PROGRESS
It may not be possible for every property manager to go 100% paperless, but reducing the need for paper can still be the end goal. When paper is necessary, property managers can try to reduce, reuse, and recycle when possible. Little efforts towards becoming more efficient and environmentally friendly can go a long way.