Casual Landlords, Properties and Tenants


In the Aspect Property Manager it is the property which is marked as being "Managed" or not.  Non-Managed properties are those where a landlord has asked you to find a tenant for their property after which your involvement ceases.  The properties and the associated landlord and tenant are often called casual managements, casual lets, casual landlords and so on.

The Aspect Property Manager makes virtually no distinction in the treatment of managed and casual properties.  This topic deals with the minor differences that do exist and operational considerations.  When creating a property record the default is to mark all properties as Managed, so "casual lets" need the box to be unticked.

For a casual let you still create a landlord, property and tenant as normal but you must uncheck the "Managed" flag on the property record.  When the tenant is created a vacate date is automatically inserted in their record.

A fee schedule called something like "No Fees and Casuals" with the Management Fee and Disbursement Fee set to zero should be set up which casual properties should have assigned.  

You may quite legitimately have a management landlord with one or more managed properties and also casual let properties for which he asks you just to supply the tenants.  In this case the casual let properties will have the "Managed" box unchecked and the "has managed Properties" box will still be checked on the Landlords screen.  There is no inconsistency as far as the system goes.

Items connected to a property with the managed flag "unset" are excluded from many reports.  On  some reports they may optionally be included and there are a few "casual let" only reports too. 

There is no distinction made regarding processing the money associated with a casual let.  You will collect the bond, letting fee and the first one or few weeks rent from the tenant in the normal fashion.  It gets split into its component parts and is paid out to the landlord, you and the GST man.  

Passing the casual bonds to the bond centre becomes integrated with management bonds.  The letting fees are just the same as a managed property's letting fees, the fees go to the letting fee control account and the GST portion to the GST control account.

The rent held in your trust account to the credit of the casual landlord is usually held until tenant's cheque has been cleared or according to your business policy.  Do this by entering a large number in the "Hold Amount" field when creating the landlord and only remove the value once the cheque is cleared.  Enter a Bring Up Note with a date a "week" after the receipt date as a reminder to check the cheque did clear then remove the Hold Amount if you want the system to generate the payment on the next Generate Payments run.

When the payment is made it may be by cheque, by direct deposit (as opposed to direct credit), or by electronic transfer into their account.  Making this payment is no different to making any payment to a landlord.  Some users pay their casual lets as part of their normal processing run which means there is no special payments required.

As with a normal landlord enter how you are to pay the casual landlord on the Payment Details screen.  If it is by direct credit enter the account number and payment details to identify your deposit on his bank statement.

If your policy is to pay casual landlords twice a month you could enter the "mid-month payment" number into the Interim Payments List field or even have a number kept specially for casual landlords.

See Payments Overview and Landlord Payments for details on paying landlords.

Handling Casual Letting Summary.
Numerous organisations don't put casual lets into their property management system and keep separate lists of available vacant properties.  This seems to me a doubling of effort and a watering down of information.  The Aspect Property Manager already has information on your vacant or soon to be vacant properties and possibly repeating casual lets.  Why not add the possible casual lets?  The same general landlord and property information still needs to be entered into something.

Using the Aspect Property Manager to hold casual let details saves keeping separate lists and automatically allows you to include/exclude them in the Property Search Properties to Rent handout report or the Web Page Creation results.

Create a separate portfolio called "Casual To Let" or similar.

Enter the landlord and property details into the system and assigning them to that portfolio.  You can now print a list of all available lets to use for reference or as a handout by printing either the Properties menu > Reports > Property Vacancy report, or results of using the Properties menu > Reports > Search.  Both reports can include or exclude non-managed properties and the Search report can be even more selective.

If you let the property simply change the assigned Portfolio Code from "Casual To Let" to the correct one and add the tenant details.  If it is let by another agent either delete the property and landlord or transfer the property to a "Let By Other Agents" portfolio to use as a prospecting tool.

The system makes no attempt to hold money in the trust account for 10 days as you may be used to with your sales trust account.  The requirement does not apply to rental trust accounts.  Thus it is up to you when you pay out a casual landlord.  If the total rent bond and letting fee was paid in cash you can pay out "today".  If a cheque makes up any part of the total, hold all funds until the cheque has ample time to be cleared, not just appear on your bank statement.  Give it time to bounce.  Cynical, aren't I.  Make use of the Notes function to remind you when to pay out.

For those of you who say "why doesn't the system hold cheque amounts until they have cleared?".  Well, we would if you can guarantee everyone will always enter their receipts correctly with the right values for cash and cheque all the time.  And shouldn't we then also hold back direct credits too?  Perhaps you see the problem there.