Lease Templates

We recently updated SimpleRent to add a new feature called Lease Templates.  Not to be confused with our Document Templates (where you can create document templates for leases, forms, and letters), Lease Templates are designed to be used to save you time when you're creating and setting up new lease records in the system.

In other words, it's often time consuming (when you're new to SimpleRent or are adding lots of data) to repeatedly create lease records with multiple charges, fees, and settings, especially when your leases are often the same and share common characteristics. For example, many of our customers only have a couple of different lease configurations - a 'standard lease' that is comprised of rent, security deposit, and late fees, and maybe a 'custom lease' that might have additional fees such as utility fees, garage or parking rental, etc.

Lease Templates allow you to create 'templates' of common charges and settings and label them, creating a 'lease category' or type.  These types (templates) can then be re-used as starting points to quickly create leases & associated charges later.

To use this feature, create your first Lease Template, from the Leases menu/toolbar item:

Click "Lease Templates" and the Lease Templates screen appears:

To add your first Lease Template, click "Add New Lease Template":

The "Add New Lease" template popup screen appears:

Give your lease template a name (eg. "Standard Lease") and an optional description.  Click "Save & Configure Default Charges & Fees" to continue.

In the "Rent & Other Charges" area, click "Add Charge":

Add your first charge or fee to the template (for example, standard rent):

Click Save and repeat to add more standard charges (eg. security deposit, etc) to the template - keep in mind that you only want to add common, standard charges & fees to the lease that always are part of every (or most) leases you actually write.  You don't want to add corner cases, exceptions to the rule, custom one-off charges, or anything that isn't considered typical.  Lease templates should be re-usable, and as such, broad and representative of the majority of the leases you use in practice.  You can of course add any number of lease templates to account for all sorts of different scenarios.

Once you've added one or more Lease Templates, you're ready to use them when creating new Leases.

From the People or Units screens, add a new Lease and notice the "Copy Charges from Lease Template" link:

Clicking this link will let you select the Lease Template you previously created:

Choose the the Lease Template you selected and click "Select & Add Charges".

The charges & fees from the Lease Template are copied to the lease you are creating:

You can accept these default settings from the lease template or click the 'pencil' icon to further edit them if required; the point of this feature is that the lease templates can let you add preconfigured charges & fees to a lease much more quickly than doing each item manually and repeatedly.

 

Document Template Builders for Leases, Application Forms, and Electronic Signature!

Today we are introducing a new menu item called Documents:

It has places to store three types of document templates, "Leases, "Applications", and "Letters & Forms".  Here you can add new document templates using the text/html editor.  For example, click Leases and the leases screen appears:

Click 'Add New Lease' and you'll be taken to the 'Add New Document Template' page:

It is here that you can create predefined templates and insert things like form/text fields, radio (choice) buttons, check boxes, etc.

Much like Email Templates, each Document Template can be embedded with database field tags that allow the document to be personalized with individual tenant/person/unit/lease data.

You can also insert a 'signature' line, which (when the document is viewed by a tenant/applicant) will show a space where they can digitally sign their name using the mouse or their finger (on a phone/tablet).

Once you have all the documents you need created, the next thing you'll want to do is to send them to a tenant/applicant to have them sign it online.

To do that, click the Email Document menu item:

This will display the Mailbox screen, with a "New Message" tab preloaded:

You should first select the tenants/applicants you want to send the document to in the "To:" section.  You can also type an email address manually if you haven't already added this person as a tenant or applicant in SimpleRent.  Note that if you send the document to a manual email address and not a pre-defined tenant or applicant record, SimpleRent will email you the completed/signed form, but it will not ultimately save a copy of the completed form to the tenant's profile unless you pre-selected them here.

(Again, you should at least add one property, one tenant/person, and connect them with a valid lease record first before you try this, in order to get the full effect of these new features.)

Next, select the Email Template (if applicable) you want to use - this allows you to save time by not having to enter the subject and contents of the email each time - you can change the contents of this email in the "Email Templates" menu item at the top of the main toolbar:

The email subject and the message body should be displayed:

There is just one thing missing - the link to the Document you want the tenant/applicant to sign. Notice that this screen also has an "Insert Document Template Link" section:

First click into the document to place the cursor where you want the link to be inserted:

 

Then select the "Rental Application" option and click the "Insert" button.

A link to the document template is inserted into the email body, wherever you had placed your cursor:

Now you are ready to send the document - click the "Send Message" button and the email will be sent to the tenant/applicant.

The tenant will receive an email something like this:

When they click the link, they are taken to an online editable and signable form:


Each of the text fields, radio buttons, checkboxes, etc in the form can be edited by the tenant.  Because this document has a signature placeholder in it, they can also now sign it with their mouse:

When they are ready, the tenant can submit the form using the "Submit Document Now" button at the top - the document is submitted to you:

You will receive the completed document as a PDF that you can print or download.  If you've selected a pre-existing tenant or applicant record when you sent the document, the completed PDF will also be automatically saved to that tenant's profile, in the person details page, on the "Person Files" tab:

Adjust Rent on a "Go-Forward" Basis from a Specified Date

We just added a new update to the Lease Settings screen which will allow you to adjust the rent (actually any kind of fee or payment) up or down from a specific date going forward.

We already had a feature where you can adjust a specific receivable/payment by editing it from the Lease Settings --> Payment Schedule tab, or the Rent Roll screen - this meant you could modify the amount due or date due of a single payment.  You could also delete a payment that is due as well in this manner.

What this new feature means is that you can now make a change from a date forward and apply that change to all of the subsequent due dates from that point on - this is helpful when you want to increase a tenant's rent (or decrease) part way through the lease.

The new feature is really simple to use - it lives on the Lease Settings --> Payment Schedule tab:

Hover over the row/item that represents the date/fee you want to adjust going forward, as you do so you'll see the "go-forward" icon appear for that row:

Click the icon/button and the "Adjust Amount Going Forward" popup appears:

Specify the new amount of from June 1 going forward (i.e. for the June 1 item and all rent after June 1).  Note that the amount you set is not the amount you are increasing or decreasing - it's the new, full amount that will be now due.

Click "Apply Adjustment" and your changes are finalized - you'll see now that on the Rent Roll screens and reports, and in the Collect Payment screen, that the new amount is expected for the date range you have selected.

 

Waiving Late Fees

Waiving Late Fees

Sometimes you will want to waive a late fee for various reasons.  To do so, click the “Waive Late Fee” button:

The “Waive Late Fee” popup appears to confirm the change:

Click “Waive Late Fee” and the late fee is removed from the Rent Roll list, and is no longer due for this month/week/lease period.

Closing Leases in SimpleRent

Close a Lease

If a lease has expired (and they are not renewing) and you want to move the existing tenants out, you should close the lease and free up the property to lease to another tenant.  While you can certainly have multiple active leases on the same property at the time in SimpleRent; this scenario should be the exception rather than the rule, otherwise you’re likely adding an unneeded level of complexity.

Most of the time, you should either renew a lease, or close it.  To close it, click the “Close Lease” button on the Lease Settings screen:

You’ll be prompted to confirm the close operation:

As this message states, all closed leases are archived, not deleted, and all associated lease data (files, receivables, payment history, etc) are retained in the software and you can always pull up old, closed leases to view.

Renewing A Lease in SimpleRent

Renew a Lease

When a lease has expired, or is nearing expiration, you have a decision to make whether to keep the existing tenants in the property and renew their lease, or close the lease and rent the property to new tenants, or not at all.  In the case where you want to re-lease the same property to the same tenants, you can choose the Renew Lease option to do that quickly.

Note: if you want to make changes to the tenants (either add additional ones or remove some existing ones), you should in most cases close the existing lease rather than renew it, and create a new lease afterward.  This is also true if you want to make adjustments to the settings or dates of any of the charges & fees on the lease before you renew it.

Click the “Renew Lease” button on the Lease Settings page:

The “Renew Lease” popup screen appears:

This screen shows you the current start date of the existing lease and assumes the renewed lease will start “today”.  Adjust the “New Lease Start Date” and “New Lease End Date” accordingly.  Ideally you won’t have overlap between the start-end dates of the old lease and that of the new lease, but whatever dates you choose are acceptable.

All of the existing charges & fees on the existing lease are shown.  You can make start/end date changes for the new lease’s corresponding charge, as well as the amount that will be due. This is a good place to adjust the rent up if such an increase has taken place with the renewed lease.  Note that you cannot make changes to the recurrence (monthly, yearly, weekly, etc) setting of any charges, nor can you add new charges or remove them here.

Special note: In the case (as shown in the screenshot above) where the existing is already month-to-month (has no end date), you might not really need to renew the lease, as SimpleRent already treats it an ongoing concern, and will keep it open and active.  If you want to make changes to specific charges or convert the new lease from month-to-month to a fixed end date, proceed normally with the renewal.  Either course of action is fine; this warning is mostly just informational as a heads up that the current lease is already self-renewing for those most part.

Click the “Renew Lease” button and the existing lease is closed automatically, and a new lease is created with the same tenants, new start/end dates, and the same charges and fees (with updated dates/amounts) as required.  SimpleRent will then redirect to the new lease settings page where you can make additional adjustments if necessary.