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.

 

Import Tenants & Units From Excel Spreadsheet

Today we released some updates to SimpleRent to allow you to import both tenants and units/properties by copying & pasting from an Excel spreadsheet, or any tab-delimited data source or file.

To get started, hover over the Tenants toolbar icon or the Units toolbar icon:

And choose Import From Spreadsheet..

The Import from Spreadsheet screen appears:

First make sure the data in your spreadsheet matches the columns required for import (in this case for Units, it's Nickname or Unit #, Address, City, State, Zip) and also make sure the column data is in the correct order.

Then select the data to import by highlighting and copying in Excel:

Step 1: Paste your data into the textbox:

Click the "Format Data" button to format and correct the data.  If your data is correctly ordered and tab-delimited in Excel (or Libre Office, or Notepad, etc.), your data will be organized into columns on screen:

Step 2:

Next, select the owner you want the data to be imported into (if applicable) and then click the Import Units button:

A new unit (or tenant, if you're importing tenants) will be created for each row you have pasted in from your spreadsheet.  If record creation fails for any particular record, you will see the erroneous record counts.  If you're trying to import more units than your current SimpleRent plan allows for (i.e. your current unit count + the number you're importing), a warning message will appear and you'll have to trim the number of records to fit into your plan.

Note: new units will be imported into the Vacant Units tab (since they aren't assigned to any tenants yet), and newly imported tenants will be created under the Prospective Tenants & Applicants tab (since these are new people entries and aren't active tenants yet).

 

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:

Combined General Ledger View of Income and Expenses Together, plus Bank Account Support (Reconciliation)

We just added some new features to SimpleRent to enable you to more easily reconcile your accounting entries and payment history with your bank records.

Most recently, we've added a new General Ledger / Income & Expenses combined view, which combines the existing expenses and income ledgers (don't worry, separate ledgers are still available!):

The "Income & Expenses" menu option will take you to the new screen:

Here you can view income/credits/deposits together with expenses/debits/checks, all on one ledger.  The running balance is also included, to help you make sure your entries match your bank statement.

You can toggle/switch between Bank Accounts using the "all bank accounts" drop-down.

Bank accounts can be added and managed from the Accounting --> Bank Accounts menu.  You can add accounts to represent your operating accounts, escrow accounts, owner accounts, etc.

Every payment, income entry, expense, etc can now be tagged with the bank account it ultimately resides in or was received into:

Hopefully these new features will make your bank reconciliation efforts simpler!

Automatically Schedule Tenant Invoices with SimpleRent

Recently we added a great new feature to simplify and reduce administrative effort & time when it comes to generating invoices, and emailing them to tenants.

In addition to generating and emailing invoices manually with just a few clicks each month, SimpleRent now also enables you to further reduce administration time and effort by automating this task for you.

By using the invoice auto-scheduling features, you can have SimpleRent automatically generate all your tenant invoices, and email them separately (and with a customized email subject and message body) to each tenant monthly or weekly on the day you specify.  This "set it and forget" operation will really put your invoice operations on auto-pilot.  Here's how to enable this feature:

On the Rent Roll page, click the "Schedule automated invoices" button.

The "Schedule Automated Invoices" screen appears: