Ultimately, it is your tenants' responsibility to pay rent on time. Since on-time payments are convenient for property managers, it's worth your while to take a few steps to ensure tenants do pay on time. Here are a few ways to encourage your residents to pay rent when it's due.
Always follow your lease terms.
If your lease says that you'll assess a certain fee if the rent is late, stick to this. You might be tempted to give certain residents a break or let them go without a fee on the first offence. However, word will get around between tenants that you're lenient about late fees, and this will just make tenants more likely to pay late in the future. Following your lease terms specifically with each tenant and in each situation is the best way to be fair and to ensure tenants take you seriously.
Offer multiple ways to pay.
Sometimes tenants may have every intention to pay on time, but they might get busy and forget to take a check down, or they might wait too long to drop it in the mail. If you offer multiple ways for your tenants to pay, they'll have an easier time doing so. You can allow tenants to pay with an online billing service, like PayPal. Other options include leaving a check box outside your office where tenants can drop their checks, making rounds a few days before rent is due to pick up checks from tenants who are ready, and allowing tenants to transfer funds directly from their bank account to your own.
If you have all of your tenants' email addresses, you can send them a reminder email a few days before rent is due. The text of this email can be simple. Say something like, "Just a friendly reminder that rent is due June 1st! Your payment options include the following." This will jog tenants' memories, so they're less likely to forget to pay when they're busy.
Reward tenants who pay on time.
Another way to encourage on-time payments is to keep track of who always pays on time, and reward those tenants. For instance, at the end of the year, you can give each tenant who has paid on time all 12 months a gift certificate to a local coffee shop or cafe. Let tenants know that this is your policy, so they're inspired to be on time all year and earn their perk.