Summer rent problematic for local landlords

Kathleen Foody

Kathleen Foody

By Eric Heisig

While at home for the summer, the last thing on a student’s mind may be paying rent.

After all, if a student is away from Champaign, their home away from home is not being used. Still, many landlords in the area offer leases lasting for 12 months, meaning that even if an apartment is not being used, it still needs to be paid for.

Roland Realty said they have seen an increase in the number of tenants paying rent late in June and July.

“Generally, on a yearly basis, June and July are months with higher collection issues,” said Dustin Neiswender, assistant manager for Roland. “A larger amount of people forget to pay.”

Kirstie Davis, property manager for Bankier Apartments, said the number of people not paying on time in June and July is up, but not at a level that alarms the company.

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“We will post the bill to give them a reminder,” Davis said. “The numbers are a little bit elevated, but not much more.”

Still, not all apartment companies see the number of late rent payers rise in the summer. Dan Hamelberg, general manager of University Group, said that there are a few, but they have more problems during winter break, when many students also do not stay in the Champaign-Urbana area.

“There are more late in January than there are in July,” Hamelberg said.

Each apartment company has their own rules for late fees. For example, Neiswender said that Roland has a five-day grace period after the first of the month. After that, the tenants are required to pay an additional fee of five percent of their total rent. He said this can get hairy for tenants if they do not pay their rent.

“If one tenant doesn’t pay in a four-bedroom apartment … it will affect the deposit refund for the other guys,” Neiswender said.

Bankier and University Group have similar policies for paying late rent, but grace periods and fines vary from company to company.

Even though apartment companies technically do make money if rent is paid late, Neiswender said his company prefers tenants who stick to the rent schedule.

“Any time we’re collecting late fees, we’re making money, but we would rather have 100 percent of our rent paid on time,” Neiswender said.

“This is especially true in July when we’re getting ready for August. We don’t want to deal with that.”