The reason that many Americans fail to pay rent on time is not that they don’t earn enough money (although that is a problem too), but because they don’t have enough money at the beginning of the month when rent is due.
To tackle this problem, a startup called Till is working with landlords to allow tenants to create a custom payment schedule that lets someone pay as money comes in. Tenants who use the Till service pay a small fee of around $8 a month, which is far less than the typical late fees that people pay. When a landlord agrees to work with the service, they then agree to waive any late fees and defer eviction filings.
To help tenants get by each month, the Till app builds a personalized payment schedule with smaller payments throughout the month, in line with when the resident is getting paid. For landlords, it’s a way both to help someone stay in their homes and a better business decision than evictions, which collectively cost landlords billions each year. Should a tenant still fall behind on rent, Till makes it possible to create a long-term payment program.
“We do it in a way that doesn’t stress them financially, which is the trick,” said David Sullivan, founder, and CEO of Till. “If a landlord comes to you and says, ‘You owe me $5,000. You’re being evicted,’ and you don’t have $5,000, you’re not going to give them any money. We come to the renter and say, ‘Hey, we know you’re delinquent, do you want to stay in this home? Okay—let’s work on a payment plan that you can afford.’”
While Till’s service doesn’t solve the fundamental problems of housing in America, it is helping prevent evictions across the nation at a time where people need it most. Thousands of tenants have already signed up to use the Till service, most of who were already behind on payments when signing up. Of those who had been delinquent in payments before signing up, 98.5 percent now pay on time thanks to Till.
“We’ve helped thousands of families stay in their homes through this pandemic,” Sullivan says. “And it’s not just about staying in the home—the reality is when you stabilize finances around housing, you help people stabilize their finances for the rest of their life.