During the lease signing, when you get to the part that says how much the monthly rent is – this is a good time to get the money for the first month’s rent. You should have already received their security deposit (in the form of a “deposit to hold” when they were approved) so typically this is when you will collect their first month’s rent.
If a tenant moves in during the middle of the month, I don’t pro-rate the amount they pay upon first moving in. Instead, I pro-rate the second month to match the first In other words – every tenant pays a full month’s rent when they move in, but when it comes time to pay the rent on the 1st of the next month, they will only pay for the amount of days they lived at the home in the previous month. For example – if the rent is $1200 per month, and they move in on the 10th of January, they will pay a full $1200 for rent when they move in, but will only pay $800 on February 1st.
One final note on the rent: Only accept rent in certified funds, such as a money order or a cashier’s check. Don’t take cash and don’t accept a personal check – especially for the first month’s rent. You do not want to move a tenant in and find out weeks later that the check was bad, forcing you to evict. This is a wise policy to have all around in your relationship with your tenants: certified funds only.
For paying rent in the future, I recommend not picking up the rent in person, as this will only train the tenant to expect you each month. For my rentals, I mail monthly statements to the tenant and they mail their certified funds to my PO Box. Many landlords have different techniques for collecting rent, so be sure to check out with Edward Casey for more suggestions and ideas from landlords. Ultimately, you may change or adapt your style as you learn more and grow.