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LCS, Inc. — Rent Manager

From the January 2006 Review of Property
Management Software

Rent Manager is a multi-purpose residential and commercial property management
solution that is geared toward managers of apartments, rental homes, condominium
associations, mobile home communities and other rental properties, including
third-party property management businesses. The system is available in three
versions: Small Business for less than 150 rental units; Professional supports
an unlimited number of units; and Enterprise, which utilizes an open SQL database.
An online version is also available, enabling remote management offices to connect
with the same database. The Small Business edition costs $15 per rental unit,
in increments of five, which would cost a management company with 75 rental
units $1,125.

Modern Management Solutions (
is a Ravenna, Ohio-based management company that owns manufactured home parks
and apartment buildings. They’ve been using Rent Manager since the early
’80s. Carol Wise, the company’s president explained their services:
“We have many clients across the United States for whom we do billing,
collection, and keep their database current. In some cases we pay their bills
and take care of all management aspects of their properties.” Wise also
noted that she uses Rent Manager to operate a construction company as well as
a sales company.

When asked why they chose Rent Manager, Wise says its because they felt it
was best fitted to their business. “I am an accountant by background and
find it to have the best GL for our needs.” she said. “I am able
to run one checking account yet get separate trial balances for each property.”
Wise’s advice to new or potential users is to purchase the software and
make a list of what you want it to do. “The setup is the key to this software,”
she says. “Once it is done correctly, anyone can run it. They need no
accounting background or even much computer skill to operated the software.”

Although the system has been around for more than 20 years, the most recent
version of Rent Manager shows that the company has continued development, with
the program offering a very modern interface with intuitive icons providing
access to the primary components of the system. Setup tasks are guided by a
Quick Setup Wizard, whether adding a new rental property, units, tenants or
bank accounts. The master window defaults to a Reminders window that can be
customized by the user to show items that may need attention, such as delinquencies,
vacancies, checks awaiting printing, maintenance tasks and other items. These
items are presented in a collapsible folder view, which when expanded can show
each of the delinquent accounts or other information. Reports or a printed list
can also be run directly from the Reminder screen.

On account screens, tenant names, property groups, units and account balances
are linked, allowing quick access to further information on those entities without
having to go through other menus or modules. Additionally, when viewing a unit
or tenant, a Customer Scoreboard displays summary information about that tenant’s
history with the property, including account balance, lease start and end dates,
and longest account past-due status. The system’s accounting functions
also provide similar drill-down access. Rent Manager provides property tenant
lists in a vertical menu, with search and filtering features, as well as a function
that allows searching using only the first few letters of a name. The search
features can also be used to search maintenance records.

In addition to traditional property management functions such as tracking rental
information, tenant histories and providing reminders, Rent Manager offers a
comprehensive array of integrated features, including a full accounting application
that allows cash or accrual basis accounting and is tailored to the needs of
property management. Accounting functions include AP, AR, GL, check writing,
electronic payment tracking, account reconciliation, multiple bank registers,
journal entries, financial reporting, late-fee tracking, payment allocations,
an audit trail and a simplified method for managing security deposits.

An add-on module is available to accept electronic payments from tenants,
automatically debiting a customer’s checking account or using a credit
card. A commendable feature of the program is that users can attach pictures,
documents and other files to tenant or property records. The system’s
Metered Utilities function enables calculation of utility consumption for multi-use
situations, with the ability to assess charges to specific tenants. Common area
maintenance charges are also easily managed.

The system also offers resident tracking functions, work order processing
and a built-in word processing system with template tenant letters. Security
levels can be set per individual user, allowing maintenance staff access to
only areas that they may need or restricting banking information only to key
users. The system’s customization features allow an unlimited number of
user-defined fields.

The three versions of Rent Manager provide support for virtually any size
of property management group, as well as support for companies with multiple
management/leasing offices through the online version of the system. If a company
outgrows a smaller version of the program, all data can be seamlessly transferred
into a larger version of the system.

Rent Manager’s various features are completely integrated, including the
accounting, billing and check writing functions. Data can be imported from several
file types, and export is possible to some formats.

The system’s built-in word processor includes templates for client/tenant
letters, maintenance orders and other common tasks, while the system’s
robust reporting functions include statistical reports, rent rolls, lease expiration,
vacancies, aging, banking, payables, P&L, delinquencies, income reports,
vendor expenses, and other rental, tenant and property information.

SUPPORT – 4.5 Stars
Rent Manager is exceptionally easy to use, and the built-in Help utility and
user guide provide good assistance. Technical support costs 30 percent of the
software license cost, with a maximum cost of $395 per year. For a 75-unit property,
support would cost approximately $337.50. A support forum and other self-help
tools are also available online.

Rent Manager provides a very thorough property management system for virtually
any type of management situation and, because of its scalability and pricing
model, can support virtually any number of properties or property groups. The
system is very user friendly, and its accounting system offers excellent support,
including an audit trail.

2006 Overall Rating – 4.5 Stars