Questions Frequently Asked by Owners about Leasing or Renting their Homes or Residential Properties
Following are the most common questions asked by prospective new clients. Perhaps by reading these answers you might find out information you did not know to ask!
What needs to be done to my house before it is ready to rent?
The better condition that a house is in, the better quality tenant that it will attract. Your home must be left in professionally cleaned condition as the tenants will be paying a deposit which they expect to be refunded if left in the same condition. Your Property Manager prefers to arrange any cleaning to insure that the cleaning guidelines are strictly followed. The carpets must be freshly cleaned and all debris and personal belongings removed from the house.
It is not necessary to paint automatically, but you should consider painting any room that has dirty or marred walls. A neutral color is best. Your Property manager will be happy to discuss any necessary repairs or painting with you. Neutral window coverings such as blinds should be left, but not curtains that match a particular bedspread or couch. A tenant expects to have a stove and refrigerator supplied as part of the rental. If you leave a washer and dryer, we explain to the tenant that those are unmaintaned items and neither the tenant or owner are responsible for repairs or maintenance of them.
The tenants are requested to maintain the yard in the condition it is provided to them. Therefore, the yard should be freshly mowed, weeded, trimmed and the leaves and debris removed.
Do you collect first and last month's rent?
The most common move-in cost for a tenant in Bay Area is about three times the monthly rent. While you can collect first and last month's rent and a security deposit not to exceed three times the rent (for unfurnished), it is generally preferable to collect first month's rent plus a security deposit equal to two times the rent. A security deposit can be used for any owner costs while a last month rent can only be used for rent. We normally take a refundable security deposit, the total of which is two times the month's rent. The security deposit is forwarded to the owner to be held in a passbook savings account.
Can I say that I do not want any pets or Smokers in the house? How about children?
Pets and smokers are definitely not protected classes. However, by eliminating pets you are probably eliminating 80% of the people in the market for a rental unit! It does not seem to create a problem to prohibit smokers but we encourage our clients to be open to the idea of pets, perhaps specifying "prefer no pets" or "pets negotiable". We have had good luck with small pets in houses in the past and it does make your property available to more people. It is more common to prohibit pets in apartments and condominiums. Since we charge the maximum secuirity deposit allowed by law (two times the rent) we can not charge an additional deposit for pets on top of it. Though having two times the rent for security is usually more than enough for any problem. However, if you feel strongly about this issue, we will agree not to lease your property to anyone with a pet.
Children come under the protected class of "familial status" and it is not possible to discriminate in this way. Our application forms do not ask number or ages of any children.
When do I get my money each month?
The rents are due on the first of the month. The rental funds must have cleared their banks before we can begin disbursing funds. A reasonable time to wait is two weeks for such clearance. The statements to owners, along with their checks, go out between the 25th and 30th. The statement will have all the activity on the account for that month.
How am I protected if the tenant damages the property?
A security deposit taken at move in is generally adequate in most cases to handle the minor repairs caused by tenants. Tenants with excellent credit and references seldom cause much damage and almost never in excess of the security deposit. The horror stories you hear about a property being "trashed" are generally less expensive properties that have been rented without the normal reference checking.
What happens if the tenant leaves before the end of the lease?
The tenant is responsible for the rent for the term of the lease. If they are forced or choose to leave prior to the termination date, they will be charged for the rent until the property is re-rented to acceptable persons under the same terms and conditions of the original lease. They are also responsible for the cost of re-renting the property. Management is responsible for attempting to re-rent the property as soon as possible in order to minimize the tenant's costs.
Will I get called in the middle of the night with emergencies?
You would never be called in the middle of the night! All non-emergency repairs come to us as a work order request submitted by the tenant through our maintenance phone line. If it is a repair essential to the maintenance of the property and less than $350, the repair will be ordered and you will see an entry for the payment of that bill in your next statement. If it will be more than $500 or if there is a question of what should be done, we will call you for direction.
Who does the repairs on the properties you manage? Can I use my own contractors?
We use a variety of outside contractors depending on what needs to be done. Our repair vendors have been with us for years and are available 24 hours a day for emergencies. They work at competitive rates and guarantee their work. We would be happy to use contractors that you prefer. You are billed for exactly the amount of the vendor's invoice; we do not charge for supervision of normal repairs.
Are contractors and maintenance people covered by Workers Compensation Insurance?
Your property liability insurance does not cover injuries incurred by persons working on your property. Injuries to individuals working on your property fall under Worker's Compensation Claims. We obtain Worker Compensation Certificates from all licensed contractors which we keep on file. If we hire a maintenance person or gardener who is not a licensed contractor, they are covered by our blanket State Compensation Fund insurance policy. When we pay the unlicensed vendor, we create a charge for Worker's Compensation Insurance based on a percentage of the labor cost. Once a quarter we then send a check for the total of the quarterly charges to the State Compenstation Fund.
Do You Have a Question That We Didn’t Answer Here?
If so, please visit our property management page for more information or contact us directly.