1. Who is responsible for getting the utilities turned on between tenants?
It is absolutely essential that utility services are never tuned off. This is accomplished by execution of a “Revert-to-Owner” agreement between you the owner and each utility company that provides essential services (electric, gas, water and sewer) to the property. We normally make these arrangements for you at the beginning of our management agreement (except the City of Independence water & electric services, which require the owner to complete the agreement personally).
Some utility companies require someone to be present to have utilities turned on, so having a “Revert-to-Owner agreement in effect can save you a minimum $45 service call we charge when we have to meet a utility company at a property for service connection.
2. How long will it take to find tenants for my property?
It is impossible to say exactly how long it will take to find qualified tenants for your property. A number of factors involved are (a) size and location of the property, (b) overall condition of the property, (c) asking price relative to comparable properties in the area, and (d) time of year. However, marketing time for renting is generally much shorter than the time required to sell the same property, so landlords can usually expect to have tenants within 30 to 60 days. If a property does not rent within this length of time, it is generally a sign that it is overpriced relative to its size and condition.
3. Can I restrict the number of children who occupy my property?
We are required to comply with all federal, state, and local fair housing laws which make it illegal to discriminate in the sale or rental of property based on any of the following protected classes: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status, or elderliness. Landlords are allowed to place reasonable restrictions on the total number of occupants in a property, based on the size and number of bedrooms contained in that property, but cannot make distinctions between children or adults when implementing these restrictions.
4. What appliances should I provide with the property?
Most rental properties in this area include a refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. Therefore, not having one in your property will make it harder to find tenants.
Washers and dryers typically are not included in most rentals. However, if your property requires a stackable washer or dryer, you probably should provide one since tenants are less likely to own such a unit. Also, if the washer and dryer hook-up in your property is located on the second floor, it may be a good idea to provide a washer and dryer. This will reduce the chance of damage to your property from tenants moving the heavy washer and dryer up a flight of stairs. It will also reduce the risk of a faulty washer hose causing a leak on the second floor that could come through the ceiling downstairs.
5. Why must I have the fireplace cleaned?
Chimney fires represent a major liability to property owners. When certain types of wood are burned, creosote builds up on the chimney walls which could cause a fire. To reduce liability to you as a landlord, we require that you have the fireplace cleaned and inspected initially. Each subsequent tenant will be required to do the same when he/she vacates the property.
6. Why must I have the carpeting “professionally” cleaned?
Each tenant will be required to have the carpets professionally cleaned when they vacate the property. To ensure that the carpets have been cleaned as well as possible, we require that your tenants hire professional carpet cleaners. To further ensure that the quality of the work, and to ensure the carpet cleaners will guarantee their work if problems are discovered after the next tenants move in, we require the tenants use only approved carpet cleaning companies. So that this requirement can be enforced against your tenants, we ask that the carpets be cleaned in the same manner when you turn the property over initially.
7. What happens if the rent is not paid on time?
Rents are due on the first day of each month and are considered late if not received by the 5th day of each month, at which time a 10% late fee is assessed against the tenant’s ledger. If rent remains unpaid as of the 10th of each month, a final demand notice is given to the tenant to pay in full. If still unpaid by the 15th of the month, legal eviction is filed against the tenant. In many cases, the tenant is given a chance to re-instate their tenancy upon payment of all past due rents, late fees, attorney’s fees and court costs.
8. When do I receive my monthly reports and moneys?
Owner reports and disbursements are prepared on the 1st business day after the 10th of each month, which means most of our owners receive their monthly reports & funds around the 15th to 17th of each month. Our normal procedure is to generate these reports and disbursements only once each month, however if your tenant’s rent is received by our office after the monthly cut-off date you may request a special “manual” disbursement by contacting Thomas J Latta. Otherwise the late receipted funds will be included with the following month’s reports and disbursement.
9. What happens when my tenant’s lease expires?
About 45 days prior to the end of their lease, your tenant will be presented with the opportunity to extend or terminate their tenancy. Renewal rates offered are determined after taking into consideration current market conditions and the tenant’s “track record” as a tenant. Tenants who elect to renew their tenancy are normally given the opportunity to (a) “renew” their lease for an additional one year term at a rate about $10 below current market rents, but not lower than their current rent or (b) convert their lease to a month-to-month tenancy at a $25/month premium over the lease renewal rate offered.
If the tenant decides to terminate their tenancy, they are required to notify us in writing no later than 30 days prior to the last day of their lease or tenancy term and must cooperate fully with our efforts to market and show the property to prospective new tenants.
10. What happens when my tenants move out?
Once your tenant has completely vacated the property and is ready to surrender keys and possession of the property back to us, we conduct a thorough “move-out” inspection and compare it to the (a) “move-in” list originally provided by the tenant and (b) our work order and maintenance history for your property. This process assures that we have a detailed written description of the condition of your property so that appropriate deductions, if any, will be made against the tenant’s security deposit. The security deposit reconciliation and refund to the former tenant, if applicable, will be completed within 30 days after termination of tenancy as required by state law.
Once the “move-out” inspection is completed, our get ready crew will be scheduled to perform the necessary maintenance and repairs to bring the property up to our standards.
11. Will my insurance cover damage caused by my tenants?
Your Landlord’s or Rental Dwelling Policy will protect your property from fire and storm damage, and provide you and us with liability coverage, but does not cover your property against damage by tenants or their guests. However, each company’s policies are different, so you should consult your insurance agent for specific details about what is covered by your policy.
12. How often will you contact me?
We believe that you hired us to give you freedom from the hassles of property management, so we try to strike the proper balance between (a) annoying you with a lot of calls and (b) not keeping you informed at all. You won’t hear from us when relatively minor or routine maintenance issues arise, but can expect a call when there is a major maintenance concern at your property. If you prefer more contact, email is the quickest and most efficient method, and helps to keeps things clear and concise.