Answers to your common questions
Are first and last month’s rent as well as a security deposit collected up front?
If a resident has good credit it is common practice to collect first month’s rent and a security deposit up front. A security deposit can be used for any owner costs while a last month’s rent
can only be used for rent. The security deposit is held in a separate account as required by real estate regulations. Deposit amounts are typically from 80-100% of the monthly rental rate.
How are rental amounts determined?
As professional property managers, we have access to a couple databases of rental information for the valley. We often use this in addition to our own inventory data to establish a baseline after which the condition of the home, current competition/time of year, and any other pertinent factors are included to determine the rent we can attain while maintaining an appropriate vacancy rate.
How are repairs handled?
The home’s property manager is responsible for approving all maintenance requests. Residents are required to submit all repair requests in writing. If funds are available, the expense will be deducted on the next month’s accounting statement. If funds are not available, the property manager will contact the owner for payment arrangements. Sometimes a request falls into the category of a maintenance emergency. Emergencies are scheduled immediately and the owner notified at the first possible opportunity. Some maintenance requests can result in a rent abatement if not handled timely due to the property being unable to be occupied. The owner is notified immediately when there is a rent abatable maintenance issue.
How do you market the property?
When a tenant gives their 30-day notice, the property is immediately added to our rental availability list, distributed to over 50 web sites, and a professional sign is placed where appropriate. Marketing the home 30 days in advance of expected vacancy is always recommended. We also work with some relocation services, Micron and Hewlett Packard to place some of their employees in new homes. Referral fees are also offered to our tenants and we do receive referrals from local Realtors as well.
How is the owner protected if the resident damages the property?
A refundable security deposit taken at move-in is usually sufficient to handle the minor damage caused by residents. Residents with excellent credit and references are less likely cause significant damage. If the resident leaves the property owing money for rent and/or damages, they will be billed. If they do not pay, we will pursue the debt through a payment installment plan with former tenant and then the use of a collection agency; we do all of the work!
How long will it take to rent?
Vacancy periods are market driven and we consistently perform better than the market’s average. Time of year is also a factor as less people move in the colder months around the holiday season. The better the home’s condition, the faster it will typically rent. In general, we say it takes 4-6 weeks to rent out a home, which is why we advertise 30 days before the home is scheduled to be vacant.
Is it possible to refuse to rent to families with children?
In federal, state, and local Fair Housing regulations children come under the protective class of “familial status”. It is unlawful to discriminate against children in any way.
What about smokers?
It is common to restrict smoking inside the property. This does not significantly reduce the marketability of the property. No smoking is allowed in any of our properties.
What are the policies regarding Pets?
Surveys indicate that around 2/3 of renters own pets. Restricting pets reduces the number of available qualified residents. In general, a well-behaved cat or dog causes less wear and tear on a home and yard than a young child; however, we typically charge a $100 pet fee plus an additional $25 pet rent every month that is additional income for homeowners to help mitigate potential damage costs to the house that are difficult to quantify while our inspection process still allows us to bill accordingly for pet-caused damages. Service/companion animals are allowed at all properties to be in compliance with fair housing law. Proper documentation is required for such animals, and it is unlawful for a landlord to refuse to rent to an applicant due to their service/support animal, so they are permitted at all of our properties. Such animals are exempt from the pet fee and pet rent.
What happens if the rent is late?
The rent is due on the first of each month. Rent is considered past due at 5:00PM on the 5th day of the month. A call is placed at this time to notify the tenant of the delinquency. If rent isn’t promptly paid thereafter, we issue a 3-day notice and begin eviction proceedings. In Idaho, we can typically have a tenant out by the 20th of the month for non-payment evictions.
What happens if the resident leaves before the end of the lease?
The resident is responsible for the rent for the term of the lease. If residents leave before the termination date they will be charged for rent until the home is re-leased. We, on behalf of the owner, will do everything possible to re-lease the home and minimize the residents’ cost.
What is the average length of tenancy?
Over 70% of our rental agreements are for one year. Other agreements range from six to eighteen months. We typically don’t recommend committing to any longer terms as we lose out on opportunities to slowly adjust the rent with market trends, which allows us to maximize revenue while not making good tenants feel penalized by large rent increases.
Our lease is set to automatically renew for an additional term with a rent increase unless we decide otherwise 30 days in advance, so most of our tenants rent on a yearly basis with an opportunity for a rent change at each interval. If a month-to-month tenancy is preferred by the homeowner upon renewal to make use of ideal sales timing or for any other reason, we can certainly arrange for that as well.
What needs to be done to prepare a property for rent?
The property should be in the best possible condition to attract a quality resident. Paint should be in good shape with marred or dirty areas touched up. Neutral colors for walls and floors are best. Blinds or shades are ideal window coverings. The home should be “detailed” clean and the yard in excellent shape. Please review the Owner Checklist for all necessary steps to begin management services.
When are monthly funds distributed?
Real Estate Regulations require that rental checks must have cleared the bank and the accounts reconciled to the penny before disbursing funds. The payments to owners along with statements are processed on the 10th of the month. Disbursements are made by ACH direct deposit into the owners’ accounts or by check and statements posted the same day. Payments for the owners who prefer to receive checks are processed on the 10th.
Who handles emergencies?
A property manager is always on call for emergencies. We have an extensive network of maintenance personnel and sub-contractors to handle any emergency on your property, day or night. We are on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year.