New Owners Frequently Asked Questions
“What is included in the leasing fee?” Account set-up, initial property inspection, digital photos for advertising, yard sign/lock-box installation, premier advertising, showing the property to perspective tenants, application review and tenant screenings including credit checks and income verification, lease preparation and execution, move-inspection. Basically, everything you need to rent your property.
“What if you do all these things and my property still does not rent?” If your property is getting exposure, meaning people are seeing it but just not moving forward by submitting their application, it’s most likely priced too high. It’s extremely important that you don’t base the amount you expect for rent off your mortgage payment, what you’re neighbor’s tenant is paying or what you’ve heard here and there. The market dictates the rent amount. S&L Property Management will give you our best recommendation based upon comps in your immediate area. To avoid delays and wasted advertising dollars, we will set the rent amount competitively to ensure that the property is rented quickly and for top dollar. Ultimately, the cost of vacancy is more expensive than setting the price competitively.
“When will you start advertising my property?” We will begin advertising as soon as the property is “Ready-To-Rent.” That is, once the Management Agreement is signed, the property is vacant or available to show, and in a condition that is “Ready-To-Rent.”
“How long will it take to rent my property?” Each property is different and it varies depending on the market, the time of year, the condition of the property and the leasing price. Our goal is to rent your property within a 30-day period but it can take longer. We actually average about two to three weeks from the time the advertising begins.
“What do you look for in a tenant?” We mainly focus on income and stability. It is critical that their base income is sufficient to pay their financial obligations. We verify employment and income. We scrutinize their credit history. Perfect credit is ideal, however we screen tenants on a case by case basis evaluating why their credit is less than perfect and requesting narrative explanations. We also check eviction records, references and past rental history.
“Can I help pick out a tenant?” Yes. We will present you with the details of the applicants and give you recommendations. Ultimately, you get to decide who your tenants will be. Of course, any decision will need to comply with Federal Fair Housing laws which prohibit “any preference, limitation, or discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or intention to make such preference, limitation or discrimination.”
“What do you do for the monthly management fee?” We handle all day to day operations of your property such as responding to tenant issues, assessing maintenance and repair concerns, rent collection and accounting, maintenance billing, maintain a 24/7 emergency call service, delinquent account servicing and eviction coordination.
“Do you charge me when my property is vacant?” No. There are no fees during vacancy.
“Do I keep the utilities “ON” while my property is vacant?” Yes. Please keep utilities on during vacancy, mainly to ensure continued proper maintenance of the property, especially landscape maintenance which requires both electric and water services. Working utilities are also very helpful when showing the property to perspective tenants.
“When do I get my check and my monthly statement?” Rents are electronically sent out on the 10th business day of each month, statements go out about two weeks after the rents. The rent is due on the 1st and the tenants have a 5-day grace period to pay. Once we receive the tenant’s rent check, we process it and deposit it into our broker’s trust account, then forward it to you.
“Do you collect interest on the rent money?” No. All rent payments go directly into our broker’s trust account which is a non-interest bearing account.
“What happens if the tenant doesn’t pay the rent?” Though our eviction percentages are very low due to our stringent tenant screening policies, occasionally a tenant fails to pay their rent. When this happens, S&L Property Management will begin the eviction process on the property owner’s behalf. The eviction process costs between $ 1,000 and $ 1,500 depending on how difficult the tenant wants to be and generally takes between 45 to 60 days.
“Can I contact the tenants or go over periodically to check on my property? No. You hired us to manage your property for you. That is what you are paying us to do. During the lease signing and move-in inspection, we make the tenants aware of the “house policies” and the expectations for care and maintenance. We maintain a friendly professional relationship with the tenants fielding questions and issues as they arise. By civil law, tenants are protected and are entitled to “Quiet Enjoyment” of the rental property throughout the term of their lease.
“Does your company handle repairs too?” Yes. We have full-time maintenance coordinators that oversee the scheduling and work of quality licensed contractors. This service is provided with a 10% surcharge. Owners may choose to coordinate their own repairs without incurring any fee. Also, there is no charge for our coordination of work covered under an owner’s Home Warranty plan.
“How much decision making control do I have over my property? You have TOTAL authority over all issues pertaining to your home. S&L does not make decisions for you, we are your facilitator. Unless a serious emergency arises (health, habitability or safety issues) and you are unreachable, S&L managers will consult with you first.