Common Owner Questions about Property Management
- When will I receive my statement, and what documentation will it contain?
- Are you insured, and how does that protect me?
- How will I know if my property is being maintained?
- What needs to be done to my property for it to be leased as quickly as possible?
- How will I know when my property is vacant, if it's being shown and when it leases?
- What happens if a tenant breaks their lease agreement and moves out?
- Do you add an up-charge fee to vendor invoices?
- What are your property management fees?
- What is your leasing commission and what about lease renewal fees?
- Do I have to allow pets in my property?
- Will you allow smokers in my property?
- Can the tenants get my phone number and address if you provide management services?
- What liabilities do I have owning rental property, and how can I help protect myself?
- Can you help me if I already have a resident?
- Can you use one of my contractors for repairs?
- Do you get more than one vendor bid for work to be done?
- Do you profit from your vendors by receiving referral fees in anyway?
- Are the vendors you use qualified, insured, and competitive in their rate structure?
- Who will do the maintenance on my property?
- Can I see the rental application and credit report of my tenant?
- Do you manage properties that have a swimming pool?
- Can I choose the tenant you place in my property?
- Do I need to finish repairs before showing a vacant property?
- Does retaining a property management company mean I will not have any problems with my property or my tenants?
We close our books on the 15th of the month and email you a link to your Owner Portal on the 18th. The Owner Portal allows you to access each monthly statement and all your receipts in a PDF format 24 hours a day.
Your ACH fund transfer also occurs on the 18th. However, delays can occur, and we must allow for holidays and weekends. Management statements include a monthly and year-to-date profit & loss statement for each property, a detailed activity page showing each transaction for each property, and a copy of invoices. This is important as most property management companies do not provide copies of invoices. We believe that you should be fully aware of every expense that occurs at your property.
We carry General Liability insurance and Professional Liability insurance (commonly known as Errors and Omissions). When considering which property management company to choose, you should ask whether your property management company can reimburse you if they made a mistake that costs you money? The court may give you a judgment against your management company, but what would keep the manager from declaring bankruptcy to avoid paying the claim? Most management companies do not carry E&O insurance. Fortunately, since our establishment in January 1986, no one has ever had to make a claim against our policy. Every day we strive to ensure that the need will never arise.
We also carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance. If someone were to get injured on your property, it does not become a liability to you. We also require that all contractors carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance as well. Many property management companies do not require their contractors to have this coverage. However, without this protection, your liability is far higher than the small amount of money that would be saved from using an uninsured contractor. Don't take the risk when you don't have too.
We keep informed about a property's condition through several systems. This includes striving for well-qualified tenants, your annual property survey, and our in-house maintenance tech visits.
The biggest key to a property being well cared for is leasing to a well-qualified tenant. We find that well-qualified tenants are motivated to take care of the property to remain "well qualified". See our tenant guarantees.
We email you a comprehensive annual (or bi-annual) property survey before the lease is renewed. This allows you and the property manager to discuss the property condition and if a lease renewal is in order. NOTE: The survey (not an inspection) is performed by the property manager. This requires your property manager to have firsthand knowledge of your investment.
Having an experienced maintenance tech on our team yields you many benefits: responding to maintenance requests within 24 to 48 business hours, performing quality repair work, completing a 7-Point Maintenance CheckUp during each visit, and they can perform several different trades in one call. A less expensive way than calling different vendors.
Over time, a property’s systems and appliances will deteriorate. By evaluating these, you will be more prepared for needed improvements and more likely to discover potential maintenance items before they become larger, more expensive problems for you. A well-maintained property sells quicker!
Experience has taught that the better the condition your property is in, the better the tenant you will attract. The better the quality of the tenant, the lesser the likelihood of a property is intentionally damaged. This means that the property should be clean, and walls should be painted if they are dirty or marred. Carpeting, flooring, and appliances should be up-to-date. It is best to have window coverings, such as 2” blinds, on the windows. Generally, the property should be in good repair inside and out. Lawns and flowerbeds should be in top condition, as curb appeal is critical to the resident’s first impression.
Many residents begin to make up their mind about your property the moment they pull up to the curb. If the yard, entrance area, and interior look sharp, the agent will be much more successful in leasing your home. A quality resident is motivated to take care of your home and will leave it in good condition when they go. This means lower operating costs for you.
We want you to be kept informed of the status of your property when a turn over occurs. We do that in several ways:
1) Before the Tenant Vacates: You will be notified by email when a Notice to Vacate is sent to us by a tenant. We will then walk the property to determine its condition and “rentability”. If above normal repairs are needed when the unit turns over, you will be made aware of these repairs by the property manager, along with cost estimates. Quick decisions are necessary so we can get your house on the market and leased!
2) While being Marketed: When the property is actively listed on the market, we will email you weekly updates on the showing activity of the property.
3) When Leased: Once the property is leased, you will be notified by our office manager. This noticed will be emailed and will give you the specifics of the transaction (date leased, lease rate, length of the lease,..).
Residents are required to attend an orientation session in our office before they can move in. During the orientation, we explain that one of the conditions of leasing the property is their fiscal responsibility for the entire lease term. If a resident needs to vacate a property early, we explain that they are responsible for the balance of the lease payments until the property is leased again.
The residents are also responsible for paying a reletting fee that is equal to at least one month’s lease payment. We are then required to lease the property as soon as possible. Well-qualified residents are inclined to perform under the requirements of the lease agreement to avoid possible damage to their credit. You will be consulted before the permission is given.
It is our opinion that paying invoices in the process of managing your property is part of a management company’s regular responsibility. However, if you want us to monitor a substantial project that would require multiple trips to the property, a cost would be incurred for that work. This would be discussed with you before starting the project. Please also review our scope of services in your Owner Handbook.
Our property management fee ranges from 8-10% of the gross monthly rent, with a $75 per month minimum. If your property leases for less than $937 per month, or is vacant for a period of time, there is a $75 per month charge. Our fees are based on the service level needed to deliver the quality of services you expect from a full-service management firm. If you are considering a saving by going with a firm that is less experienced or does not provide a full spectrum of management services, you may not receive good value for your management dollars.
If you have 4 or more units, contact us for a quote on providing our services at a more competitive rate.
We are so confident in our level of services that we offer two management fee guarantees.
- We do not charge an account set up fee
- We do not charge a monthly "Vacant Property Advertising Fee"
- We do not charge an annual administrative fee
- We do not charge a monthly wire transfer fee
- We do not add a processing fee (mark up) to vendor invoices
- We do not charge your tenant a monthly nonsense "admin" fee.
The leasing commission is 80% of the first full month's rent for new residents. From this commission, we pay all agents involved in the transaction, all costs associated with listing your property in the Multiple Listing Service, listing it on our Web site and all the additional property leasing sites, preparing the lease documents, and performing the lease orientation with your tenants.
A lease renewal fee of $250 is administered if we are successful at retaining your current resident and executing a lease renewal contract. Renewing the lease agreement is always our goal, not turning the property over. Why should I pay a renewal fee?
- Property turn-overs are one of the most expensive events at a property. A turn-over can easily cost you thousands of dollars for lost rent, the lease commission, mortgage payment, the make-ready maintenance costs, utilities, lawn care, pest control, rekey and so on.
- If a company charges nothing to renew the lease, they may be tempted to allow a property to turn over and charge you a leasing commission. What's their incentive not to?
- Incentivize the property management company to give great service to your tenants and to keep them in the property. Your tenant is your asset, give them good service. A vacant property is a money-pit!
- We understand the value of tenant retention for your success. That's why many of our systems focus on tenant satisfaction. On average, our tenants stay with us for three years! That's three years of no turn-over costs and interruption in cash flow.
- Keeping a tenant in your property should be a priority. A long-term tenant saves you money!
- Click here for more information on how we market your property and here to find out more about our leasing commission guarantee.
No. As the owner of the property, it is your decision whether to allow pets or not. Some owners will unequivocally not allow any pets, others will approve only small dogs, while others will accept a dog of any size. Some will allow only one pet and others will allow multiple pets. Some will allow cats, some will not, and others will allow cats only if they have been declawed and spayed or neutered.
If you decide to allow pets, Rollingwood Management always recommends a minimum of a $300 pet deposit per animal living in the home, and the pets must meet our pet criteria.
If you decide not to allow pets within your home, be aware that you will be eliminating almost 60 to 73%% of the rental market, and it will be more difficult to rent your home. If the management company has done its due diligence and properly qualified the resident(s) and collected the proper deposit, the risk of having a pet is minimized.
NOTE: These provisions do not apply to Service Animals. If an applicant has a valid Service Animal, they will be allowed to lease the property.
No, all our properties are non-smoking only. The Tenant Handbook or Rules and Policies clearly state this to the residents. There are substantial financial implications for a tenant that smokes in a property.
Our office staff is trained to protect your confidentiality. However, Texas law now requires we release your name and mailing address if a tenant request that information from us in writing. Some of our owners have set up a PO Box, this can prevent direct contact with a tenant.
If a tenant contacts you, we strongly suggest you not talk with or negotiate any situation with the tenant. If you agree to something that we are unaware of, it could void work we are doing and cause a process to be restarted. Ask your resident to call their property manager and then notify us.
As the owner of the property, you could be held liable for known and some unknown conditions at the property. In most cases, your fire and general liability insurance policy should cover you adequately. However, you should discuss with your insurance company the amount of recommended limits for your situation. Our experience has found that "most owners are underinsured for liability coverage".
You should discuss placing your property into an LLC with your attorney. An LLC was conceived as an alternative to traditional corporations and partnerships. Typically, corporations protect the owners against personal liability for business activities but involve complicated tax and record-keeping problems. Partnerships generally minimize the tax problems but offer no liability protection. Please note: This is not legal advice.
Our management agreement with you has an indemnity clause that places basic liability on the property owner that is no fault of the management company. Insurance companies know this and most will willingly name the property manager as an additional insured at no extra cost. This is important to do, as you want the insurance company to protect us both, in the unlikely event of a lawsuit.
Yes, provided that the current lease is one we can enforce. Once the current lease concludes, we will sign your current resident onto a Texas Association of Realtors lease agreement. In cases where the resident is behind in their rent, we can take the necessary steps to either get them to pay or evict if we cannot obtain payment. Many residents will suddenly find a way to pay the rent or move as soon as they hear that a management company has been secured to follow through with a collection.
We can use your vendors if they fill out a vendor packet to see if they meet our preferred vendor qualifications. In addition to being fully insured (Workman's Comp and Liability), a vendor must agree to a certain level of product quality, response time and warranty provisions. We do this because the service your tenant receives is critically important to us. In-turn, we want to be sure our vendors see it that way as well.
We can't think of a quicker way to tarnish our reputation as a property management company than to turn an unknown level of quality or service over to an unknown vendor to interact with a tenant.
If the vendor cannot meet the criteria we have established for all our vendors, you would have to work directly with them and pay them. We cannot take on the risk of a potential lawsuit and could not guarantee the quality of their work. Additionally, if their work should be of poor quality and require a follow up on our part, we would bill for the property manager's time.
We will get an initial bid for work to be performed, but if additional proposals are requested there will be a service charge to perform this work. The reason for this is that after 30 years in the business, we know who has the best prices, performs quality work and stands behind their work. To work with us, a vendor must agree to competitive pricing, quality work, and guaranty their work. Getting additional estimates requires additional time and slows down the repair process. Often the lowest bidder reflects the adage, "you get what you pay for." That's why we don't use companies we don't know.
It is a waste of time to continue to seek out other bids, but we are willing to do this at the owner’s request. Owners must realize that if vendors give bids at no charge, they are hoping to get the job. If we send vendors out knowing they won’t get the job, eventually they will charge for a bid, or won’t respond to our requests which affect our reputation in the area and makes it harder for us to work with vendors.
No. We use only vendors that provide excellent and prompt service along with the best rates available and that stand behind their work. In this business, it is all about relationships. If we were going to offer a service with an additional fee for administrative work, you would be notified.
Yes, each vendor must agree to adhere to the guidelines of our Preferred Vendor Program in order to do business with our company. This program requires vendors to:
a) provide free estimates and competitive pricing,
b) submit detailed invoices,
c) be available 24 hours a day (if we need them in an emergency),
d) perform criminal background checks on employees going into your property,
e) guarantee quality work with a warranty of labor and materials,
f) alert us to any problems at the property,
g) call for an approval for any repair out of the scope of work they were sent to perform,
h) call for approval if the cost of the repair is going to exceed preset limits, and
j) carry Worker’s Compensation Insurance and general liability insurance.
Residents are required to perform basic maintenance on your property. They must replace burned-out light bulbs, change air filters, fill water softeners, and change smoke alarm batteries and so on. Additionally, we expect them to be able to tighten a loose door handle, push the reset button on a garbage disposal, or reinstall a window screen that may have fallen off. Residents are usually responsible for lawn care unless they are in a property where an owner provides that service. Lawn care is defined as mowing, trimming, watering, and keeping flowerbeds weed-free.
When repairs need to be done outside the scope of the resident's responsibility, one of our in-house maintenance technicians or one of our sub-contractors will be sent to the property. Our maintenance staff is available 24 hours a day, and we guarantee their work.
As an agent of the landlord, we are granted permission by the tenant to run their credit. However, we are not allowed to provide the credit report, or application to the owner without permission from the applicant and most applicants don’t want their personal information being given out. This is very understandable in our current times of identity theft.
Unfortunately, due to liability reasons, we do not manage property that has a pool.
Federal Fair Housing laws are demanding and the fines are huge. Our job as your agent is to protect you from discrimination lawsuits. We take Fair Housing laws very seriously reserve the right to select and approve the most qualified applicant. We can call and present the applicant information to you if requested, but we have the final say.
If an owner refuses to approve the applicant because of discriminatory practices we will cancel our property management contract immediately.
We can start showing the property as soon as possible once it's under contract. However, you know the old adage "first impressions are lasting impressions". The better the property looks, the better the chances of it renting quickly to a quality tenant. We've found that renters typically don't negotiate, they either like property or they don't. If the yard looks rough when they pull up, chances are they won't even come in. If the interior looks rough and isn't clean, they'll just move on to one that's ready to go. This lost time just drives up the Days on Market for the listing and then agents wonder if there's a problem with the property.
If you own rental property, over a period of time, you will have problems of one sort or another. Whether the issues are related to maintaining the property or dealing with the tenant, there will be problems that need to be resolved.
Retaining Rollingwood Management to manage your property will eliminate some but not all potential problems. Our experience will help reduce the number of issues related to rental property. However, problems that can’t be avoided must be solved. Our expertise will help reduce the aggravation and potentially higher expenses related to solving these problems. We can’t prevent all bad things from happening, but we can help solve the problem for you so that you don’t have to handle it yourself.
- Michael Francis