By: Nick Griffith & Nicole Fandel, Director of Conventional Housing and Marketing Specialist
Should I Allow Pets in My Pittsburgh Rental Property?
Many Pittsburgh rental property owners want to know if they should allow pets into their homes or if they should avoid them.
Whether you’re a pet lover or not, there are a lot of pros and cons to discuss when it comes to welcoming pets into your rental property.
Pro-Pets: Resident Pool and Pricing
The main benefit of allowing pets is that you’ll get a larger pool of potential residents interested in your home.
When pet owners have access to your property, you’ll get a larger selection of applicants and a bigger audience of people who want to see your property and lease it.
Today, it seems like almost everyone has a cat or a dog or a hamster that they cherish – pets are part of the family. So, it’s ultimately easier to rent out your home when you decide to allow pets.
Another pro of allowing pets in your rental property is additional revenue.
You’ll have the ability to charge pet rent in addition to the rent your resident pays. People are very attached to their animals, and they’ll be willing to pay a little more to have them in the property.
You can reap those benefits when you allow pets and charge a little more each month to cover potential additional wear and tear.
Can I Charge a Pet Deposit?
Owners will often want to know if they can charge a pet deposit in addition to the security deposit when they allow pets.
In Pennsylvania, the law says that we can only charge a security deposit that’s the equivalent of one month’s rent. So, we don’t typically charge an additional pet deposit because a deposit has to be returned to the residents.
Instead, we charge the pet rent, which generates additional income for our owners every month.
Avoiding Pets: Potential for Damage
The biggest reason that property owners prefer to avoid pets is that there’s a potential for property damage.
We’ve all heard the horror stories: pets might pee on the floors, scratch the carpet, and chew up the baseboards. They can make messes.
Yes, these things can happen; but generally, pets are often well-trained and well-behaved.
If your residents take care of their pets and the property, you won’t have any unnecessary damage.
However, there’s no guarantee. When you’re screening residents and deciding whether or not to accept a pet, you have to consider the animal’s breed, size, and weight.
Consider the applicant as well. You’ll need to determine whether that applicant is a responsible pet owner who can truly care for the animal as well as your property.
Service and Support Animals
Another hot topic is the rise of service animals and emotional support therapy animals.
These are animals that are coming into the property to help the resident perform daily tasks, or help them emotionally through their daily lives.
If a resident has a service or support animal, we cannot discriminate against those animals, even if there’s a strict no-pet policy in place.
To protect your property, we will always ensure the appropriate documentation and supporting medical notes are in place to verify a service animal or an emotional support animal. We don’t want residents to try and skirt the rules, or put our owners in an unfavorable position.
In Conclusion: Pets or No Pets?
Ultimately, the decision to allow pets is up to you, the owner.
Whether you choose to allow pets or not, we have policies, procedures, and documents that ensure that we are compliant with the laws.
We’ll charge your residents an appropriate amount for the added benefit of moving in with their furry friends, and make sure your property is protected.
If you have any questions about pets, or anything at all pertaining to your Pittsburgh rental property, please contact us and we’d be more than happy to help.
When we begin working with a new resident at Arbors Management, we want to make sure we establish and maintain a professional, respectful, and service-oriented relationship. If you’re moving into one of our properties, welcome! We are here to make sure the move-in process is as easy and efficient as possible. We know that moving can be stressful and a bit overwhelming. We’re here to help you and support you in any way we can. (more…)
Should I Renew My Pittsburgh Resident’s Lease?
To Renew or Not To Renew Your Resident’s Lease?
Near the end of every residency, you need to ask yourself whether or not you want to renew your resident’s lease.
Today, we’re talking about what you should consider when you’re making this decision.
Is Your Resident Paying Their Rent on Time?
One factor to consider when you’re thinking about renewing a resident’s lease is if they pay their rent on time.
If they pay on time consistently each month and you’ve never had to send a reminder or ask where their payment is, that’s great – it’s a good reason to renew the lease!
However, if your resident doesn’t pay rent on time each month, you’ll need to decide if you’re okay with that.
If they pay a few days late every month but they always pay, you might find it tolerable since you’d get to collect a late fee.
The tardy payments may be inconvenient, but if you like the extra income that late fees provide, renewing with a resident who pays a little bit late may work out well for you.
Is Your Resident Taking Care of the Property?
Another point to look at is how well the resident keeps up with property maintenance and cleaning.
If you’re consistently receiving maintenance requests because things are breaking or are being damaged, you might not want to keep such residents in your property.
It’s a good idea to do an inspection before you decide on a lease renewal – this will give you an opportunity to look at the condition of your property and evaluate the resident’s living conditions.
If you see damage, pests, or indications that the resident may be violating your lease agreement, there’s a good chance that you may not want to renew.
But if everything looks like it did at the beginning of the lease term, a renewal probably makes sense!
Will You Increase Your Rent?
Lease renewal is a good time to increase rent, which is another decision you’ll have to make when you’re renewing your resident’s lease.
How much can you increase without chasing the resident out?
You’ll need to do a market analysis to know what other residents are paying in rent for properties similar to yours.
If they’re not paying significantly more, you might want to leave the rent where it is so you can retain your high quality residents and avoid turnover expenses.
How Does Arbors Management Help?
Here at Arbors, we conduct a physical inspection of a property 120 to 150 days before the lease expires.
Then, we send the report to the owner through our online portal. You’ll have a chance to review the inspection report and our recommendations for how much rent should be increased.
You can review that information and decide if you agree, if you’d like to make a different rental increase, or if you don’t want to do one at all.
You can also tell us if you’d rather not renew the current resident’s lease – we’re here to move forward with what you want to do.
Once we have confirmation on how to proceed, we’ll coordinate with the resident and send them the paperwork to successfully complete the renewal process, if you so choose.
All in All…
Deciding whether or not to renew your current resident’s lease can be challenging, but when it comes down to it, you really just need to consider 3 big questions:
- Does your resident pay their rent on time?
- Is your resident caring for your property?
- Do you plan on increasing your rent?
Once you work through those questions, whether it be on your own or with professional guidance from Arbors, you should be able to reach a sound decision.
If you need help deciding whether or not to renew your resident’s lease, contact us at Arbors Management – we’d be more than happy to help!
By: Nick Griffith, Director of Conventional Housing
At Arbors Management, we believe the best way to avoid the eviction process and troublesome residents is by conducting a strict screening process before a resident even moves in.
Our resident screening process includes a close look at income, criminal histories, and credit histories. We have a rent collection process that works, and if eviction becomes necessary – we have a process for that, too.
Collecting Rent from Pittsburgh Residents
Before the residency even begins, we set the expectations with the resident about how we anticipate rent being paid. We let them know that rent is due on the first. They know when and how to pay it, and they know what the consequences will be if it’s not paid on time.
If payment is not received after the fifth of the month, we assess a late fee. We also send formal letters to the resident notifying them that rent is late. We tell them how much they owe and that we expect an immediate payment. This letter is sent to document the late rent. In addition to the letter, we also call, email, and text residents throughout the month to make sure they understand what they owe and why we are trying to collect it.
Filing a Landlord Resident Complaint
In the event a resident doesn’t pay rent, we file a Landlord Resident Complaint at the local magistrate. Typically, we will file this during the first week of the second month of rent being late. This means it will still be less expensive for the resident to catch up with rent than it would be to move out and find a new place to live.
We receive a court date, and we’ll go to court on your behalf to obtain a judgment in the amount owed plus court fees. Once this judgment is issued, the residents have 10 days to pay the rent. If they don’t pay the full amount within those 10 days, we can file an Order of Possession. Once we do that, the court gives the resident an additional 10 days to pay the rent. The eviction can only commence on the 11th day after the possession order is filed.
Professional Pittsburg Property Management
If the resident appeals the judgment, the case could go to a higher court level. At that point, we would need to involve an attorney. We are professional property managers, but we aren’t attorneys, so we cannot represent you at a higher court.
Many owners want to know what we charge for these services and the time we spend on paperwork and court appearances. The answer is – we don’t believe we should charge you for a bad resident or someone not paying rent. Our philosophy is that you should only be charged on the rent we collect. So, there’s no fee for us filing the Landlord Resident Complaint. The courts do have fees that you’ll be responsible for paying, but those will be passed along to the resident for your reimbursement.
We avoid evictions and late rental payments whenever possible. If you have any questions about our professional Pittsburg property management services, please contact us at Arbors Management.
How Arbors Management Provides Irreplaceable Value to Residents
Working with a professional property management company offers landlords and investors a lot of benefits and advantages:
- You save time
- You save money
- Less headaches
- Less hassle that often comes along with owning a rental property
Most importantly: you have access to experience, tools, and resources that only professional managers can bring to the table.
Residents also benefit from a professionally managed home.
With over 40 years of experience, we’ve found that property owners who utilize our management services have happier residents!
Because we’re responsive, accountable, and able to implement programs and systems that allow for a better and more efficient rental process.
Online Rent Payments and Maintenance Requests
Technology has delivered a number of innovative software systems and online platforms that help us manage your property more efficiently and effectively.
For example, we offer online portals where residents can pay rent and submit maintenance requests.
This is extremely convenient – our residents don’t have to worry about late rent payments or forgotten repair needs. Everything is documented and electronic.
Residents can pay rent whenever is convenient for them; in the middle of the night, during a lunch break, in the evening, literally whenever!
Our residents also have the ability to schedule future or recurring payments, and contact us about maintenance issues at any time and from any place.
Easy Application Procedures
Not only do we have online portals for current residents, but our applications for prospective residents are all online as well.
Residents are able to fill out an application online, then quickly and easily upload any of the supporting documentation required.
This allows our team to screen and verify information quickly and electronically, ultimately providing applicants with our decision faster.
We also list our available properties online!
Our online listings are user-friendly and accurate.
They also include photos, allowing residents to get an idea of what the property is like before applying!
It’s easy to contact a designated Leasing Specialist, and showings can be scheduled electronically as well.
With Arbors Management, the entire process from browsing to renting is paperless and efficient.
Hassle-Free Lease Signing
Once a resident is approved for a property, the leasing process is simple.
Residents will be able to review the entire lease and any addenda online. They can email or call us with any questions and then sign it with an electronic signature.
We will execute the lease on our end, and a copy goes into the online resident portal, which can be accessed at any time.
The security deposit can also be paid online, and residents don’t have to talk to us unless they have a question or need support.
We’re happy to offer our residents such a convenient and simplified process while still being available to provide assistance every step of the way.
Remaining Responsive and Accessible
On that note, one of the many reasons Arbors residents love working with us is because we are available and easy to reach.
Phone calls do not go unreturned and emails are not ignored.
We know the law, we’re accountable to the lease agreement, and we treat all of our residents fairly and consistently.
All in All…
We provide value to you and your residents by being present and using our experience to manage your property better.
Our goal is to use all of our tools and resources to make this a pleasant, successful leasing period for all parties.
If you have any questions about what we do and how our professional property managers provide value, please contact us at Arbors Management.
We’d love to tell you more!