Choosing the right property management firm isn’t easy, but as a landlord it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make. So, regardless of whether this is the first property you’ve owned or if you’ve been investing for years, you’re going to have a lot of questions for the businesses under consideration.
And that’s good! We can’t stress enough how important it is to really talk with a firm before selecting them; the more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to make an informed, confident decision. Some points you’ll want to cover are expectations you have for the business, as well as expectations the business has for you. Other key areas to discuss are tenant screening and oversight; interior and exterior maintenance provisions; financial management services; and all associated fees.
Starting that dialogue will allow you to dig deeper, get a sense of the company, and determine if it’s really the right property management firm for you. So to help, we’ve pulled together the most common questions we hear from landlords working with us for the first time. If you are considering Arbors Management, this list should help start your evaluation process and give you a firm line of questioning to expand from when you’re ready to talk with us further.
6 most common questions from property owners:
1. How does Arbors Management handle maintenance requests and when will I get notified if something needs to be done at the property?
Generally, we take and respond to maintenance-request calls during normal business hours. In the event a tenant calls after hours, however, they will leave their request with an answering service. From there, we determine if the request is an emergency and, if it is, we dispatch a vendor to address the issue quickly. If it’s not, we simply handle the request on the next business day. All of our vendors have been screened thoroughly and have the proper insurances, including general liability and workers compensation. And we only use professionals we know will give us the best quality work for the money spent, so that you don't overspend on your property.
To keep you informed of any work on your property(ies), we provide monthly report that details all expenses, including work orders and invoices from vendors. However, if an issue exceeds a certain dollar amount outlined in our Management Agreement (referred to as the Maintenance Limit), you will be contacted immediately so that you can give your approval before work commences. This ensures you have a say in all large expenditures on your property.
2. If a tenant does not pay, what is your process of eviction and do you charge extra for handling this process?
We try to be proactive when it comes to tenant selection and ensure we only accept tenants who have the ability to pay. This really is the best way to avoid rent-collection challenges all together. That being said, we have a very straightforward plan in place to address any past dues or delinquencies.
Typically we expect rent to be paid by our tenants on the 1st of the month and anything received after the 5th is considered late. If a tenant has not paid by the 10th of the month, we send out late letters. If the payment still isn’t received, we place phone calls to the tenant (around the 20th – 25th of the month).
If the tenant still hasn’t paid by the first week of the second month, we will file at the local district justice's office and attend the hearing to move forward with eviction, if necessary. This service is part of our management fee, so the only additional fee required of you would be the filing fees*.
*In the extremely rare case that the tenant appeals and the case goes to the Court of Common Pleas, you (as the property owner) would have to appear with us. Alternatively, you could hire an attorney to represent yourself, as we are not allowed to represent you at this level.
3. What is required by a tenant to qualify to rent from Arbors?
Applicants must clear five screening qualifications to become a tenant:
i. Credit Screening
First they must meet certain credit criteria, which become tougher as the rent amount increases. Based on the results, applicants will fall into one of three tiers. The first tier is Accept, where tenants pay first month's rent and security deposit to move in. The second tier is Low Accept, where tenants pay first month's rent, last month's rent, and security deposit to move in. The final tier is a Decline, where the applicant is turned away.
Our criminal policies depend upon two factors: the severity of the crime (felony, misdemeanor, and petty/summary) and the length of time since the offense. Tenants are evaluated based on these factors, and are either accepted or declined as a result.
We pull the local district justice records to see if a tenant has ever had a complaint filed against them. If they have an eviction in the last five (5) years or another type of judgment in the last three (3) years, their application will be declined.
An applicant(s) must make three (3) times the monthly rental amount, based on either their gross wage earnings (if they are employed by a business) or their net income (if they are self-employed). Their income is determined based on two recent pay stubs, or on last year’s tax return along with two recent bank statements, depending on the aforementioned employment status. We will also accept an offer letter from a company if the person is switching jobs or just moving in to town.
We contact the applicant’s current and previous landlord to make sure that they are leaving/left in good standing. If they did not, their application is denied.
If the applicant passes the screening, they must then fill out all of the required paperwork along with addenda, and pay the rent and security deposit before moving in
4. When do I get paid?
Your investment income will be sent to you via direct deposit (ACH) into your chosen bank account. The monies will arrive at the end of the month, once all the monthly bills on the property have been paid. At this time, you will also receive the monthly reports that we’ve collectively selected to suit your specific needs.
5. How much will my apt, house, condo rent for?
The rent amount for your property depends on many factors, including:
· Size of Home
· Condition of Home
In order to give you a better estimate, we would need to review your property. Once we’ve completed the review, we can give you a proposal that includes the suggested rent amount.
6. Are tenants permitted to have pets?
This is completely up to you, and your decision to allow or not allow pets can change from property to property. If you do choose to allow pets on a property(ies), we will handle the pet deposit and/or pet rent for the owner, along with the appropriate addendum to the lease. We will also handle the move out inspection, and will charge the tenant for any damages caused by the pet(s).