If you are new to renting or perhaps even a veteran renter and have rented for years, chances are some of the policies or requirements make you go “hmmmmm”. There are so many factors that go into renting policies between the investor/owner, Management Company, the tenant, the time of year, the location, type of property, local regulations, etc. so I thought that it may be nice to give some “behind the scenes” answers to some commonly asked questions.
- Why do I have to pay an application fee?It is often surprising to individuals not in the industry that the Property Management or Agency doesn’t “generate” the credit and background report themselves. This report actually comes from a different agency and these reports actually cost a fee to the company requesting the report. This fee is generally passed on to the applicant which is why you have to pay a fee.
- Why do I have to pay an application fee for everyone over 18 when I’m the one who will be paying the rent?That’s a very common question and a great one. It would make sense that only the person that is paying the rent would need to qualify; however, an application fee covers not only the credit for the applicant, it also includes background history as well as eviction history. Both the background, eviction and rental collections that may show up on a report are important deciding factors, even if the individual isn’t the primary source of income, an eviction on a record may be an immediate disqualifier for an application as a whole.
- Why is the pet deposit so high and why do I have to pay a deposit for each pet?Pet deposits range widely from company to company and some charge pet rent as well. As you may guess, the most common damage from a pet is carpet damage. Sometimes steam cleaning and enzyme treatment works for damage like urine and sometimes it doesn’t. If there is torn carpet, it has to be patched or replaced. When you consider the low end cost to replace carpet in a very small unit is $1000 or more, a $500 pet deposit seems fairly minimal. Beyond carpet, most properties see at least minimal pet impact such as extra cleaning to remove hair and dander, replacement of blinds, scratches to doors, chewed up baseboards, etc. Even a few small things like blinds, scratches to a door and extra pet hair can also add up to more than a few hundred dollars fairly quickly. Even great, well behaved pets leave a trace! And the nice thing is many companies refund your pet deposit if there isn’t any damage.
- Why can’t I have a reptile as a pet?While we love all kinds of critters, usually reptiles require feeding of live bugs or rodents. When insects and rodents get loose, they create more insects and rodents and can cause a fairly sizeable issue. This can be an especially big problem at multi-complex properties.
- Why can’t I change my own locks?Usually, if a complex doesn’t have special types of electronic locks, it may not be a problem with the actual changing of locks. The biggest concern is for your safety and the safety of others. When an emergency call comes in from the unit below stating that there is a flood, and you’re not home, we have to be able to get in without causing more damage. If you have changed your locks and we don’t have a key, we have to damage a door or a window and that makes a potentially small problem that much worse. The best thing to do is always just check with your manager first and chances are, they can facilitate this for you for a reasonable fee.
- My neighbor’s apartment is exactly the same as mine, buy I’m paying more?This is a great question as well and generally revolves around a lot of other factors. Usually prices for rentals fluctuate based on the market as well as the time of year the lease was signed. Also, sometimes longer leases may receive a reduced rent benefit than a shorter term lease. So if your neighbor is paying less, chances are they rented at a different time than you, or the length of lease was different!
Happy renting and hopefully this little bit of insider information will help! If you have any specific questions that I can answer for another blog, reply or email me at RitaRents@PrimePropertyManagement.com and let me know, I always love to know what renters are thinking and how I can shed a little more light!