All maintenance requests are directed to our office either through the resident portal, by mail, or by calling the office directly. If the request is not an emergency, we ask the resident to go through the preventive checklist provided. The resident is asked to check breakers, reset buttons and switches, and so on, to solve the problem themselves and/or to more fully determine the nature of the issue. If this does not successfully solve the problem, the appropriate service technician or company is dispatched to the property. Corrective action is taken, and we will contact the owner if the cost exceeds authorized limits.
Should it be determined the resident is the root cause as it relates to the maintenance issue, these expenses will be billed directly back to the resident.
We use a combination of in-house maintenance staff for minor work order requests and make-readies, and third-party contractors, such as electricians, plumbers, and HVAC companies, to control the response time and to increase resident satisfaction in our managed properties.
- Maximum Spending Limits
This is typically set at $300 per property and is agreed upon by the owner and property manager. The maximum spending authorization for routine items is written into the management contract.
In the event of an emergency, such as fire, uncontrolled running water, or inoperative locks, and to preserve the property or protect it from damage or to ensure the well-being and safety of the residents, emergency action will be taken without owner approval. In such an event, you will be notified at our first opportunity.
- Make Ready Expenses
In order to meet the expectations of a new resident, it is often necessary to steam clean carpets, paint the interior, make sure all locks and hardware work correctly, and have all appliances in good working order. Make-ready costs are incurred even in cases where a prior resident has vacated and has received a full refund of the security deposit. In such cases, make-ready costs are incurred to improve property condition from the prior tenant’s normal wear and tear.
Current law requires that rental properties be equipped with smoke detection devices. If your property does not have functioning smoke detection devices, we will have them installed at the owner’s expense. At the time of resident turnover, batteries are checked and replaced, if needed.
By law, the owner is required to re-key the property at each resident turnover, to provide keyless deadbolts on all exterior doors, to provide operable window latches on all windows, to equip front doors with peepholes, and to provide sliding glass doors with security locks. Compliance costs regarding locks are at the owner’s expense.
- Processing Invoices
A service company’s invoice is checked for accuracy on the following items: address, billing rate, purchase order number, and that the work has been performed satisfactorily. After review, the bill is internally approved for payment and is paid from the owner’s operating account.
The owner is responsible for mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance coverage, and escrow account maintenance. Therefore, direct contact with the mortgage company by the owner is highly recommended.
- Normal Wear and Tear vs. Abuse and Misuse
The difference between normal wear and tear, and abuse, is a judgment call on the part of the property manager. When a resident has occupied a property for an extended period of time, that is, longer than six months, there may be some routine work needed such as carpet cleaning, touch-up painting, and so on. Most of the time these expenses cannot be charged to a prior resident’s security deposit, yet the work still needs to be done to attract quality residents and command top rental rates. These expenses are considered normal wear and are borne by the owner.
If damage is deemed to be beyond normal wear, considering length of occupancy and initial property condition, a charge is levied against the resident’s security deposit.
If utilities have been turned off at the time of checkout, it is impossible to determine whether appliances are operable, light bulbs functioning, air conditioning/heating working properly, and so on. Therefore, we often have utilities turned on, in the owner’s name, in order to do inspections and perform make-ready work.
- Security Deposit Disposition
Once the resident completes our “Move-in Inventory and Condition” form, we are better able to determine and assess resident charges at move-out. Items noted as dirty or broken will not be charged to the resident upon move-out. However, repairs may still be needed and, in such event, will be paid for out of the owner’s operating account.
It is the policy of the company that unless a security deposit charge is fully legitimate, the full security deposit will be refunded. The liability of wrongfully withholding a security deposit far outweighs the amount being withheld. A wrongfully withheld security deposit costs triple the amount wrongfully withheld, $100.00 in civil damages, and attorney’s fees. By law, you, as landlord, and we, as your representative, have 30 days from move-out to refund a security deposit and/or account for any monies deducted.
For these reasons, all security deposits are held with our company in a separate escrow account.
At a minimum, the property will be inspected by our maintenance division at least twice per year during the renewal time of the lease and six months thereafter. Additionally, our management, leasing and maintenance team frequently drive by the property as we are constantly out in the field.
- Rehabilitation Projects
The scope of our services includes the management of major renovations, such as a new roof, repairing the foundation, or remodeling a room. These projects are above and beyond standard services requests and require project management supervision. We manage a group of subcontractors to complete these projects in a timely and cost-effective manner.