Q: How do you screen prospective new tenants?
A: We provide full background checks (including criminal, credit and civil) on all prospective tenants.
We do not take any applicants who have had felonies in the past 10 years
(we do not take violent felons, violent misdemeanors, or assault), and
do not take anyone with prior evictions or any apartment/landlord
We physically call and verify income and employment on each applicant.
We require VERIFIABLE income equal to 2 ½ times the monthly rental amount.
Rental owners may also change rental qualification parameters based upon
market conditions, so long as they are uniformly applied at a property.
Q: How do you advertise?
A: We have a corporate account with ShowMojo
, which syndicates our ads to more than 30 various rental sites, including craigslist. We also utilize our website to advertise all of our open listings with direct links for prospects to schedule a showing online at their own convenience. Physically, we use banners if needed and have signs at each of our properties. With the amount of signs we have in the community we generally receive over 150 inquiry calls per day, giving us the ability to place more tenants in more buildings as well as increase our “pre-lease” rate.
Q: How do you determine new market rents?
A: We look at other similar units/areas and conduct ongoing market studies to determine rental rates. Often rates are determined through the amount of showings and market rate of our own similar properties in the same areas. Availability, condition, amenities and timing are all factors we consider. We work with ownership to determine what goals they would like to achieve and then set an actionable plan in place to achieve them.
Q: How do you determine rent increases for existing tenants, and how often?
A: We send a letter to the current tenant 45 days in advance of their lease termination date with two options: a one-year rate and a month-to-month rate. We currently average about 3% increases unless the market makes a dramatic change in either direction. Of course, as every building and ownership group is different, we work with them individually to achieve their goals.
Q: I would like all leases to be 1 year. Month-to-month after 1 year would be ok, but perhaps an additional m-t-m monthly fee?
A: We normally offer only one-year leases when advertising a vacant unit. Lease renewals are generally given two options: one-year or month-to-month terms. Each option has a different price point depending on term and marketability. We work with our owners to identify and retain good tenants AND increase rents as possible but realize what the true unit turn costs are. As in all things, lease renewals often can become a negotiation, but we attempt to maximize return and stability on behalf of ownership.
Q: What is your charge for maintenance jobs that are done in house?
I.E. what are the charges for snow removal? plumbing? electrical? heating/boiler issues?
A: Our in-house maintenance staff is billed at $50/hr. In addition to their vast contracting and overall maintenance experience, our maintenance specialists can also do basic plumbing and electrical repairs in addition to exceptional appliance repair skills. If it is a boiler issue or other larger/more complicated items then we typically use our outside vendors (unless ownership has specified their own) whose prices may vary, normally around $85/hr + materials. Most of our vendors have worked with us for the better part of a decade. They are reliable, reasonable and responsive. We strive to make the process as transparent as possible so that ownership can easily determine why expenses were incurred and what work was completed.
We only employ insured, licensed professionals to protect ownership.
Q: What is your general turnover rate? What turnover rate would you anticipate at our building?
A: Turnover greatly depends on the property as we manage many different
types of properties. Usually, once we get our management policies in place
and get the tenants that we have screened into the units, we would
anticipate a low turnover rate.
Q: What is your vacancy rate? What would you anticipate it to be at our Building?
A: In this market we have a very low vacancy rate, some of our buildings maintain 100% occupancy and the largest vacancy we have right now is 2% (excepting units under construction in major remodeling projects.)
Q: What is your eviction rate?
A: Again, this depends on the building type, but usually once we manage
a property for at least 6 months, the eviction rate is very low.
Q: How do you handle evictions? What are the charges?
A: We conduct our evictions as follows:
Rents are normally due on the 1st and considered late after the 3rd. On the 4th day of the month a $50 late fee is assessed and a daily charge of $10 per day begins accruing on any outstanding balance. Between the 4th and the 6th, depending on what day the 4th falls on, tenants with outstanding rent balances are served with a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit, and an additional $30 posting fee is charged to the tenant. Should the tenant not pay their rent in the 3 day period and a reasonable compromise not be reached, they are sent to the Eviction Attorney ($250) to begin eviction proceedings. Should the tenant not show up to court, we then order a writ immediately which schedules the Sheriff to conduct the eviction ($135 but varies by County). Should it come to physical eviction, we usually need to have 3-8 workers at the site to remove all of the tenant’s belongings within 45 minutes. This cost usually runs around $250 - $750, depending on help needed and amount of debris/furniture left behind.
We manage about 750 units and rarely have a physical eviction.
Usually we can get the tenant out without doing the eviction and save
ownership money. Often times, once filed with the attorney, the tenant
will move out on their own, incurring only the Attorney fee to the ownership.
We strongly emphasize to the tenants the benefits of voluntarily surrendering
the units promptly and in good condition.
We have brought many buildings up-market over the years. Often this involves evictions and vacancies. We discuss this with all of our owners PRIOR to dramatically altering the status quo. Once we instill a plan of action and have identified the “bad actors” we strongly encourage tenants to vacate in an attempt to lower the cost associated with eviction and speed up the timeline to get the unit re-rented.
Q: What do your leases look like and what addendums do you add?
A: We use an attorney-drafted lease, which has is vetted by the industry group and periodically updated in accordance with the changes in both legislative and judicial proceedings. We offer electronic lease signings for convenience, quality organizational record-keeping and to stay abreast of technology trends.
Addendums include: Lead-based Paint; Mold; Smoke-free (includes all
forms of smoke unilaterally); Marijuana Addendum, Drug/Crime-free;
Pest control; Property Rules and Regulations (Customized for the property);
Keys and Parking Regulations; Smoke/CO Detector Addendum; Utility Billing
(Per vendor); Pet Addendum; Parking Addendum
Q: How often does one of your staff show up at the property and walk through looking for maintenance issues? How often is there an inspection of each unit looking for deferred maintenance? My experience is without a quarterly (or more frequent) unit walk through
A: We conduct site inspections quite often. Our maintenance staff is trained to look for issues and our leasing team takes detailed notes at each property visit. We like to get into the units as often as possible without disturbing residents’ quiet enjoyment. We monitor water usage by reviewing each monthly water bill. We also explain very thoroughly at lease signing the importance of these issues. We do schedule building inspections on our buildings but also simple monthly communication with tenants about various items such as water, garbage disposals, heat during very cold days, etc keeps them in communication with us.
Q: I would like to be informed of any significant maintenance problem, say anything over $1000.
A: We set a number based on conversations with each owner (typically around $1200), depending on the condition of the building and anticipated capital expenditures. Of course, in exigent emergency circumstances where the property is at risk, we first protect the asset as needed.
Q: What are your policies regarding police and complaints? Have there been any incidents with police involved? If so, please elaborate.
A: The Crime Free Addendum allows us to address most issues related to police activity.
Simply by causing the police presence by either the tenant or their GUESTS we can
initiate eviction if needed. Most times we can handle the situation by communication
and a warning letter but repeated or drastic violations are not tolerated.
Q: What are your policies regarding renting to felons?
A: We do not take violent felons ever, and we will CONSIDER felons with non violent felonies over 10 years old WITH a clean history.
Q: How do you handle service dogs, vs therapy pets vs pets? You can’t charge for service dogs, but what about therapy pets? There are currently pets (dogs and cats) and there are pet rents, as well as pet deposits (some nonrefundable).
A: Tenants must have a certificate for a service animal in order for them not to be charged the fees. On most of our properties, we charge a non-refundable pet fee (not a deposit) of $250 with an additional pet rent of $25/mo per pet. All pet damage is treated as any other damage and charged to the tenant accordingly. Some owners of properties decline to allow pets and we enforce their desires to maintain a pet free community.
Q: Are there any other costs you would be passing along to me that are
not included in the management percentage, such as a leasing fee, or maintenance on a per hour basis?
A: Maintenance is staff is billed at $50/hr. After hours and non scheduled weekend rates are $75 per hour. All of our employees are covered by workers compensation insurance and have passed background checks. We do charge leasing/re-leasing fees as well as a software fee of $2/unit/month.
We charge a one-time set up fee of $45 per unit.
Any fees for services charged to the tenants and paid by the tenants to
us would not be charged to the building owner. Examples would be notice
posting fees, lock out/let in fees, etc.
Q: I would need to have most rents deposited into my checking account by the 9th day of the month, since the mortgage will be automatically withdrawn on the 11th. Would this timing be an issue?
A: We always recommend our clients to have enough funds on hand for one month of payments. We collect rents, pay vendors, submit our invoice by the 15th, then EFT the remaining funds to the ownership on or near the 25th of each month. Our software is VERY transparent and easy to use. We could do an EFT on the 5th of each month and simply place a reserve in the account that should cover the remaining month repairs, fees, and other vendor accounts. We can also pay the mortgage out of the operating account for the property if desired.
Q: How are the security deposits handled?
A: We maintain separate escrow accounts for security deposits. We issue each vacating tenant a Statement of Deposit Account (SODA) within 30 of 60 days of their surrender of the premises, in accordance with Colorado law. Of course each letter indicates any charges, balances due or refund amounts.
Q: Typically how much do you increase rents after 1 year? I like to increase rents but not so much that the tenants move out. My experience is that an increase of $25 won’t cause tenants to move, but I don’t know what the market can bear in downtown/uptown Denver.
A: Depending on market conditions, we attempt to do 3% increases. In discussing the building plan with ownership we develop a plan of action to keep increases in line with the market. We understand the importance of stability and the costs that unit turns incur. It is necessary at times to reconcile the cost of a unit turn with the possibility of driving a good tenant to vacate over a marginal amount.
Q: There are some significant deferred maintenance issues identified in the property inspection which we will also need to discuss. I am arranging for them to be done as soon as possible after closing with funds escrowed at closing. Can you help me with these?
A: We can assist in these repairs and plans if desired. We have worked with many property owners to correct issues and move properties up-market. We have a comprehensive stable of reliable contractors which with we have worked with for many years as well as a wealth of construction experience. We strive to balance good, quality workmanship with both the timing and budget of the ownership and are not afraid to challenge contractors pricing and scope of work. We view each building as if it were our own.