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6 Things You Should Know Before You Rent

Moving to a new rental property can be hard and full of anxiety.  If it’s your first time renting or your 15th, you may not know what to expect from a new landlord or property management company.

 

The Landlord/Tenant laws are always changing; do you know your rights as a tenant?  Day Property Management can help walk you through the rental process and protect your rights.

 

Six things you should know before you rent

 

  1. Property owners can’t advertise or rent condemned units or units that violate housing codes—This keeps all rental property safe and functional for renters.

 

You shouldn’t sign a rental agreement, place a deposit, or earnest money on a property until you make sure it’s a safe place to live.  Landlords are supposed to disclose any code violations they know about.  Ask the owner or management company about any violations against the property for code, health, or safety issues that have not been fixed.

 

  1. Landlords must tell you if the utilities are included or separate, how utilities are split per apartment (if not metered separately), and the total amount of rent plus any non-refundable fees. ––Knowing this, you can estimate your monthly costs. You can then make sure the rental unit fits your budget.

 

  1. Renters are able to inspect the unit before deciding to rent. When you go to the showing, make sure the following items work properly:

 

Lights and switches— all work with no popping noises

Outlets –bring something small to plug in, a hair dryer is a good test tool, test them all

Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets–Make sure sinks drain, are not leaking and water temp changes properly

Toilets– check for leaks, toilets that keep running, flush properly

Smoke detectors–should be right outside each bedroom and in the main common area on each floor if 2 or more stories

Ceilings and walls– look for cracks and water stains, it could mean there are bigger issues such as the roof or foundation

Deadbolts on exterior doors– safety should always be a main priority

Windows– make sure windows are secure, locks work and storm windows and screens are available if not on

Furnace and A/C– turn the temperature up and down to make sure it kicks on

Water heater– look for leaks

 

If you find any repair issues, get a list in writing of promised repairs and an estimated completion date.

 

Don’t sign a rental agreement until you receive this list.  It will safeguard you from unnecessary repairs during your rental agreement.

 

  1. Rental agreements DO NOT have to be in writing, agreements can be verbal. Most landlords do use written leases.  You have the right to read it before signing

 

If you decide to rent, you have the right a copy of the rental agreement.  Keep this in a safe place.  You can refer to it if you have any questions during your rental period.

 

  1. Landlords must tell you upfront about fees such as earnest money, security deposits or credit check fees.

 

Earnest money:  If You decide not to rent, the landlord may withhold costs or damages.  Upon rejecting an application, the management company or landlord must return your earnest money by the end of the next business day.

 

 

Security deposits are always a misunderstood area.  This should help clear up any confusion.  When you move in, you have 7 days to inspect and tell the management company of any repair issues.  You should get a check-in sheet to keep track of any issues you find.  If not, make your own.  Be sure to make a copy before turning it in to the landlord.

 

If you don’t turn in the check in sheet within those 7 days, you will be giving up your right to show there were pre-existing issues when you moved in.  You will not be able to contest money taken from your security deposit when you move out.

 

Landlords can deduct money from your security deposit for unpaid rent, damages tenants are responsible for due to waste or neglect and utility bills.  If you keep your unit clean, fix anything that you or your guests damage and inform the management company when issues start, you’ll get more of your security deposit back when you move.

 

Property management companies and landlords have 21 days to return you deposit along with an itemized list of any deductions.

 

You also have the right to see a list of damages charged to the previous tenant.

 

It is necessary to run a credit report when renting.   Landlords may charge you up to $20 to run a credit report from one of the national agencies as long as you know in advance.

 

You can provide a credit report, if you have one that is less than 30 days old and save yourself any fees.

 

  1. Pets are not always welcome—Before you buy that cute dog, kitty or huge fish tank, check your lease. There are dog breeds that due to insurance regulations, landlords can’t have in rental properties for tenant safety and safety of the neighbors.  Don’t put yourself in the situation of having to get rid of a new pet because you didn’t check with your management company first.

 

Most leases have limits on the weight of a fish tank due to damage they can do to the floor.  It is a smart move to again consult your lease for specifications.

 

Some properties only allow dogs or cats.  Follow the lease agreement and you will find a pet covered by the rules and one that makes you happy.

 

For a full explanation of the Landlord/Tenant regulations summarized here, you can visit the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection of WI or click the link here.

 

If you have any questions about the rental process or to locate a house or apartment to rent, contact a local property management company such as Day Property Management in Appleton at 920-968-0626 or dayprop@hotmail.com to help you.

 

Protect your rights and start renting your new home or apartment today!

 

Top 5 Qualities of a Great Property Manager

Top 5 Qualities of a Great Property Manager

 

Communication

It may be an overused phrase but it’s the number one thing that all property managers need to have. Excellent communication! This doesn’t just mean communicating with their tenants, but also with clients, vendors and even internal communication. Let’s say a tenant calls with a maintenance request, this now immediately puts you in the situation of needing to communicate with 3 different people: the tenant about their request, the owner to get approval and with the vendor to get everything scheduled appropriately. One miss-step and this whole situation can become a nightmare.  Plus, if you don’t keep the rest of your office abreast of the situation, then they could be calling a different vendor, or updating the owner/tenants with inaccurate information. Great property managers recognize this and strive to keep the lines of communication open with all their contacts.

Curiosity

Great property managers think about things from multiple options and question every situation they are in. Whether it be investigating why a long-term tenant has suddenly given notice, or looking at their current marketing strategies and looking into other options to see if they are getting the most bang for their buck. “They’re not afraid to ask questions, do research, and delegate to others the task of finding solutions” (Courtenay, 2017). It’s in the nature of most people in this field to want to understand why some things work and others don’t so that they can make sure that all of their clients and tenants are getting the absolute best options available.

Humility

Humility is one of those traits that often gets overlooked or misconstrued as a lack of confidence. “With their humility comes a sense of altruism and a desire to know they are making a positive contribution to society” (Courtenay, 2017). This is a trait that great property managers have because if they don’t they often come across as over-confident or even condescending when trying to explain things. Property Managers can’t be driven by their egos or we would never be able to bite our tongues when a tenant or a client pushes us to the edge. We must be able to admit responsibility for mistakes and sometimes take the brunt of a tenant’s frustration even when we have no control over a situation.

Organization

Organization is very import throughout all aspects of our lives, but it’s also one of the most important traits that property managers can have. We need to have information readily available for clients, owners, vendors and realtors depending on who we are working with at the time. Without organization, something important will fall through the cracks. Luckily, the era that we’re currently in encourages use of technology to assist in staying organized. It allows us access to cloud based storage of information and property management software. As well as, general access to all the information on our properties. Sure beats having to search through paperwork or binders to find. Technology is a property manager’s best friend when it comes to staying organized.

Flexibility.. and the lack thereof

As a property manager we must be flexible and be able to go with the flow. When an owner or a vendor calls with a last-minute change to a long-term project, you have to be able to jump on board and start assisting them. You need to get the situation resolved in the most efficient way possible. On the flip side of that coin, we need to know when we can’t be firm. It is okay to allow some leeway for a long term, good paying tenant if they have a ‘situation’ come up. However, when it becomes a habit you have to know when to put your foot down. It’s a balancing act that having too much of one or the other can cause you to topple. A great property manager knows just the right balance of flexibility to have. They also know when someone is trying to take advantage of that.

Courtenay, M. (2017, April 10). 5 Qualities and Habits of Great Property Managers. Retrieved April 11, 2017, from http://www.propertymanager.com/2017/04/5-qualities-and-habits-of-great-property-managers/

Protect Your Privacy

How important is your privacy?

We feel strongly about our privacy that’s why we were so shocked to learn about this bill that has been in

the works since October of last year. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are trying to pass a bill that will allow them to sell our browsing history to other companies without our permission. They can currently sell the information but only as completely faceless, meaning that they can sell that someone is going to these sites, but not pinpoint it directly at any specific person or household. However, the bill they are attempting to pass currently would allow them to pass on person/household specific information.

This information could not only allow them to see what sites you frequent, but “ISPs might be able to figure out where you bank, your political views, and your sexual orientation based on what sites you visit” (Brodkin, 2017). More disturbing than this is that not only would they be able to see sites you visit, but also when you are and are not home, as well as where you shop, where your children go to school, where your extended families live, as well as track what health problems you may be having. This opens the door to all kinds of people being able to access this information and discover when your home, when your whole family is home, and/or when your children are home alone.

How do we protect ourselves from this?

There are a few options to try and protect yourself from this invasion of privacy though. The first being to contact your ISP and ask them how to opt out of this invasion of privacy. Another option is to use a VPN to encrypt everything that you do online. However, this option does cost money and depending on the VPN you choose the price can vary immensely. The third option, and the one we suggest above all others is to contact your state representatives and tell them not to pass this bill and impress upon them how strongly you feel about this breach of your privacy. For those in other states, a simple internet search can provide you with your current representatives and ways to contact them. If you live in Wisconsin, we have the information here for you. If you want more information on this, please read this article!

ARS Technica Article

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/03/how-isps-can-sell-your-web-history-and-how-to-stop-them/

Contact Ron Johnson

https://www.ronjohnson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-the-senator

Contact Tammy Baldwin

https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/feedback

 

Brodkin – Mar 24, 2017 4:20 pm UTC, Jon. “How ISPs can sell your Web history—and how to stop them.” Ars Technica. N.p., 24 Mar. 2017. Web. 27 Mar. 2017. <https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/03/how-isps-can-sell-your-web-history-and-how-to-stop-them/>.

Questions to ask about a prospective tenant

 

Your present resident has given proper notice to vacate, you also know because of performing your diligent inspections that the unit will not need any cleaning or repairs. Now starts the process of finding a new resident which will require reference checks and background checks. There are five basic questions that need to be asked of their current landlord:

Did the prospective resident pay rent on time and in full at their present residence?

This question will help you decide if the prospective resident is a responsible individual and should avoid the extra work required, serving notices and having to chase down a resident who is        slow to pay or not pay at all.

Did the prospective resident take care of the residence?

It is important to know if the prospective resident took good care of the property and if they caused any damage and if it was beyond normal wear and tear. A destructive resident can be a costly resident.

Did the prospective resident display behavior that could be considered disruptive?

Were any complaints received about the prospective resident and if so were the complaints justified. Did the prospective resident cause noise issues, have loud parties or if a pet was allowed, were there issues with the pet.

Was the prospective resident good with communication?

Communication between landlord and resident is very important and responses to requests is required. If the prospective resident has a history of non communication relative to requests for repairs and inspections, this will make your job as the landlord much more difficult and strain the relationship between you and your residents.

Would renting to this resident again be an option for you?

If the previous landlord is upfront and honest with you about this prospective resident your decisions to rent to this prospective resident should be unbiased and help to avoid any “issues” in the future.

Screening prospective residents with the proper questions is key to an an enjoyable future as a landlord and part of the solution to a trouble free process. 

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY (and Happy Birthday)

Happy Valentines Day from all of us here at Day Property Management LLC. Valentine’s day in our office is a special holiday, not only because of all the  hearts, romance and just in general pink and red, but because Valentine’s Day is also the birthday of the founder and owner of Day Property Management LLC, Michael Day! Happy Birthday Mike!

After we finish wishing Mike a very happy birthday we often end up discussing Valentine’s Day in general terms. Is it a wonderful holiday to celebrate love and relationships, or is it more of an excuse for greeting card companies and chocolatiers to make a huge profit? The answer is probably somewhere in between, but what’s most intriguing are the facts surrounding this day’s history. There are many theories and some say we may never know where it actually originated. Here is a very interesting article from New York Times that goes over a few of the theories and where they originated. No matter which theory you choose, we hope you all enjoy this love-inspired day!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/style/valentines-day-facts-history.html?_r=0

Welcome to Property Management 2017

We made it through our integration process and are now up and running with new property management software. This software brings new processes, new procedures and the instrumental use of many technology advancements. Tenants can now pay rent online, check the status of their account and request maintenance, all through our website. Owners can now check their rent rolls, the status of payments and general information through their own personal portal. Check out our website at www.daypropertymanagement.com and see the many conveniences of becoming a client of Day Property Management LLC or another satisfied tenant.

New Beginnings

Day Property Management

We are so excited for all these wonderful changes that are happening here at Day Property Management LLC. As of February 1, 2017 we will be initiating a wide array of changes through AppFolio. This means free online payments for our tenants, tenant access to their own portal, owner access to their own portal and more advertising options for our vacant units. This will allow a greater ease of access and communication with our tenants and owners.