Powerhouse Property Partners

| Serving Austin, TX
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Renting Your Property

Preparing to rent the property

When prospective tenants view your vacancy, PHPP wants the property to look its best and compete with area rentals. A property maintenance report and rental market survey is completed. The PHPP management team will contact you to discuss the details of your vacant property and any necessary maintenance.

Setting the rent

Supply and demand determines rent. If there are multiple rentals available in the area of your property, it is necessary to be very competitive. If very few are "for rent" in the same area, it can make it easier to rent the property. Markets change and PHPP advises owners on the "current rental market."

How long will the property be vacant?

This is the most commonly asked question PHPP receives from owners. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how long a property will remain on the market, even in the best market conditions. However, PHPP works diligently to rent the property as quickly as possible. What is important to remember is that the most important objective is to have "a quality tenant."

PHPP, or any other property management company, can rent properties "quickly" if they do not have standards for obtaining good tenancy. However, bad tenants will only create more expense and another unwanted vacancy; therefore, waiting for the "right tenant" is worth the additional time it can take to rent the property.

Advertising/Marketing

Internet/website

PHPP has found that the Internet and the PHPP website, www.powerhousepropertypartners.com  receives tremendous exposure, as well as using Craigslist.  PHPP takes full advantage of this medium to reduce advertising costs and gain more exposure for your property.  Furthermore, PHPP places your property in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for other Realtors working with prospective tenants to find and show your property.

Signage

PHPP displays "For Rent" signs prominently, and each sign carries the appropriate extension for the property. Signs promote calls. The caller can immediately access the property information and showings 24 hours a day.

Showings and applications

The PHPP property managers conduct showings for each vacant unit. We

arrange showing times for your property in advance through our voice messaging system, and appointments by contacting the PHPP office directly. When prospective tenants see the property, the management team answers questions and distributes applications. Applications are available in the PHPP office, at the property showings, and on the PHPP website.

Processing Tenant Applications

Tenant screening

Thorough screening is crucial to successful Property Management. PHPP requires all applicants to fill out a detailed application and submit it for processing/approval. A credit check is NOT enough! Our company conducts a careful review of their credit, criminal, income, and tenant history or ownership.

All applicants must submit verifiable information on their income to show they can support the property. Rental history or previous home ownership is carefully checked. Cross-referencing all four areas – credit, criminal, tenant history, and income - provides the answers to qualify or disqualify prospective applicants. If a pet is allowed on the property, the screening includes the pet (please review the upcoming pet policies).

Cosigners

PHPP normally does not accept cosigners. PHPP policy is that the applicants should have the ability to rent on their own merits. However, there are sometimes conditions that may warrant taking a cosigner on a property. If this is the case, PHPP will notify the owner, discuss the reasons, and obtain owner authorization.

Pets

If an owner authorizes a pet, PHPP requires a Pet Deposit.  Although the PHPP policy is to require a Pet Deposit, the amount cannot exceed Texas landlord/tenant law.

Many tenants have or want pets. It is legal for property owners to discriminate against pets. You may wish to do so. However, whether you have or have not decided to allow a pet in your property, the PHPP application has a place for prospective tenants to list pets and how many. It is important NOT to discourage full disclosure on pets while taking an application. If you do allow a pet, PHPP does not place inappropriate pets in a property.

PHPP recommends to owners that when the property is on the market, that pets are "negotiable." This can solve two problems.

  1. First, this encourages prospective applicants to disclose any pets. Then, based on the owner preference on pets, PHPP can automatically notify the applicant that the owner does not allow pets.
  2. Second, by listing pets as negotiable, it avoids eliminating an excellent tenant that does care for their pet, has an excellent tenant history, and owns a pet that is suitable to your property.

Service animals

Special note:"Service animals" for handicapped/disabled persons are NOT pets by Federal law, and owners cannot discriminate against handicapped/disabled persons with a service animal. Fair Housing legislation does NOT allow owners or property managers to collect deposits of any kind for service animals.

However, Landlords can still process applicants who are handicapped or disabled on the same criteria as other applicants: income, credit, and tenant history. If they fail to qualify in these areas, the landlord/manager can still deny the application, handicapped or not.

The Tenant Move In

Rent and security deposits

PHPP does not accept personal checks prior to renting the property and may allow "payments" on security deposits – we require certified funds prior to renting the property.

Once approved, all applicants must pay in full, the first month’s rent, and a high security deposit, in certified funds. It is normally PHPP policy to require a security deposit equal to one month’s rent. However, PHPP does not exceed the maximum-security deposit allowed by the Texas landlord/tenant laws.

Rental/lease agreements

Once PHPP receives funds, a thorough rental/lease agreement with the applicant is completed along with all necessary addendums.

All persons 18 and over, including adult children, are required to read and sign all rental/lease agreements. If the accepted applicants are a foreign nationality and cannot read and understand the documentation, they must supply an interpreter of legal age for signing the rental/lease agreements.

Walk-through

A vital part of the rental agreement is a detailed walk-though addendum performed by the tenant, documenting the condition of the property when they move in. Unless extenuating circumstances prevail, the PHPP team does not complete the walk-through with the tenant before the tenant takes possession of the property.

The walk-through documents the condition of the property. When the tenant moves out of the property, there is a sound basis for the security deposit

refund. PHPP also documents the move in with digital photos.

Tenant handbook

Tenants immediately receive the "PHPP Tenant Handbook." This detailed booklet gives them additional information on how to care for the property, report repairs, maintain the property, make timely payments, how to give proper notice to vacate, leave the property in good condition, and more.

Tenant education and preparation

Taking the time to prepare tenants for their residency is another step toward a successful tenant/landlord relationship. Additional forms that the tenants may need are included with the "PHPP Tenant Handbook." PHPP wants both owners and tenants well informed

Resident Emergency/Disaster Handbook

We now provide tenants with a handbook to help them to prepare for emergencies or disasters. There are conditions where PowerHouse Property Partners, Inc. cannot immediately assist them if there is a major emergency or disaster. We want them to be prepared.

Working with Your Tenants

Collecting rent

Rents are due on the 1st day of the month and late if not received in the PHPP office by the 3rd of the month.

PHPP recognizes that many things can happen where it concerns rent; rent can really be lost "in the mail"; employers can delay the tenant’s paycheck, there are real tenant emergencies, and more. Therefore, we make a serious effort to determine why the tenant is having a problem. If PHPP receives the rent prior to issuing owner funds, PHPP does not contact the owner unless the PHPP management team determines there is an ongoing rent issue.

Notice to pay or quit

If PHPP does not receive rent by the due date, PHPP prepares and delivers a timely notice to pay or quit, as the law allows. PHPP makes every effort to mail and post notices properly should legal action be required. If PHPP determines the tenant is not going to pay the rent during the notice to pay or quit period, or shortly thereafter, PHPP contacts the property owner and works out a plan of action.

Other notices

There are other notices that may be involved with tenants. PHPP serves notices as situations warrant, such as a notice to clean up the landscape, a

notice to enter the property, a notice to perform survey/inspections, a notice regarding an illegal pet, illegal tenants, etc. These tenant violations may be in the form of a letter or a legal Notice "form." Often, these notices are simply to correct minor tenant problems and most tenants comply. However, if necessary, PHPP contacts the owner with the information to discuss the situation.

Tenant problems

PHPP has years of experience handling the myriad of tenant difficulties that can occur. The PHPP policy is to obtain good tenants, eliminating many tenant problems. However, even good tenants have problems. PHPP treats each problem with common sense approach, follows landlord/tenant law, and uses the appropriate documentation. If the situation is serious, PHPP contacts the owner, and works to find a solution for the problem.

Our company policy is to take a "what if" approach. PHPP documents tenant problems in the event that it becomes a legal problem. One of the reasons you hired a property manager is for "peace of mind." This is what PHPP recognizes and works to prevent legal issues from arising.

Legal action

Although PHPP works diligently to avoid the necessity to begin an action, such as an unlawful detainer or eviction proceeding, it can happen. In the event any legal action is required, PHPP will contact the owner prior to taking action, discuss what is needed, and obtain owner authorization.

Maintenance

Preventative maintenance

The best approach to maintenance is "preventative maintenance," and this is the PHPP policy.

First, PHPP has already started with educating the tenant by:

  • Completing a detailed Texas Association of Realtors Lease Agreement.
  • Completing a walk-through documenting the condition of the property before the tenant takes possession
  • Supplying tenants with the "PHPP Tenant Handbook," which provides additional instructions on the care of the property and how to report maintenance

We want the tenant to know from the beginning of their tenancy that the PHPP/landlord expectations are to "care for the property." This approach can prevent costly maintenance.

Next, we use "preventative maintenance" techniques when work is required and

utilize competent contractors. Often the minor expenditures save the most money such as doorstops, new filters, checking appliances, testing smoke alarms, adjusting doors, window latches, deadbolts, and more. Many small repair items can prevent maintenance that is more expensive.

Consider the cost of repairs like holes behind doors, clogged heaters and air-conditioners, appliance problems, dry rot, safety issue and more. Then of course, there are the major issues in a home such as the roof, the exterior condition of the building, carpeting, interior, and exterior paint, etc. When left to deteriorate, it usually means the owner will have to spend more in the future.
 
It is equally important to keep up with maintenance while the tenant occupies the property. Often people think no news is good news; this can be just the opposite. Instead, "delayed news can become very bad news."
 
This is why, in our tenant instructions, we require them to report maintenance. For example, what is worse than finding out dry rot could have been prevented or discoloration of the linoleum if the tenant had reported the leaking toilet in the bathroom? Avoiding major maintenance costs are certainly more favorable in such cases.

The PHPP management team contacts owners regarding maintenance above the $250.00 minimum that is listed in the PHPP Management contract, unless the situation is an emergency.

Emergencies/Disaster

When an emergency and/or disaster strikes, PHPP has policies in place for the property and tenants. PHPP notifies the property owner as soon as practical. The nature of the emergency and/or disaster determines the action needed by PHPP.

There are times when a property manager must "act" in order to prevent great financial risk to the owner. For example, when a property is flooding, action is necessary, particularly if the property owner is not immediately available.

To help you with this, we have also included our "Owner Emergency/Disaster Handbook" so you will understand what we will do if something occurs.


When the Tenant Vacates

Notice to vacate

When there is a notice to vacate, the move out procedures with tenants are as critical as when PHPP moves in a tenant. The preparation for this really began when the tenant moved in with a detailed rental agreement, maintenance addendum, walk-through, and PHPP Tenant Handbook. All of these documents gave instructions to the tenant on how to move out.

Communication with owners and tenants

PHPP notifies the owner in writing with a three-page letter giving details on how they will proceed with the tenant and re-renting the property. PHPP immediately places the property on the market to rent unless the owner notifies PHPP to take other measures.

PHPP also responds to the tenant notice with a detailed three-page letter detailing the steps to complete a successful move. Rent is required until the end of the notice unless otherwise stated in the rental/lease agreement.

Tenant move out

PHPP conducts a walk-through similar to the one performed when the tenant moved into the property. PHPP records any maintenance required and discloses a list of damages to the vacating tenant. Digital photographs are taken when the tenant move out to document the condition of the property and support any deductions from the security deposit.

After assessment of the tenant move out, PHPP advises owners of any tenant damages or any maintenance required to re-rent the property.

Security deposit refunds

Proper handling of the security deposit refund is crucial. Any tenant deductions are determined in a timely manner, and a security deposit transmittal is prepared in accordance with state laws. Texas requires Tenant’s to provide Landlord’s a forwarding address and Landlord’s have 30 days after receiving the forwarding address to provide a detailed accounting of the Security Deposit and any refund to the Tenant. Owners receive a copy of the transmittal with their monthly statement, showing any deductions and monies refunded.

Collections

If collecting damages is required, PHPP will refer the matter to a qualified consumer collection service at the instruction and authorization of the owner. PHPP management does not include recovering tenant damages, but leaves this to companies with expertise in debt collection. PHPP will supply consumer collection companies with the necessary documentation needed.


Additional Services

The following are "additional services" offered by PHPP to each property owner. They are not included in the fees for managing and/or leasing the property.

Referrals

Do you know someone who is looking for management services in the South

Central Texas area? If so, then notify your management team. PHPP values their client business and believes in rewarding referrals from clients.

Annual survey/inspection

PHPP strives to conduct annual property inspections as part of their property management services. This inspection is intended to identify Tenant’s care for the property and any obvious maintenance needs.

Supervision of extraordinary maintenance

PHPP charges a fee for supervising work requiring extraordinary maintenance and the definition of extraordinary maintenance is as follows:

PHPP defines extraordinary maintenance as rehabilitation work that exceeds $2,500.00, insurance claims, and major systems replacements. (Examples are roof replacement, major tree work, exterior painting, vandalism, insurance claims, etc.)

The PHPP policy is to consult licensed contractors for bids and solutions. Then PHPP contacts the property owner for authorization and/or decision regarding the maintenance.

Eviction protection plan

Many owners worry about the financial burden of evicting a tenant and paying the legal fees. Our screening process reduces this possibility, but evictions can happen.

Real Estate services

The PHPP Sales Division is available to assist you in buying more investment property or selling your property when ready, including those requiring 1031 exchanges.

A free market analysis is available at any time with no obligation. Please contact your property management team or one of our sales team listed to provide you with the information or services you need.