Property Management Blog

Understanding Your Rental Lease Agreement | Terre Haute Property Management

Jared Coley - Tuesday, October 17, 2017

 

Tenants preparing to sign a lease need to understand they are committing to a legal and binding contract. It’s important to read and understand your rental lease agreement before you sign it. Any questions or concerns should be addressed with the property owner, landlord, or management company.

What Does a Lease Agreement Look Like?

A lease agreement is comprehensive, but there are 10 key points that are particularly important. If you’re a landlord, you will likely agree that these 10 components bring in the most commonly asked questions from tenants. Answering them up front will create a smoother relationship between landlords and tenants.

Start and End Date

It’s important to know when you’re moving in. The move-in date is the day you’re legally obligated to take over rent payments. You also need to know how long you are bound to rent the property. Make sure you know your end date so you can prepare to move out or renew your lease.

Property Address

Every rental agreement should include the property address. You need to know which property you’re renting, so make sure correct address is on the lease. Rental Amount The amount of rent has to be correct and what you agreed to with the landlord. If the contract reflects a total amount due for the entire lease, make sure the math adds up for the 12 months. If you moved in during the middle of the month and prorated your rent, make sure those numbers add up as well.

Late Fee Policy

The lease must reflect when the tenant gets charged a late fee. It should explain whether this is a daily late fee, a one-time late fee, or both. Security Deposit The security deposit amount must be in the lease, and your landlord should acknowledge its receipt. You’ll also want to see a process for getting your security deposit back. In Indiana, a landlord has 45 days from the time a tenant vacates to return the security and a letter explaining why any money was withheld.

Maintenance

What maintenance items are you, the tenant, responsible for? At Complete Landlord Solutions, our lease indicates that tenants are responsible for changing light bulbs and replacing furnace filters every three months. The lease should also explain what a landlord is responsible for. This keeps everyone on the same page.

Pet Policy

Your lease will explain whether or not you’re allowed to have pets. If you can have them, you’ll need to know what the pet fee or pet deposit will be. There might be an increase in your monthly rent a well.

Tenant Utilities

As a tenant, you will be responsible for paying utilities. Your lease will tell you which ones. If the rental advertisement said you were only responsible for paying the electric bill, make sure the lease says the same thing. If there’s any confusion, ask about it.

Lease Renewals and Vacating

Your lease will tell you what happens at the end of the lease term. You may want to move elsewhere or you may want to renew. If there’s a move-out inspection, you’ll need a checklist or a document from your landlord that tells you what’s expected at move-out. Every landlord wants to give tenants their full deposit back, so do everything you can on that checklist before you move out.

Everything Else

The final category is all the other details that you need to read. Please read your lease in full. Lots of tenants skim the pages, but there are so many terms and conditions that you have to understand. Take some time to read it and ask questions.  

It’s best to do this right up front. Figure out what you’re obligated to, what your restrictions are, and what you should or should not be doing. You want to find these things out before signing, and not in the middle of your lease term. 

If you have any questions about your rental lease agreement or anything pertaining to Terre Haute property management, please contact us at Complete Landlord Solutions.

Why Get Renter’s Insurance? 4 Reasons for Tenants/Owners in Terre Haute, IN

Jared Coley - Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Recently at Complete Landlord Solutions, one of our tenants had a garage fire. Luckily, the owner of the property was covered through insurance and the tenant was as well. We require all our tenants to obtain and hold insurance throughout the term of the lease. Today, we’re sharing four good reasons to have renter’s insurance.

Why Get Renter’s Insurance: It’s Affordable

Renter’s insurance is extremely affordable. The national average is around $187 a year for a policy, and that comes out to less than $16 per month. There’s no reason not to have it. The coverage is cheap and worth every penny.

What Does Renter’s Insurance Cover?

Renter’s insurance covers all loss of personal property. If there’s a fire, or a lightning strike that takes out a television or a computer, or a rain storm that causes a roof leak, your personal property is covered. Whether you suffer a loss due to snow, ice, theft, or vandalism, your damage is covered. A renter’s insurance policy will cover all your personal possessions.

Landlord Requirements

We do require renter’s insurance, and many landlords and property managers will need tenants to have it before moving in. Proof of rental insurance could be a requirement of the lease. As landlords and owners, we will hold insurance that only covers the building. That insurance does not cover a tenant’s personal possessions in the property. If you don’t have renter’s insurance and there’s a leak that damages your electronics, the owner will cover the structure, but not your property. Rental insurance does cover it. If you’re a landlord looking for a property management company, it’s a good idea to ask if they require tenants to have this policy in place.

How Does Renter’s Insurance Work for Liability?

A renter’s insurance policy also provides liability coverage. If someone is injured in your home, that will be covered under your policy. It can also help cover tenants for any damage they might cause. For example, if there’s a fire that the tenant caused, the renter’s insurance will cover it.

 All these points are good things to discuss with an insurance agent. Renter’s insurance is cheap and highly protective towards tenants. It’s a great thing to have. So, if you’re a tenant looking for a rental, talk to an insurance agent even if your landlord doesn’t require it.

Please contact us at Complete Landlord Solutions if you have any questions about insurance or Terre Haute property management.

How to Hire the Right Terre Haute, IN Property Manager – 8 Questions to Ask

Jared Coley - Thursday, March 09, 2017

Complete Landlord Solutions is a full service property management company in Terre Haute, Indiana. If you are a property owner wondering how to hire a property manager, there are a few key questions to ask while you’re interviewing potential managers. Here is some insight on how I would structure an interview. This should set you up to be successful in getting the right property manager and having your questions answered when you’re deciding who to hire.

Licensing

Ask if the manager is licensed to practice property management. You can verify this online through the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency. If you’re talking to someone who is not licensed, you can end the conversation. You need to entrust your property or properties to someone licensed to provide this service. Marketing and Screening You’ll need to know how they determine rental rates, and if they do a market analysis. Ask if the management company has other properties similar to yours that are currently rented out. They can show you comparables so you’ll know what your property could rent for. Ask about the tools they use for marketing and advertising. Find out if they perform credit, criminal and eviction history checks. What are the minimum requirements to be approved for a property?

Repairs and Maintenance

Do they provide in-house maintenance or third party vendors or a combination? Ask about the cost of maintenance, and if you’ll have to pay extra for markups on materials and services. You need to know about their emergency repair plans, and if someone is available 24 hours a day. Find out if there is an additional cost when repairs are needed over the weekend or during holidays.

Eviction and Debt Collection

How do the managers handle debt or delinquent rent? You should ask how they communicate with tenants and get rent paid. If a tenant is behind, you’ll want to know at what point is eviction is filed. Talk about the process and what your costs will be if there’s an eviction. Ask if the management company works with collection attorneys when tenants leave owing a balance, or if this is handled in the office.

Financial Bookkeeping and Online Systems

Property management companies need a financial bookkeeping tool like Appfolio, Buildium, or QuickBooks. Find out what they use and how your financials are tracked. You’ll also want to know if you have access to the information. Is there an owner’s portal, which is like a bank account where you can check what’s happening with your property? You’ll be able to see if a tenant has paid rent or if there are maintenance invoices outstanding. Ask if the tenant has access to the system for requesting maintenance or paying rent. You’ll also need to know what kind of reporting is provided. Is it on demand, filtered, or on a monthly and quarterly basis? Maybe you’ll be able to look at specific weeks within the year. Be sure you’re in touch with what’s going on with your property. On demand reporting is a great tool.

Communication

Communication is a big area and key in any relationship. Ask about response time when you contact them via email or text or phone. You want to know how your questions will be answered and your problems handled. See if they have a sense of pride in communication and delivering up on a solid process.

Management Contract

Is there a written contract, and can you see a copy to review it? Maybe you can review it with any other of their corporate documents. Take a look at everything and ask any questions after reviewing the contract. Find out what the length of the contract is – monthly or a year? Is there a 30 day opt out notice? Know the requirements if the relationship doesn’t work; you need to know how to get out of the contract.

Property Management Costs

How much does property management cost? This is the big one – and you may wonder why I suggest waiting until the end to ask this. Through my experience, you want to get the inside view out. If I am looking for a property manager, I would want to know everything I could before asking that question about costs. You want to know what you’re paying for. You don’t want a management fee to immediately end the conversation. You will be comparing management companies, so make sure you’re getting the same services first.

If you are looking for a Terre Haute property manager, use these subject areas to ask additional questions. We’re happy to help you or provide more information, so please contact us at Complete Landlord Solutions.