An open letter if you will, a mere request from us to all tenants- past, current, and future.
We desire to have a good relationship with you while you live in the home you are renting or that you rented or that you would like to rent. That is going to require action on your part. You fully determine how your property manager interacts with you. It is that way with all things in life, each one of us controls how we talk to, reply and otherwise interact with other human beings all day long. Sometimes we have control over the people that we find ourselves interacting with and other times the seasons we are in dictate the relationships we must manage. If you are in a season of being a renter–then you will be having a relationship with either a landlord (the person who owns the home you will be renting) or their representative–usually a property manager. You may never have been a renter before, or you may have been and had a really bad experience in the relationship with your landlord or property manager. BY THE BOOK and “letter of the law” guided by the contract we sign is ALL that you are “entitled” to. A neutral agreement between 2 parties to hold up their sides of the agreement for a particular timeframe.
That is it.
At 410 though, we see the humans in front of us and we practice compassion and grace in our office– perhaps this is not something you are used to basing it on past experiences, negative assumptions, poor understandings, or simply not really knowing what you agree to when you sign a lease to rent a home. Are there bad property managers and landlords- absolutely- are there horror story tenants- you better believe it. We strive to Be Better. We know we are not perfect and likely never will be, but we are open to learning, and our desire to HEAR YOU is what drives us every day.
You might be asking- ok, what is the point. OUr point is, we are all beat down. You, Us, Everyone. We can blame COVID19, we can blame whatever circumstances we want– but we are all beat down. Let’s return to real human interactions again. Let’s once again practice what it means to communicate clearly and kindly. Let’s revisit the terms of our lease agreement and make sure we are actually upholding the things we agreed to, by first understanding what you have agreed to.
Please understand everything in your lease- it is a written contract for a reason- you are signing an AGREEMENT that you will conduct yourself in those terms.- Stand by your agreements.
Regularly maintain the upkeep of your home- take out your trash, do the dishes, wipe out your sinks and swish your toilets REGULARLY– leaving these things undone over time leaves behind stains, or debris that can permanently damage surfaces smells that permeate through paint, drywall carpet, etc all things that were not there before you moved in that need to not be there when you move out- it is easier to stay on top of it regularly.–Every now and then, clean things a bit more deeply– wipe down windows, vacuum up spider webs, pour bleach down drains, and then follow with some baking soda and vinegar to help dislodge hair or products- we send out seasonal newsletters with tips on how to manage the upkeep of your rental home, follow those as needed. You will find that you help reduce the need for repairs which in turn will reduce inconveniences and potential losses (if your fridge goes out and you lose all the food and a repair guy comes to fix it and the back side coils are caked and coated with dust and hair and it is evident that no broom or vacuum has been back there in quite some time—not only will you be out the cost of all that food that spoiled but potentially for the cost of the repair or replacement of the fridge due to negligence and lack of upkeep. These are things to keep in mind.
Pull out your toolbox and see if you can tighten that loose screw yourself first before putting in a maintenance request and expecting the landlord to pay a professional to come to your house and do this- as a renter you are not off the hook 100% for all repairs, make sure you understand your lease which spells it out in legal terms but here it is in regular human terms: You are using the toilet paper regularly– your regular use of it is causing screws to loosen- which is normal…tighten them. If you don’t and you let it go on and on– the screws will eventually not have the proper surface to catch on to and will be unable to be tightened—and now, the frustration really sets in, and bam you rip it off the wall and the drywall is now damaged so you put a maintenance request. The drywall toilet paper debacle likely could have been prevented. Yes the owner has the responsibility to repair the things- your responsibility is to do all you can to help mitigate the need for repair or to help keep the costs lower- So change out your AC filter every single month—-it costs you a few bucks and minutes and can prevent clogging which leads to leaks, which leads to drywall damage and more Walk around your house a few minutes with a screwdriver a few times throughout your lease and just check screws on things and tighten them–WD4 hinges so they make less noise, etc…All things that are considered regular tenant upkeep.
Do not move people or pets in during your lease without having them approved by us first. This should be a no brainer, YOU had to have a background check and be approved sp do they. Before you say it, it’s not because we want to collect more money in fees, it’s because our job is to know who is living in the house, to follow occupancy laws, to abide by HOA rules and to overall manage the house. We do not want to make you give away your new puppy or your mom’s mastiff that you had to take in while she is recovering from something- but you are not living in YOUR home, you have to get permission from the people who do own it to have pets or other people living there. On this note- do not smoke anything in your rental- period. As a smoker, you may not notice it anymore but it is pervasive and a health hazard to future tenants if it is not removed. You 100% will be charged for any smoke smell removal that is required at the end of your lease. It gets in carpets and it almost always requires a full paint job to cover up.
Follow the HOA or City regulations- they exist because humans by nature are selfish and unable to always think of others- so rules and laws exist to bring our awareness outside of ourselves- Keep your yards tidy so your neighbors do not have to look at debris or garbage or weeds. KNOW and follow the parking rules in your area—ALL of the vehicles to people that are on your lease need to be listed on your tenant portal—if they are not, cars can and will be towed for constant violations.
Know where all your water shut off valves are in and around your home and how they work—if your toilet leaks and you could have prevented your water bill from skyrocketing or your bedroom from being flooded by simply shutting off the valve at the toilet but you didn’t, that is not on the owner to make you whole again and you main even be on the hook for repairs beyond the source of the leak.
Understand your breaker box–how it works, which switches control what areas of the home and find all of your GFI switches- we will never send out an electrician until you have troubleshot at the breaker box and GFIs FIRST so be prepared to do so if you experience issues with your electricity.
Do your own periodic inspections—especially if we have had severe weather–walk around and just check your home and surroundings to be sure everything seems right–has a tree gotten fuller than what monsoon wind would be able to handle and it needs to be trimmed to hopefully prevent damage? You see it every day we don’t, send in a photo to us on your portal so we can address…bushes and other small plants keep them trimmed up and blown out–make sure the irrigation is working or that you are hand watering any plants in the yard regularly– not every home has automatic irrigation- that doesn’t mean that keeping the plants alive is not your responsibility.
Report maintenance needs IMMEDIATELY on your portal. We can not count the number of times a maintenance request reads similar to this:
“AC is out-it has been 90 degrees in the house for 3 days now- send someone out immediately as we have a newborn. “
“My garage door opener broke and I had it repaired, where do I send the bill?”
You need to always report maintenance needs to our office in writing- this starts the timeline. We have to be given the information and the time to make the repairs. Self Help does not set in until a landlord or property manager has been outright neglectful or refused to make a repair- If an issue has been assigned to a vendor and there are parts delays or even availability of vendor scheduling delays, we are not outside of the law. Some renters insurance plans offer payouts for housing if it is needed while a repair is being made (think, your ac is out in July and the part is a week away in a warehouse type of situation, you have no family or friends to turn to for relief in the interim so need to stay at a hotel) Our office will always try to lessen inconvenience and discomfort if we are able to but our goals are to have most repairs completed as quickly as reasonably possible.
Your lease as well as communications from our office clearly provide all move-out expectations and your responsibilities. These are all basic intuitive things so should be easy to follow and again are expected but mostly it is the decent way to end a lease. Do you want to walk into your next place and have delays because turnover was stretched out because the people before you decided – “eh, it’s no longer my responsibility?” Do it for the next tenants if you don’t want to do it for us or the owner. Otherwise, you are charged and sent to collections- that is not on us that is on you- You are responsible for the move-out condition of the home you rent and returning it to us in the same OR BETTER condition than when you moved in. That’s the law and what you agree to. Don’t break the law- but more importantly have integrity.
– Pay Your last month’s rent -Your security deposit is NOT your last month’s rent—it is a security deposit—when you don’t pay your last month of rent it is likely that your security deposit is GONE 100% GONE—so when you move out and say “bill me”— You go straight to collections- STRAIGHT.
We could go on and on, and as much as everyone wants to slam landlords and property managers— contracts are between 2 parties– You and Us — meet us in the middle and you will be pleasantly surprised by how much stress is relieved when you have a cordial & kind relationship with those who are letting you live in their investment. When you enter into contracts with others- stand by your word. Honor your agreements. Care for your homes. Show decency to others that you have to work with- Practice the Golden Rule.