Are you a new property owner? If yes, there are several questions you may have about your roles and responsibilities. With 10+ years of experience, the team at New Foundations Property Management of Medford, OR have tried to answer the questions frequently asked by property owners.
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The main difference is I remain small enough to give owners and tenants a personal touch. When owners call wanting information regarding property management, they call and speak with Shelly Rogers, the licensed Property Manager and Owner of the company. Owners don't get passed around to different property managers as some come and go in larger companies. In addition, I, the owner, does all accounting, so if there is a question, mistake, or confusion, they can call and talk to the owner of the company and get answers and solutions right away and not have to wait for employees within an office asking each other what happened on so and so's account.
How often do you do interior inspections of my home?
After careful tenant screening and if the tenant(s) do qualify, we do an exterior inspection within the first 30 days and many more thereafter. (At any time, an owner can ask for an exterior photo and we can drive by to get some photos upon request).
The first interior inspection is within 90 to 100 days of move-in. This will give the tenant(s) time to move in and get comfortable. If anything was out of the norm, it would generally show within the first 3 months of occupancy of which we can send a non-compliance letter to the tenants in violation to show that we mean business and give them a chance to remedy the violation.
Depending on that first interior inspection, we may do another within 3 months if we found any unusual behavior. If the first interior inspection was within our guidelines, the next would be the annual inspection.
What happens if a tenant does not pay rent?
Generally, rent is due on the 1st of the month. However, Oregon allows a 4-day grace period when a tenant can pay the rent by midnight on the 4th day. Obviously, most Property Managers are not working at midnight, so if the rent is not received and / or postmarked by the 5th of the month, the tenant(s) are susceptible to our late fee of $75.00.
If rent still is not received by the 8th of the month, we send a 72-hour notice to pay rent or quit. This is telling the tenant that they need to pay their rent within 72 hours or move (in this notice, we must give the tenants a day / date / time by when they must either pay or move). If still nothing is received or the tenant has not made an attempt to contact us, we will file a Summons and Complaint with Jackson County Courts and proceed with a Forcible Entry Detainer to obtain possession of the premises.
What if the tenant makes a partial payment?
If we accept partial payments, we cannot evict the tenant during the same month for non-payment of rent unless it was agreed by both parties to pay the remaining rent by a certain date and time in writing.
If a partial payment was accepted without future rent agreement for that month and the landlord still wants to proceed with a non-payment eviction, the landlord does have the right to refund the portion of rent paid within 6 days of receiving it, either in person or first class mail.
Is it hard to get a tenant out of my home if they are in a lease?
No. It is fairly a simple process if the paperwork is completed correctly and if the tenant is in violation of their lease. We can evict “for cause” or simply “no cause.” Generally, for eviction for cause, we do need to give the tenants a letter stating the violation and a chance to remedy the violation depending on what it is.
If a tenant has lived in your home for over a year, we must give a 60-day no cause to obtain possession of the premises. Remember, if you own the home and your tenant does not move out within the time requested, you must go to court to get the tenant out. It is illegal to change the locks, turn the utilities off and/or threaten your tenant to move.
As a landlord, can I charge fees? What is the difference between a fee and a deposit?
A deposit is refundable and a fee is non-refundable. As a Landlord, you can charge the following non-compliance fees if in violation of your rental agreement:
- Late fee
- Failure to clean your pets’ waste
- Failure to clean garbage or rubbish
- Parking violations
- Improper use of a vehicle on the property
- Returned checks
- Tampering with smoke and / or carbon monoxide alarms
- Smoking in the home if it is a non-smoking home
- Unauthorized pets that can cause damage to the home, another person, or property
Do I have to allow pets?
No, you do not have to allow pets unless the pet falls under the guidelines of disability for which you cannot deny nor charge a pet deposit. The tenant must provide proof from a qualified physician that indeed the pet is a dog for disability purposes. If one sneaks in a pet, you can give the tenant a 10-day notice to remove the pet and if they do not, you can start “for cause” eviction.
If you choose to allow a pet, you should charge a pet deposit at a minimum of $300 in addition to the security deposit. You should also require the tenant to carry renters insurance listing the landlord and management company as an additional insured.
Should I pay utilities?
In most areas of Jackson County, it is a city ordinance that the landlord pays for garbage. Landlords should definitely pay for garbage because if a tenant does not want to spend the extra money and trash collects, you could end up with rodent/bugs/nasty smells. We recommend landlords pay for sewer as the county cannot shut off sewer if the tenant does not pay and instead the county will put a lien on the property to collect the past due amount. If the landlord is paying for the sewer, this would not occur as the bill should be current. Water and landscaping is up for further discussion since each case is different depending on the needs and the attachment one has for their landscaping. Remember, tenants don’t always landscape the way you would like to see it done.