Our approach to property management is very fair & systematic. We use a standard Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) lease in all transactions, which is used in thousands of leases every year in the state of Texas. Our lease terms are fair to the tenant & protect the landlord. As is the case in everything we do, we make sure the policies we have set are replicable & equitable.
Why do you require that rent be paid online?
This policy removes the possibility of a dispute over when rent was paid. For security reasons, it’s standard for any property management company to not accept cash, so it makes sense to expect any tenant to have a checking account, or the ability to obtain a money order. Our system allows tenants to pay their rent online, at no additional charge, using their checking account or a money order. Our tenants typically view this as a convenience and a value add, so the policy is a win for all parties.
Why do you require that all maintenance requests be entered online?
This policy removes any dispute over the scope of the repair request, and when the repair request was made. We strive to act on all repair requests fairly & expeditiously. Since the online repair requests create a paper trail we can reference, we can gauge our performance, as well as a tenant & property history.
How do you screen applicants?
We screen all applicants’ credit history (with a full credit report,) rental history, criminal history, & employment/income verification. While acceptance/denial is ultimately up to each landlord, we recommend 3X monthly rent (pre-tax) income, a 620+ credit score, no history of crimes against a person or fraud, & no evictions or money due to past landlords. We recommend accepting tenants falling outside of these criteria on a case-by-case basis with an additional security deposit. We happily and strictly adhere to federal, state, & local Fair Housing laws. Here is a link to our full application & approval process (directed at leasing agents.)
Why do you recommend that leases expire in April, May, or June?
It’s in the landlord’s best interest! The highest demand for housing is in the spring & summer months, so it makes sense for us to ask your tenants to renew at this time, and if they choose not to, to market your property during peak demand.
What repairs are landlords responsible for & what repairs are tenants responsible for?
We’re glad you asked! Many tenants incorrectly assume that they aren’t responsible for any repairs. The TAR lease clearly outlines which repairs a landlord is responsible for, and which a tenant is responsible for. You can read the complete list here.
Are tenants required to perform basic maintenance on a property?
Yes, tenants are responsible for basic maintenance. They are also expressly forbidden from modifying the property. You can read the complete list here.
What if a tenant wants to make an improvement to a property?
A tenant may not modify the property without the express permission of the landlord. Generally, we recommend a landlord allow a tenant improvement if it’s a standard improvement performed by one of our preferred vendors. We always recommend against allowing a tenant to modify a property themselves under any circumstance.
Do you charge landlords for repairs made on their behalf?
While repair costs are passed onto the landlord, we don’t “up-charge” or add any management fees to property repairs. We keep detailed accounting records & all receipts/invoices for landlords to review.
Will you notify me before you make repairs to my property?
We will notify you and ask for your approval for any repairs that are over $500. If a repair is under $500, we go ahead and authorize the repair. This is to save you money, to make sure and protect your property, and to keep your tenants as happy as possible. Most repairs are minor, but they’re a big inconvenience to a tenant. If we can get an air conditioner running for $200, we want to authorize that repair immediately so that your tenant doesn’t have to sleep in the Texas heat. Likewise, the HVAC vendor will charge a $100 trip charge every time he visits the property, so we will have saved you a $100 visit by quickly authorizing the repair, rather than asking you for approval and sending the tech back out a day or two later.
There is one exception to our $500 pre-approval for repairs. When a tenant moves out and it’s time to move another tenant in, we are pre-approved to spend $1000 to make the property ready. In order to minimize vacancy and move a new tenant in as quickly as possible, we want to make the property ready as quickly as possible in order to minimize vacancy. Most basic make readies cost $500-$1000, so we ask that you allow us to make the decision on a basic make-ready on your behalf so that we can minimize vacancy for you.
Will you work with my home warranty company?
Unfortunately, we don’t work with home warranties as a policy due to their very poor response time and service. We can typically dispatch a repair person the same day, and sometimes the following day if the repair request comes in late. Home warranty companies generally send their repairmen out in ~48 hours, and those vendors very often determine that the repair isn’t covered, so we have to ultimately send our vendors out. We like happy tenants, and the #1 way we keep tenants happy is by taking care of any repair quickly. It’s completely understandable that a tenant wouldn’t want to live with a broken air conditioner for two days in July, and that will likely happen if we rely on a home warranty company for repairs.
Do you allow pets in properties?
We generally recommend allowing pets on a “negotiable” basis and with a $500 per pet additional deposit. If a tenant has good credit, a good job, good rental history, and is willing to pay the additional deposit, we’ve found that the pet(s) will likely not be an issue. If, however, you would prefer not to allow pets, we’re fine to market the property as such.
Do you allow smoking in the property?
Absolutely not. This is expressly written into every lease.
What type of properties do you manage?
We manage single family residences (houses,) duplexes, and condos in Austin and the immediately surrounding suburbs. We generally manage A & B quality properties (properties in good or better shape in good or better areas.) We generally do not manage 4plexes or apartment complexes. We will unfortunately not manage a property with a pool or hot tub. If your property has deferred maintenance, we will ask that all maintenance & preventative maintenance items are taken care of immediately.
How do you determine the rental price of a property?
We run a Comparative Market Analysis exactly as we would a property for sale. We look at similar properties in the same (or similar) neighborhood that have rented in the past 6-12 months. We then look at the current properties on the market to see how competitive those prices are. If a property shows $1500/month and there are no other similar properties on the market for the same price, you can assume it will rent quickly. Bear in mind that relatively small increases in price can have a big effect on vacancy and your bottom line. If you increase price from $1500 to $1600/month and it causes the property to sit vacant for 3 weeks, you just lost any gains you may have had from the higher rental price.
How do you market a property for rent?
We use professional photographs, submit the listing to the MLS, and place a lockbox on the property. We submit the property to IDX and to national internet portals. All renters look online, and your property will be listed everywhere online that renters look. We communicate with you using real time showing notifications, instant feedback reports, and weekly market monitoring, showing reports, & online traffic reports.
How long of commitment do I need to make if I want to hire you?
We generally ask for a 1-year management agreement, but we do write in a 30-day termination clause. If you decide to move to another management company, we will be sorry to see you go, but will happily help with the transition.
If I decide to sell my property, do I have to use you to sell it?
Absolutely not. We don’t contractually obligate you to use us in the event of a sale. If you negotiate the sale of your property to a tenant, we don’t require you to pay us a commission.
What are your fees?
We charge 100% of one month’s rent to find a new tenant & 8% monthly. We charge $200 for a lease renewal & $750 if we have to perform an eviction. We have no other “junk fees” that you’ll find many property management companies charge. We don’t charge a minimum monthly fee, so if you’re not earning income, we don’t charge you.
Why does your property management agreement require me to maintain a liability policy naming Treaty Oak Properties as a co-insured?
This is a relatively simple clause that is often misunderstood. Your standard homeowner’s insurance policy will almost always include a liability provision for at least $100,000. Most insurers will add a property management agreement as an “additional insured” at no additional fee by simply asking. There are some insurance companies that will not do so, and in this case, we require you to switch insurers to a company who will do so. The logic is simply that, in the unlikely case a tenant or tenant’s guest sues us both, that we both have the same legal representation. By adding us as an additional insured to your homeowner’s liability policy, it ensures that we don’t have competing interests and different representation. (As an aside, we have never been sued by a tenant or tenant’s guest.)
Can I see a sample management contract and/or lease?
Absolutely! Please contact us to get started!