How soon can RentWerx start managing my property?We can start the process immediately. Contact us so we can find out more about you and your property and see if we would be a good match for your wants and expectations regarding management services. We can do all of the paperwork needed electronically and begin the process very quickly.
Marketing Your Property
Setting a correct rental price
Even the best properties will not lease quickly if overpriced. We analyze the market to be certain your home is priced according to current market conditions.
Prior to placing a property on the rental market or renewing a lease, we do a comparative market analysis and determine the most economical and profitable rental rate that can be charged. After a property has been exposed to the market for two weeks without renting, we look into the possibility that the asking rent is too high. We will consider lowering the rent so that the property will not sit vacant.
What do you do to get my property leased?In the San Antonio market – the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is the most effective marketing tool by far. When a home goes into the MLS – it literally spiders out to 1000’s of websites making your property visible to the world. We have learned certain tricks to maximize your exposure. Pictures are wide angle with a high quality camera. We display the best four pictures first (Front, Kitchen, Living Room, Etc…). We include a walk thru VIDEO with all of our homes. Your property data is entered in the San Antonio Multiple Listing Service giving access to over 6,500 REALTORS®. We pay a $300 leasing fee to the agent who brings us a qualified tenant, whether the agent is from our office or from another company.
We Show Your Property PersonallyWe have motivated leasing agents, who are all licensed REALTORS®
For Rent Signs
“For Rent” signs are normally placed on a rental property thirty (30) days prior to the property’s availability date. For new property, the sign is placed on the date the unit first comes under our management or, if necessary, when the property is in a showing condition. (Unless restricted by Neighborhood)
See our Article: Do Real Estate Signs Make a Difference in Front of Your Home?
Finding Quality Renters
Rental Application ProcessAfter a prospective resident has been shown a property and has expressed a desire to lease it – our Rental Application must be submitted through our online application procedures. The prospective tenant must also submit a nonrefundable Application Fee. The application fee is retained by the company to defray the cost of processing the application. Upon approval of the application, RentWerx will collect the Preferred Tenant Program fee for that property. No home is taken off the market until an application is fully approved and a security deposit is in hand to us via certified funds.
Equal Housing OpportunityRentWerx San Antonio is committed to the Equal Housing Opportunity Laws, and we do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of Race, Color, Religion, Sex, Handicap, Familial Status, National Origin or Age.
What do you do to qualify a tenant after they have made application to rent my property?
This is one of the most important aspects of the successful management of rental property. We look at an applicant’s past behavior and assume their future behavior will be the same. An applicant must demonstrate a history of being a good, responsible tenant as well as meeting our financial criteria.
We pull a credit check and review the results looking at income, rental history, credit, employment, family size, pets, and any other stipulations presented in order to make a good decision upon which tenant to rent to. It is our policy to choose the BEST applicant, not always the first. Credit is not the always the most important aspect of screening an applicant and our goal is to ultimately pick a tenant that will be a good fit for us and the owner of the home.
Tenant Employment and Income Verifications
We verify job title, job status, salary and prospects for continued employment. An applicant needs to earn at least 3 to 4 times the monthly rent in gross income to qualify for rental.
Eviction and Criminal Reports
We pull a background check that has access to public records that tell us if the applicant has ever been evicted. This is a level of scrutiny that most other property management companies do not perform.
We contact past landlords to verify rental history and ask detailed questions about the applicant’s past performance. This information is entered into the results of the application for record and the owner is allowed to view this information.
See our article: Funnel in the Best Applicants for your Rental Home in San Antonio
Security DepositsRentWerx offers a “Preferred Tenant Program” to assist in marketing your home For Rent by easing the burden of up-front expenses that tenants incur while moving. This program allows tenants to OPT IN to a monthly fee in lieu of paying a standard Security Deposit, which has customarily been equal to One Month’s Rent. Should an applicant sign up for the Preferred Tenant Program and OPT OUT of paying an all up front Security Deposit, RentWerx offers all Owners the Free Double Security Deposit Guarantee. This program will offer to repair or reimburse Owner for damages caused to the home by the tenant above normal fair wear and tear, up to the amount of 2 times (2X) the Monthly Rent. This amount will be limited to $5,000 per home, per incident. This excludes pet damage covered in our Free Animal Protection Guarantee and / or damage caused by an authorized Service Animal per the Fair Housing Guidelines.
What is the Duration of the Lease?
All leases are in writing and normally cover a period of one or two years. Longer leases are approved after discussion with the property owner. With the owner’s approval, during slower rental periods, we accept leases for less than one year in order to have the lease expire during a more active rental period. On occasion we may elect to place a tenant on a month to month or 6 month rental lease to accommodate sale of the property by the owner, a tenant’s pending departure, or moving the property into a more active rental period such as the summer.
When to Renew Lease Contracts with your San Antonio Rental Property
RentWerx San Antonio End of Lease Procedures
Occupants - Who is on the Lease?Everyone who lives in the property must be named on the Lease Agreement. It is our Policy that a guest staying with the tenant longer than 30 days is no longer considered to be a guest but a roommate, therefore, if the person is Eighteen (18) years of age or older, he/she must fill out and submit our Rental Application for approval by RentWerx San Antonio. Tenant(s) must abide by the decision of RentWerx San Antonio whether another person or persons can be added to the Rental/Lease Agreement. Failure to do so may result in termination of their lease.
Rental PaymentsRent payments are due on the 1st day of each month. If a tenant moves into a property during the middle of the month, rent for the month will be pro-rated, and the rent for the ensuing months will be due on the 1st.
Can you put the money directly into my checking account?Yes! We can deposit your proceeds directly into your bank account. We will email you your monthly statements. Also you may login to our online portal to view your monthly statements.
When do you disperse the owner's funds and email statements?
Frequently, we get asked why owners have to wait so long to get their rent proceeds when rent is due on the 1st of the month. We think that it is a good question!
Yes, our lease agreement states that the rent is due on the 1st of the month. Texas law says that we have to give the tenants a grace period. Therefore, the tenants have to midnight on the 4th before they are considered to be late with their rent.
So consequently, when we open our office on the (5th), we have a lot of rents that were dropped off late on the night of the 4th. If the 5th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, or a holiday, in which case we are closed, this will further delay the process. The checks that we receive on the morning of the 5th, we have to post into the property management software. Then we have to do deposit slips for the bank, so then on the afternoon of the 5th (sometimes later), if all goes smoothly, we can deposit any recently dropped off checks into the bank. The bank then has to post these deposits to our account, which again, if it falls on a weekend or a holiday, does not happen until the following Monday, or workday for the bank. Therefore, if the funds for us to send you your money are not credited or put into our account before we send out checks then some of checks we send out could be returned for Nonsufficient funds, causing numerous other problems for all of us.
We process statements and rent proceeds between the 7th and 9th of each month. You should receive your statement and rent proceeds no later than the 10th to the 12th providing the property is occupied and the rent has been paid on time.
Disbursements are made by ACH direct deposit into the owners’ accounts and statement notifications are emailed the next day.
What happens if the tenant does not pay their rent?
If payment has not been made by the 5th – 7th day of the month, we send an eviction notice posted to the front door of the home. Whether or not we eventually have to proceed with a formal eviction depends on the specific circumstances. It is usually financially better, for all involved, if a solution can be worked out. If the tenant has experienced a one-time event which caused them a financial hardship, and we have had no previous problems with them, we will normally give them a chance to catch up, if there is reason to believe they can do so. If the tenant has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of late payments, broken promises and/or evasiveness, eviction is usually the best course of action.
Each case is unique, and we make our decisions based on what is best for you and the property in the long run. We always proceed with the legal notices required for eviction regardless of any other factors. We will simply postpone the actual filing of the eviction if the tenant is showing favorable effort toward resolution. Evictions in Texas are a simple legal matter as there is no way a tenant can prevail in court if they have not paid rent, and the landlord has properly executed the notices and filing. Full evictions, when necessary, can usually be completed in five to six weeks. If the tenant can fully catch up with rent and late fees during that process, an eviction can be halted at anytime.
How much security deposit do you charge the tenant?RentWerx offers a “Preferred Tenant Program” to assist in marketing your home For Rent by easing the burden of up-front expenses that tenants incur while moving. This program allows tenants to OPT IN to a monthly fee in lieu of paying a standard Security Deposit, which has customarily been equal to One Month’s Rent. Should an applicant sign up for the Preferred Tenant Program and OPT OUT of paying an all up front Security Deposit, RentWerx offers all Owners the Free Double Security Deposit Guarantee. This program will offer to repair or reimburse Owner for damages caused to the home by the tenant above normal fair wear and tear, up to the amount of 2 times (2X) the Monthly Rent. This amount will be limited to $5,000 per home, per incident. This excludes pet damage covered in our Free Animal Protection Guarantee and / or damage caused by an authorized Service Animal per the Fair Housing Guidelines.
Who holds the tenant's security deposit?sRentWerx San Antonio will hold the security deposit in a Trust Account in accordance with State and Texas Real Estate Commission guidelines. At the end of the lease agreement, the security deposit will be itemized and refunded back to the outgoing tenant. Should a tenant default, the security deposit would be credited to the owner.
Do you Pro-Rate your Management Fee?Yes! If we end up with a military tenant who stays for only 9 months out of a 12 month lease, RentWerx San Antonio will pro-rate our management fee and credit your next lease.
Thorough Preparation of the Rental PropertyThe most desirable properties, priced well, will not lease quickly if they are not in top condition. Properties must show well and have “curb appeal”. We make sure your property is presented in a clean and attractive condition so that it will catch the attention of a good, qualified tenant.
Under your system of property management, how informed then will I be about what’s going on with my property?
We have a “ZERO SURPRISE” policy in regards to your home. If a repair request or tenant action comes in, you will be informed about it simply through our automated email system using our management software. Our Portfolio Manager’s and staff do their very best to ensure we stay in constant communication with you about your home.
Related article: Are Furnished Rentals a Good Idea in San Antonio Rental Property?
Key Control:We have strict control of all keys. The keys for each property are locked in a steel wall cabinet and are assigned a control number (i.e., they are not labeled with an address). All keys issued to tenants, repairmen or agents are documented. We need at least four sets of keys to each property – One to the Owner, One to RentWerx San Antonio, and Two for the tenants.
Is the management agreement a standard, widely used form?RentWerx San Antonio took the standard Texas Association of Realtors Property Management Agreement which was 11 pages of fluff and condensed it down to less than half. There were things in there that did not apply to how we do business and we wanted a form that was easier to understand. It has been attorney reviewed and agreed to by hundreds of our owners.
What type of properties do you manage?We specialize in Single-Family homes, Duplexes, Town Homes, and small apartment complexes.
What type of properties do you not manage?We don’t manage commercial properties. We don’t manage properties with chronic repair issues or conditions that might adversely affect the health or safety of an ordinary tenant. An example would be a home with a rotted 2nd story deck that an owner “can’t afford” to properly repair. We understand funds can be tight for some owners – but if we feel an owner will not be able to afford or approve any repairs – it only reflects poorly on us with the tenant.
What is the Leasing Fee?Find all our available plans HERE.
Are your fees negotiable?
Our fees are the best in the Industry! We do not have any room to negotiate and are very confident you will not find a better property management company for what we charge. Most other property managers will charge you 50% up front, and then 10% a month for as long as they manage your home. We give you the option from three different plans – the SILVER PLAN, the GOLD PLAN, and the PLATINUM PLAN. RentWerx San Antonio takes into account the modern world of doing business to include emails, internet, electronic signatures, and online banking. It makes you wonder how the old-school property management companies can get away with charging you what they charged people 50 or 100 years ago, but can accomplish anything they need to do in a fraction of the time is used to take.
Do you want your mail delivered by Pony Express or Email to your smart phone? The other property managers are charging you for delivering Pony Express because that is when they established their rates! RentWerx San Antonio has designed our fees around the modern way of doing business. We encourage you to do the math and decide for yourself.
Are there administrative fees or other service charges?It is our position that we can do nearly anything the owner would ask of us, but – there is usually a cost associated with this. If a service request falls outside the normal scope of our Management Agreement, there could potentially be a charge – Refer to our Owner Charges List. Example – if an owner wants us to go to the home to check that their sprinkler system is on after they just vacated the home and moved out of state – we can do this, but there may have to be a charge for this. Even the quickest task can take atleast 1-2 hours with San Antonio traffic.
Pest Control:Owners have an obligation to provide a residence that is relatively free of pests upon occupancy. If not, the owner is responsible for treatment(s) during the first 30 days after the tenant’s original possession date. The owner is responsible for maintaining the residence in a reasonable rodent-proof condition and rectifying any condition that would allow squirrels, birds, etc… to enter and nest. Infestations of mice, squirrels, vermin, and or poisonous insects need to be taken seriously, as they can cause damage to a property and can be a health risk to people. Infestations of this type are treated at the owner’s expense. This does not release the tenant from their obligation to keep the property in a clean and sanitary condition so as not to promote the attraction of rodents and or pests.
No pets may be kept on the property without RentWerx written authorization. Pets include birds and fish in aquariums larger than ten gallons. Our properties have restrictions on number, size and type of pets. We recommend, due to the fact that 70% to 85% of today’s renters have pets, that owners allow pets – or be open to negotiation with a tenant who may have them.
ALL applicants must create a profile through PetScreening.com, for applicants with no animals can create a profile at no cost and will sign a legal document attesting not owning a pet.
For applicants with pets, they will create a profile, sharing all revlevant information of their animal and PetScreening will review accuracy of the documents and provide a “Paw Score”. Animal fee ranges from $40 to $100 depending on this Paw Score.
Of course, the tenants are liable for any damage caused by pets. Unauthorized pets found on a property can result in eviction and/ or a numerous additional charges to include one month’s rent and a daily charge. We take un-authorized pets very seriously.
We are extremely careful when selecting tenants who wish to bring pets with them.
If you do not allow pets, it may double or even triple the time it takes to rent your property. If you will not allow pets, please let us know in writing, or we will assume that pets are allowed and follow our normal pet policies.
For full details, read our screening criteria.
Eviction procedures are initiated against the tenants if they have not paid their rent by the fourth (4th) & the sixth (6th) day of the month. The provisions of an eviction notice can vary. Some give the resident three days to move, while others allow the tenant to remain in the house if they pay the full amount due, including any late fees.
This first step is called a Notice to Vacate. If, after approximately two days, the tenant does not respond to these notices, we go to the local Justice of the Peace and file an eviction called a Forcible Entry and Detainer Notice (FE&D). The FE&D demands that the resident appear in court on a certain day. At that time your Portfolio Manager would appear in court to represent your interests and will make a claim for all monies due. The third and most sensitive step of eviction is what is known as asking the court for a Writ of Possession or simply a Writ. A Writ is required when a resident fails to comply with the FE&D ordered by the court. The Writ process requires us to hire a crew (2 men per bedroom according to the local Constable) to set a tenant’s belongings at street side or, during inclement weather, in storage. When you have monetary damages as a result of this process, a judgment is issued by the court. We file the judgment in the applicable county records and with the Credit Bureaus using SARMA (www.SARMA.com). On the average it takes about forty-five days to evict a tenant, and hopefully this will not happen with your property. We do very few evictions thanks to our strict tenant screening. When at all possible, we will attempt to mitigate owner’s losses with encouraging the tenant to leave and in some cases offer a “cash for keys” exchange to assist the tenant in moving.
Inspection of Property:
RentWerx San Antonio recommends Managers Rekey: managersrekey.com
RentWerx San Antonio offers their owners an option to use a very effective and inexpensive service to have their property documented with pictures and a clear, concise report. This service is recommended before any renewal of a current tenant, and also encouraged after a tenant vacates a home. If the owner desires, an inspection can be ordered every 6 months in some circumstances. This is the best money an owner can ever spend for the following reasons:
- It clearly documents what the home looks like during the inspection with 60-100 color photos.
- Air Filters are Checked.
- Home is checked for unauthorized pets.
- This holds the tenants accountable as they know up front inspections will be very detailed and routine.
It helps eliminate any legal recourse a tenant may pursue over a security deposit. Often times, if a tenant disagrees with the amount of security deposit refunded it is because they claim they left the home in “perfect” condition – when that may not be the case. Having this document in hand can eliminate any legal disputes very quickly by providing hard evidence to back up any withheld deposits.
Tenant Purchasing a Home:When tenants purchase a home prior to their lease expiration, they fall into the same category as a tenant who breaks their lease, and all rules pertaining to breaking a lease apply. RE: Paragraph 28 of the Texas Lease Agreement.
Vacancy:While a property is unoccupied, periodic inspections are made to see that lawns and yards are maintained, the property is presentable, and that no vandalism has occurred. During periods of vacancy, it is physically impossible for our staff to accomplish the task of watering the lawn and shrubs. If this service is needed, we will assist in contracting for the service at your expense.
Rental Increases / Lease Renewals:
Unless we receive specific written instructions from an owner at least 45 days prior to a lease expiration date, rent increases (if any) and lease renewals will be solely at the discretion of RentWerx San Antonio.
When making the decision on whether or not to increase rents, we consider market conditions, neighborhood conditions, resident payment history, length of occupancy, property condition, time of year and anticipated expiration date of any renewal.
Our standard rent raise is on average 2% of the monthly rent. Tenants are informed of this type of rent raise from the very beginning of their tenancy in the application and initial lease.
There are times after the tenants initial lease agreement, where the tenants needs to stay on a month-to-month lease agreement or renew their lease agreement for a shorter period of time because of pending job transfers, purchasing a property, financial reasons, etc… Unless the owner is moving back into the property or putting the property on the market for sale, we will allow shorter periods.
Once a lease is signed, it cannot be changed, so it is very important for you to notify us well in advance of your desire to make any changes.
Breaking the Lease:
A lease normally contains only one provision by which a tenant can terminate his or her lease without penalty.
A Military Clause permits military personnel to terminate the lease when they present proof of a transfer outside the San Antonio metropolitan area. They are required to provide thirty days written notice prior to vacating the house. If orders are not available, a letter signed by their Commanding Officer will suffice.
Occasionally, a tenant’s civilian employer requires them to transfer to another city. In this case, the resident may terminate their lease by following the EARLY TERMINATION procedures in their lease agreement.
The tenant will bear all expenses normally experienced with re-renting the home, and pays the rent until the property is re-rented, tenants may be released from their obligations upon successful completion of the early termination and paying all associated fees involved.
Some examples that fall outside of normal management service:
- Example (1). When an owner wants to use a company like Sears to deliver a new stove to a vacant property, and we have to meet Sears at the property, there is a service fee associated with this to take the time, personnel and gas to go to the home and accommodate this request.
- Example (2). If the owner is refinancing the property, and we must meet the appraiser or other person at the property, there is a service fee associated with this.
- Example (3). Sometimes an owner wants us to take pictures of a new fence, new roof or a repair that has been done on the property. We are happy to do this for owners, but we have to charge a service fee for this.
Owners often ask us to do things that are outside our normal management services, and we try to accommodate our owners whenever possible.
What is ‘Additional Insured’?
Often, we are asked what is “additional insured” and why the owner should name the management company as additional insured.
The First and best line of protection an owner has in the event of a lawsuit brought on by a tenant being injured on the property by faulty wiring or a faulty appliance or anything else is to carry adequate insurance. Additional insured is a person or organization not automatically included as an insured entity under an insurance policy, but for whom insured status is arranged, usually by endorsement.
A property owner’s reason for providing additional insured status to others may be a desire to protect the other party because of a close relationship with that party (e.g., employees ) or to comply with a contractual agreement requiring the named insured to do so (e.g., Property Management Agreement or others working in behalf of the owner).
The Property Management Agreements requires the owners to name the property management company as additional insured because the management company does not hold title to the rental property that they are managing and cannot acquire general liability insurance on property that they don’t own to cover the management company. Ordinarily there is no extra premium charge to the property owner to add the management company as additional insured.
What is your Monthly Management Fee?Our management fee varies with the three plans we offer. See our MANAGEMENT PAGE.
What should I do if the tenant calls me?Responsible tenants are valuable assets to both of us. A satisfied tenant can bring us referral business and will be more inclined to care for your property as if it was their own. As the owner of the property, it is best that you avoid direct communication with the resident and refer all inquiries to our office. We maintain a diplomatic relationship, between you and your tenant. We do understand that this is your home and asset and there are some owners who prefer to be best friends with their tenants. However, we don’t recommend this as when something happens that requires strict action – we find that tenants will mommy / daddy us. We tell them “NO – you can’t pay late this month because you overspent money last month.” They don’t like that answer and turn around and contact the owner. If the owner gives in to the tenant, it ruins our ability to enforce anything – defeating the purpose of why you hire a property manager in the first place.
How does your Portfolio Management Style Work?In 2015, RentWerx San Antonio re-organized into a Portfolio Management design. During that transition, we took the 400+ homes we managed and divided those into 4 equal portfolios – and then assigning that portfolio to a Licensed Realtor on our staff. That Portfolio Manager and their dedicated team will be your point of contact. When you have questions, you will be contacting the team that is the most knowledgeable regarding your property/properties. Their job is to ensure the owner is kept well informed at all times, to oversee the lease of the home, and to ensure the home is being maintained with reviewing inspections. This is just a short paraphrase of all the things a Portfolio Manager does – it is not as simple of a job as this may seem!
Who is a Portfolio Manager?We have searched for and employed licensed Realtor’s with experience in property management, then trained them in how we do business. This foundation of licensing and past background will set the formation for being able to bring plenty of experience in managing your home. We intentionally dispersed the portfolio to our managers with the Lease End dates in mind so they can handle the workload of an outgoing tenant, incoming applications, new lease signing, and numerous walk thrus of the home.
Why is your Portfolio Manager a Licensed Realtor?We wanted licensed Realtors because it will provide and extra level of professionalism and experience to our owners. We are NOT required to make our Portfolio Managers licensed Realtors – but we wanted to anyway to ensure they have the qualifications to provide the type of advice and service a landlord would expect.
How does your Portfolio Manager get compensated?Our Portfolio Managers earn a share of the management fee revenue generated by their portfolio. Their financial interests are directly aligned with the same financial interests of the owners. If rent does not get paid, neither does the Portfolio Manager.
What are the benefits to the Owner by using your company and a Portfolio Manager?We know from experience that a company that does not have a single owner point of contact simply frustrates and confuses the owners. From an owner’s perspective, they want ONE person to email or call with any questions or concerns. In addition, our Portfolio Managers will become extremely familiar with the owner, the tenant, and the home from placing the tenant in the home along with the numerous walk thrus they have conducted.
What is your Preventative Maintenance Program and How Much Does It Cost?See our page to this program HERE.
I want to go see my home – will someone from RentWerx meet me there?
Should the owner feel they require someone from our staff to meet them at the home to walk their property, this can be arranged. However, we feel it a bit un-necessary and may even have to charge a trip fee for the Portfolio Manager’s time in order to do this. We have seen where owners will fly into town and want to see the home on a Sunday morning prior to flying out. This is not fair to ask the Portfolio Manager to take time away from their family to meet the owner outside of regular business hours, and we believe this to be above the normal scope of services.
There are exceptions to this rule, but we feel that if an owner wants to see the home – we can arrange it with the tenant so the owner can make a quick walk thru with the tenant present in the home. WORD OF CAUTION: We advise owners not to attempt to engage in a walk thru of their home without pre-arranged permission from the tenant. In addition, at the walk thru, we advise the owners to NOT give any of their contact information to the tenants as this will lead to tenants wanting to contact the owner for something that should be handled by the company the owner has hired to manage their home.
What is your Landlord Rescue Program?This program was designed to allow us to step in and assist an owner to get their rental home back on track either with an existing tenant, or a pending eviction. Learn more about this program HERE.
Can you cover any costs associated with an Eviction with the Landlord Rescue Program?If we do choose to take on this home under our Landlord Rescue Program, the owner would be responsible for covering all court costs, filing fees, walk thru fees, and any other costs of an eviction. These funds are required up front to cover the actual hard costs associated with filing an eviction. Example – it costs $202.00 just to file an eviction in the local Justice of the Peace for a married couple.
Can you honor your Eviction Assurance, Rent Protection, or Damage Assurance programs with a tenant you inherit from a new landlord?We will only honor these programs for tenants we pre-screen under our application process and have signed one of our lease agreements. We are unable to honor these programs for inherited tenants or tenants that are pushed upon us by the landlord. Example: If we are told by the owner to rent their home to their best friend’s cousin, even though they do not qualify under normal guidelines, we will not be able to honor these three add on programs in that scenario.
Property Condition and Maintenance
Can I go by and view my property?Yes. In fact, we recommend owners view their property at least once every year or two years. Owners should give RentWerx at least three to four business days worth of notice, so we can make arrangements with the tenants. Often the trip to view your property is tax deductible! Please check with your tax advisor.
Decorator Paint in Home:
Although the decorator paint colors you used in your bedroom, bath or living room is enjoyable and pleasing to you that is not necessarily true for the prospective tenants.
We consistently find that having even one wall that is maroon or green or one bedroom that is blue or pink can greatly increase the time it takes to rent the property each time it becomes available. We strongly recommend that all walls and ceilings be painted an off white or neutrally light color.
All rental units including apartments, duplexes, condos, and single-family homes must have smoke detectors as required by the Texas Property Code HB 1168.
New Legislation Texas law HB 1168 requires at least one smoke alarm to be placed in each bedroom, or in the room used for sleeping in the case of an efficiency unit. In addition, if multiple bedrooms are served by the same hallway, there must be a smoke alarm in the hallway in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms; and if the unit has multiple levels, there must be a smoke alarm on each level.
Replacement of Smoke Alarms:Unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer’s published instructions, single- and multiple-stations smoke alarms shall be replaced when they fail to respond to operability tests, but shall not remain in service longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture.
Mandatory Re-Key of Homes and Security Devices:
Part of the Texas Property Code is to have all locks rekeyed to a home when taking the home back from one tenant and turning it over to a new tenant. This expense falls on the owner and is against the law to charge to the tenant. When RentWerx San Antonio takes over a home directly from the owner, re-keying the home is not required. See Texas Property Code.
All rental-housing owners in Texas should have been in compliance with the Texas security device statute as of January 1, 1995.
The statute applies to owners of apartments, houses, duplexes, triplexes, condominium units, townhouses, cooperatives, mobile homes, rooms in private dormitories and rooming houses, garage apartments, public housing projects, and all other types of dwellings that are rented.
The safety and security of your residents and their families are at stake – as well as your own potential liability exposure to multimillion-dollar lawsuits. Here is a list of what should have been done: or what will be done when converting a residence into a rental property.
- Keyless deadbolts. You must have a keyless deadbolt on every exterior door, including a door from a garage into the dwelling. A keyless deadbolt is not necessary on sliding glass doors or on doors that open from a garage to the outside.
- Keyed deadbolts. You must have a keyed deadbolt or a keyed doorknob lock on at least one exterior door. You don’t need a keyed lock on all exterior doors. You need a keyed lock on only one exterior door which is normally used for entry. That lock can be either a keyed deadbolt or a keyed doorknoblock. Obviously, a keyed deadbolt is far superior to a keyed doorknob lock because of its one-inch bolt.
- Door-viewers. You must have either a door-viewer (peephole), a clear glass pane or one-way mirror in each exterior door –even if there is a clear glass panel or window right next to the door –and even if the door opens from the dwelling into the garage and even if the door is at the rear of the dwelling or on the second or third story of the dwelling. Door-viewer range must be160o or greater; lens can be made of plastic but glass is better.
- Pin locks on sliding glass doors. You must have a sliding door pin lock on each sliding glass door.
- Security bars or door-handle latches on sliding glass doors. You must have either a security bar (sometimes called a “Charlie bar”) or a door-handle latch that works, on each sliding glass door. You have a choice of one or the other.
- Window latches. You must have a window latch on each window. It can be the original latch or an after-market type.
- French doors. All French doors must have a threshold bolt and upper door jamb bolt (with a 3/4″ throw) on one door. The other door must have a keyless deadbolt and either a keyed deadbolt or keyed doorknob lock.
- Automatic door closers. You must have an automatic door closer on each hinged door that opens directly into a pool-yard or a multi-unit rental complex (defined as “two or more units”). This requirement is in the 1993 pool-yard enclosure statute rather than the security device statute. Door closers on sliding glass doors are not required. Similarly, door closers on doors opening into a pool-yard of a rent house are not required, but they are highly recommended for safety and liability reasons. Spring-loaded door hinge pins seem to be the best and most aesthetic type of automatic door closers.
- Window screens. Window screens are not statutorily required by the security device statute. But if a window has a screen and the window is in a wall used as part of a pool-yard enclosure of a multi-unit complex, the poolyard statute requires the screen to have a screen latch or be permanently affixed with screws.
- Upper floors: the requirements of the statute apply no matter how high or what story the door or window is on.
- Good working order. You must have all security devices working properly when residents move in.
- Rekeying at turnover. At each resident turnover we rekey all keyed deadbolts and keyed doorknob locks on exterior doors if the doors can be opened from the outside by a key. We require owners to use our locksmith. Our locksmith re-keys the property to our key system and makes sure the locks and smoke alarms are up to code.
- Quick repair. You must quickly repair or replace a security device that you or your employees at any time discover is missing or not working–even if the resident has not asked you to do so.
- Prompt response. You must promptly respond to legitimate resident requests for rekeying, repairing, installing or replacing–preferably within three days after receiving the tenant’s request, but no later than seven days.
- Fair charges. You must be fair in billing residents for rekeying, repairs and installations for which they’re liable. Even though it is allowed by the statute under certain circumstances, it is recommended that you not require payment in advance. It’s too easy to mistakenly require advance payment when you’re not supposed to under the statute.
It is illegal for unlicensed locksmiths to install repair and service locks. It also is illegal for businesses needing locksmith services to knowingly contract with an unlicensed locksmith, directly or indirectly through a maintenance company. Both criminal and civil penalties apply. Individuals changing house or personal property locks also are subject to the same law.
Do you hold some of my money for repairs? How much?We typically hold a $300 reserve for all properties that we manage to help cover any small repair items that come up.
Do you use the cheapest maintenance people you can find?
We do not! We have access to “all-around” maintenance technicians who are skilled in a wide range of home repairs including air-conditioning, light plumbing and electrical. We save our owners money by using these technicians for the majority of multi-trade and make-ready tasks. Another benefit of using these technicians is the opportunity for checking out the general condition of the property – something that a single trade vendor will not do for you.
We believe we have developed a very sensible approach to handling maintenance and repairs, and that you will realize cost savings that other property management companies simply cannot deliver.
What if I want you to use my plumber, A/C Company, etc.?
If the home is vacant, you can use your own vendor. If home is occupied, then we will use our approved vendors.
Our Director of Maintenance can go over any further details with an owner.
Utilities:Unless otherwise stated in the Residential Property Leasing and Management Agreement or restricted by property limitations, all utilities used on the premises are paid for by the tenant. New tenants are advised to notify the appropriate utility companies to have service turned on in their name. During periods of vacancy, utilities can be placed in the company’s name, and the resulting usage will be charged to the owner’s account. Having the electricity on greatly enhances the showing of your property when darkness arrives early in the evening and during hot weather.
What do you do if they are not taking care of my property as they should?We give them an opportunity to correct the situation, and usually they will. If a problem persists, we will make a decision based on that specific situation to take more drastic measures that could include eviction if needed. Prior to pushing towards an eviction, the courts will require an “Opportunity to Cure” the defect. Example – if they have an un-authorized pet in the home – we would have to send them formal correspondence to remove the pet by a certain date, then inspect the home to ensure compliance (all at tenant expense). If they fail to comply, our case is solid and an eviction over the matter would be more justified with the propert documentation.
How do I know you won't spend my money on large repairs without my approval?
This is the greatest fear of most new owners. We have this in our management agreement – in writing – to abide by our spending limits. Ordinary maintenance and repairs of less than $250 can be paid out of your account without prior specific owner permission, and you will see this in your monthly statement. If we think a repair might exceed $250 and if we are unable to reach you, we may initiate repair work even if it is higher than $250 as stated in the management agreement; for the following cases: (1) the health or safety of a tenant is an issue; (2) the property will incur damage if immediate action is not taken, (3) In instances where there is only one option to consider. We will not leave a tenant waiting in 90+-degree heat without A/C or without hot water, or a leaking roof while we try to contact you for permission to do the obvious.
Sometimes an owner will complain that we spent $265(for example) when it was not an emergency. Instead of having the owner incur an additional trip fee just for us to get an estimate, and then having to send the company back out to do the repair it makes more financial sense to agree to the repair at the time the technician is on site. This saves the tenant time, the owner money, and we are all better off because of this. Imagine if you were a tenant – you take off work on a Tuesday afternoon and the tech shows up to look at your garbage disposal. It needs approximately $265.00 worth of work to be fixed. If we were unable to approve this job, the tech would have to leave your home and then come back another day to do the work….again making the tenant take off work to accommodate a $15.00 technicality. Come renewal time – tenants remember these things and could cost both of us an excellent tenant.
We always tell the maintenance companies to alert us if the repair is going to be over $250. Sometimes the maintenance company may think that the repair will not go over $250, but after they get working on the repair, they find that there is more to fix than they could see before they started the job. It would not make good sense and it could be a safety issue if the company had to leave an air conditioner or dishwasher, etc. torn apart while we waited for your permission to ok the additional $50.00(for example) and then the maintenance company could charge another trip charge on top of the extra money for the repairs. This would not be in your (the owners) best interest – or the tenants.
Maintenance Charges & Late Charges:
When a tenant owes a maintenance or late charge, our policy is to withhold from their regular monthly rent payment any amount that is owed. Tenant’s failure to pay the lease payment prior to 12:00 p.m. on the 4th day of each month requires them to pay the late fee, as stated in their lease, which is collected at the same time as the monthly payment. If the tenant fails to include the late fees with their rental payment, your income for the month will be short because we follow the Texas Lease Agreement and Texas Property Code to credit all payments to non-rent charges first, including late charges.
The Justice of the Peace (JP) court system only permits us to evict for nonpayment of rent. Because of this eviction restriction, we must collect any delinquencies first which causes the unpaid amount to be for rent only. Hopefully, you will receive the balance of your income in the next monthly collection cycle.
How do you handle maintenance requests?Tenants may submit maintenance requests though our website, email, mail, or our preferred method of entering in requests through the tenant portal. After receiving a repair request, we will contact the tenant and ask them questions in order to help us determine the exact nature of the problem before sending a service technician. We make sure it is not something the tenant can fix themselves (ex: reset button on the disposal, tripped breaker etc.) before your money is spent on a service call. After determining that it is a legitimate problem, we will send the appropriate service vendor or one of RentWerx San Antonio Maintenance service techs to make the repair. We tell our tenants that we are able to handle most repair requests within 1 to 3 working days, and, in fact, are usually able to do so. Comfort items such as air conditioning, no hot water or heat, receive highest priority and are usually attended to the same or next business day.
In most of our leases, the tenant is responsible for yard maintenance which includes watering, cutting grass, weeding, reseeding if needed, trimming shrubs and flowers. Owners are responsible for trimming limbs that are on or near roofs. The area around the driveway, sidewalks, curbs and gutters are considered to be part of the yard and need to be kept free of weeds, grass, and leaves. For security reasons, hedges and bushes should be trimmed so they do not to block the view from windows. In some cases where an owner has put a lot of money into landscaping, we recommend doing the yard work for the tenant with a professional landscaper. This would be built into the lease and would afford the owner to ask for more in rent.
NOTE: Owners should not expect tenants to perform the type of upkeep that owners would do such as leave removal, fertilizing, heavy trimming, mulching, and annual type of clean ups. Tenants will usually cut the grass and trim. Unfortunately, the courts have taken the same opinion in the matter. Judges would not expect tenants to pay thousands of dollars to trim trees on the property they have lived at for 12 months.
How do you make sure the tenant is taking good care of my property?
First, careful tenant selection protects your property from being rented to unqualified people.
During the lease term, we may have occasion to enter the property for repair or maintenance reasons and will use that opportunity to examine the property. In addition, upon request, we can schedule a 6-month property inspection to see how the tenants are maintaining the property. We make sure the air filter is being changed, that the smoke alarms have batteries, and that there are no unreported problems at the property.
The right for us to make routine inspections of the property is part of the tenant’s lease agreement and can be exercised by the owner or the property manager at any time. Courtesy would dictate we offer some sort of approved notice to the tenant.
How informed will I be about what happens with my property?We believe that you hire a property manager to manage the property for you, not to assist you in managing it yourself. We can offer a turnkey style of property management service which is most appreciated by those property owners who prefer to be “out of the loop” on all but the most important matters related to the management and leasing of the property. We don’t have to pester you with small details, questions, information or “updates” about your property or tenants, except for those matters which will have a significant impact on your monthly cash flow. Instead, we can simply take care of the things you have entrusted us to handle on your behalf.
The actual maintenance expenses for the home are the responsibility of the homeowner. Every effort is made to control maintenance costs while maintaining the integrity and value of the property. While the property is occupied, the tenants are required to notify our office of any problems. If the estimated cost to repair exceeds the maximum that is allowed in the Residential Property Leasing and Management Agreement, the owner is contacted for permission to make the necessary repairs. (Except as outlined in the agreement)
We realize it can be rather upsetting when you receive an unexpected bill from us for repairs made to your property; however, some repairs are urgent and must be corrected immediately. Emergency repairs are made in accordance with our Residential Management Agreement. Normally, the tenants pay a portion of the repair expense but if, in our opinion, the expense was due to their negligence, the tenant will be billed and become liable for the entire amount. We do not do bids or estimates on repairs under $250.00. On larger jobs, a bid will be presented to you for approval before work can begin. In addition, we would require a 50% payment up front to cover any costs of material to begin the work.
We ask that owners deposit $200.00 for a maintenance reserve upon signing the Residential Property Management Agreement. A copy of any bills will accompany your statement explaining the type of work/repair accomplished on the property and posted to the owner portal.
My brother-in-law is fairly handy; will you use him to perform repairs?
If the home is vacant, you can use your own vendor. If home is occupied, then we will use our approved vendors.
Our Director of Maintenance can go over any further details with an owner.
My home has a pool. How do you handle the maintenance?Unlike other property management companies – RentWerx San Antonio CAN manage your home that has a swimming pool. We suggest building enough cash flow into the lease to provide a regular professional pool cleaning service to ensure the pool is being maintained correctly. This service will be contracted by the owner or property manager and access will be granted by the tenants.
No Smoking PolicySmoking is not allowed inside any of the homes RentWerx manages. We will rent to tenants who smoke, but we require them and their guests to smoke outside. We make this very clear to them; they are required to sign that they fully understand this at the time of their application, and it is also part of the lease agreement.
I want you to use a Home Warranty for all covered repairs, is that ok?
We prefer that the owners do not use a Home Warranty Company to make repairs at their rental property. It is possible for us to accommodate a home warranty – but read this first!
There is a HUGE problem in the home warranty industry, and the public is becoming savvy to it.
Try searching Google with the name of your favorite home warranty company and the word `complaints’ or `fraud’. You will be amazed. Find out how many people feel like they got burned, turned down wrongfully, or got seriously bad service. Furthermore, feel free to visit www.my3cents.com for even more examples of this currently growing problem THERE ARE MANY OTHERS…..
Almost Every time we call a home warranty company for a problem, they deny the service either on grounds of lack of maintenance or abnormal wear and tear. How do you define abnormal wear and tear and lack of maintenance? When it comes to exclusions and small print, Warranty contracts say a claim can be denied for lack of maintenance, improper maintenance, improper installation, pre-existing problems, code violations and numerous other reasons.
Warranties are typically purchased by home sellers or their real estate agents to avoid lawsuits if something breaks in the first year.
Not to be confused with a builder’s warranty, a so-called home warranty — Actually a service contract — is typically purchased for existing homes, especially homes sold by real estate agents. These service contracts generally cost $400 to $600 for a year-long basic-coverage plan that includes items like ceiling fans, water heaters and furnaces.
The contracts come with loopholes. You need to carefully read your service agreement to determine what is and what isn’t covered. Coverage for plumbing, for example, typically ends at your home’s foundation, so leaks or breakages beyond that would be your responsibility. “Pre-existing” problems typically aren’t covered, nor are breakdowns that result from poor maintenance or improper installation. The contract also may require that a system be upgraded to current building code standards — at the homeowner’s expense — before they agree to consider repairs. People who have had problems with the home warranty companies say that the more expensive the repair or replacement, the more likely home warranty companies are to invoke these exclusion clauses.
You don’t have control over who does the work. The home warranty provider contracts with local service companies to perform the actual inspections and repairs. You don’t get to choose, and scheduling repairs can sometimes be a trial taking days for immediate service.
The service technician may also try to sell you unneeded services.
So what is a homeowner to do? Many consumer advocates would say it’s better to “self-insure” — setting aside a reasonable sum each year to cover routine maintenance and finding reliable local contractors to do the work. You can’t shift all the risk of home repairs to a home warranty company because, as noted above, many repairs won’t be covered by your agreement.
So when might a home warranty make sense? If you are trying to sell a house, a home warranty can give buyers some peace of mind and may reduce the chances of your being sued should an appliance or system break down after the sale.
We have had hundreds of problems with home warranties. An example: we had a bathroom faucet go on the blink; we called the Home Warranty Company. After paying the $55 deductible, their contractor refused to make the repair. So we had our plumber go out and they made the repair for $65. We have experienced this over and over where the owners are spending money on deductibles and then we have to send out our maintenance people to fix the problem.
Our next problem came in the form of a malfunctioning air conditioner. After 2 days with the tenants having no A/C and paying a $60 deductible, the service technician reported that there was lack of maintenance and therefore it had to be replaced and cannot be covered under the Home Warranty. They gave us an estimate of $4,000 to replace a 6 year old A/C system. Also the tenants are staying in a Hotel and want to be reimbursed for their expenses. We sent out our A/C vendor and he said the A/C unit is perfectly fine except that a small part had to be replaced; total cost from our vendor was under $250 to fix the problem while on site!
On another property, a dishwasher repair was needed. The home warranty company took 3 months and had make 15 trips out to the property to repair the dishwasher. If you were the tenant how would you feel? Would you be renewing your lease with this landlord anytime soon?
On one property the A/C went out in the summer and it took 21 trips and 3 months before the warranty company finally replaced the A/C. You can be sure the tenants moved as soon as their lease agreement was up. Other tenants would have gotten an attorney and been suing the owner.
Often they will leave tenants hanging without heat or A/C for days while they go through their “second opinion” process.
If, as a property management company, we wanted to damage our reputation with as many tenants as possible by providing the lousiest repair service possible, there is no better way to accomplish that than by using a warranty company on all service calls. They simply are not compatible with the level of service we demand of our vendors.
Our owners have been burned so many times in years past that we finally decided we had enough, and said “no more”. Nothing affects the reputation of a property management company more than the manner in which repairs are handled. Tenants judge us by almost no other measure. It therefore makes little sense to entrust vendors we don’t know, whom we have no relationship with or control over, with the reputation of our company and the relationship with your tenant. Instead, when repairs are needed, we will send our trusted vendors with whom established relationships exists, and they will provide the quality service we require in a professional and timely manner. That said, if we determine through our own vendor that a covered mechanical item in your home has failed, or is in need of costly repair, we will endeavor to get whatever Home Warranty company you have out to honor the warranty, provided that they accomplish the service call and repair in a time frame and manner that is reasonable and just to all parties.
Take a look at Paragraph 18 section F of the tenants lease agreement 18. REPAIRS: F. NOTICE: If Landlord fails to repair a condition that materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant as required by this lease or the Property Code, Tenant may be entitled to exercise remedies under §92.056 and §92.0561 of the Property Code. If Tenant follows the procedures under those sections, the following remedies may be available to Tenant: (1) terminate the lease and obtain an appropriate refund under §92.056(f); (2) have the condition repaired or remedied according to §92.0561; (3) deduct from the rent the cost of the repair or remedy according to §92.0561; and (4) obtain judicial remedies according to §92.0563. Do not exercise these remedies without consulting an attorney or carefully reviewing the procedures under the applicable sections. The Property Code presumes that 7 days is a reasonable period of time for the Landlord to repair a condition unless there are circumstances which establish that a different period of time is appropriate (such as the severity and nature of the condition and the availability of materials, labor, and utilities.)
Tenants have more rights now than they ever have had in the past and Judges are normally on the side of the tenants and if repairs are not made timely, owners can find themselves on the wrong side of the legal system. It is hard enough to try to use a home warranty on the home that you live in. It is not cost effective or practical to use a home warranty on a rental property.
Insurance: You must advise your insurance company that the property will be a rental unit, and Texas insurance regulations require that any existing Homeowner policy be cancelled. You will need to take out ‘Fire and Extended Coverage’ and also notify your agent the property will be a Rental Property. In order to protect your investment the amount of insurance should equal the replacement cost of the property.
Also, be certain that you have adequate Property and Liability Insurance coverage.
The Residential Property Leasing and Management Agreement requires the owner to carry insurance adequate to protect all parties.
IF YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY IS VACANT BEYOND 60 DAYS, REQUEST THAT YOUR INSURANCE AGENT ADD A VACANCY CLAUSE TO YOUR POLICY. WITHOUT THIS CLAUSE YOUR INSURANCE IS INVALID.
Have your agent name RentWerx as an additional insured, or property manager in your liability policy. We need this proof of insurance in our files. We must be provided copies proving coverage no later than thirty (30) days after signing the Residential Property Leasing and Management Agreement.
Are you licensed?Yes. We are licensed REALTORS® affiliated and licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission. We are also members of the Texas Association of Realtors and the San Antonio Board of Realtors. Our local affiliations include the San Antonio Chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) and the National Chapter of NARPM.
Can RentWerx San Antonio help me sell my property?Yes! We are a full service Real Estate Brokerage. Naturally, Property Management is 100% in the loop of real estate on a daily basis….so selling homes is right up our alley!