Rental Management FAQs

What needs to be done to prepare a rental property for rent?

The rental property should be in the best possible condition to attract a quality resident. Paint should be in good shape with marred or dirty areas touched up. Neutral colors for walls and floors are best. Blinds or shades are ideal window coverings. The home should be “detailed” clean and the yard in excellent shape.

How do I determine the rental amount?

The competition determines the rental amount for your rental property. As experts in the field, we know the market and the competitive rental ranges for your home. If the home is marketed too high the home will be vacant much longer. If it is marketed too low, it may be one or two years before the price becomes competitive again.

How do you market the rental property?

The property is immediately added to our rental availability list, web sites, and other resources. A sign is placed and marketing photos are taken within 48 hours. Each property is assigned to a property management team to track the marketing effectiveness for the individual property. If you want to place your home in a newspaper or other publication, you will be responsible for the cost of the advertisement.

How long will it take to rent?

Vacancy periods are market driven. Homes rent more slowly between Thanksgiving and New Years. Location and price effect vacancy as well.

What are the policies regarding Pets?

Statistics indicate that 75% of renters own pets. Restricting pets reduces the number of available qualified residents. Pets should be screened and pet references checked out. We normally charge an initial and monthly pet fees. The tenant is responsible for any damage caused to the rental property by the pet. Pet fees are not deposits and do not go toward pet damages.

What about smokers?

It is common to restrict smoking inside the property. This does not significantly reduce the marketability of the property.

Is it possible to refuse to rent to families with children?

In federal, state, and local Fair Housing regulations children come under the protective class of “familial status”. It is unlawful to discriminate against children in any way.

Is first and last month’s rent as well as a security deposit collected up front?

If a resident has good credit it is common practice to collect first month’s rent and a security deposit up front only. A security deposit can be used to cover tenant damages and unpaid rent. The security deposit is held in a property trust account as required by state real estate regulations.

What happens if the rent is late?

Below is a schedule of the rent and eviction process:

  1. The rent is due on the first of each month and considered late on the 7th day of the month.
  2. We send out a statement to the tenant on the tenth day of the month.
  3. On the fifteenth day of the month, we email a demand letter for rent and state we will start eviction proceedings within forty-eight hours if rent remains unpaid.
  4. If the rent is unpaid on the 25th day of the month, we file a Complaint for Summary Ejectment with the Pitt County Clerk of Court. The court costs are $96.00 filing fee, $30.00 per defendant and an attorney fee of $165.00. A court date is scheduled at the Ejectment filing and it’s usually about ten business days from the filing. On the day of court, if we are awarded possession of the property, the magistrate will usually award us the above court costs. The tenant (defendant) is granted ten business days to appeal the magistrates decision to District Court. This appeal will cost the Defendant filing fees and he has to pay the Court the unpaid rent and fees. If there is no appeal by the tenant after the tenth business day, we have to complete a Writ of Possession, pay $25.00 to the Clerk and $30.00 per defendant to the Sheriff’s Office and $45.00 in attorney fees. We then wait for the Sheriff to contact us to meet us at the property and change the locks on the doors. This usually takes about seven business days after the Writ is completed. All the court costs noted above have to be paid by the Owner. Any court costs awarded to RPM (agent) will be charged to the tenant.

When are monthly funds distributed?

State Real Estate Regulations require that rental checks must have cleared the bank and the accounts reconciled to the penny before disbursing funds. The payments to owners along with statements are processed around the last day of the month. Disbursements are made by check and are mailed along with statements the same day.

Who handles emergencies?

We have an extensive network of maintenance personnel and sub-contractors to handle any emergency on your property, day or night. We are on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

What is the average length of tenancy?

Our minimum recommended lease is one year. At the end of the lease term the owner can decide to renew to the resident (if the resident wishes to remain), vacate the resident, or allow the resident to remain month-to-month. If the market has changed the owner can raise the rent at the end of the lease period.

How are repairs handled?

Residents are encouraged to submit all repair requests in writing. It is our policy to notify owners of all maintenance requests exceeding the dollar limit documented in our management agreement. If funds are available, the expense will be deducted on the next month’s accounting statement. If funds are not available the property manager will contact the owner for payment arrangements. Sometimes a request falls into the category of a maintenance emergency. Emergencies are scheduled immediately and the owner notified at the first possible opportunity.

What happens if the resident leaves before the end of the lease?

The resident is responsible for the rent for the term of the lease. If residents leave before the termination date, they will be charged for rent until the home is re-rented. RPM, on behalf of the owner, will do everything possible to re-rent the home and minimize the residents’ cost.

How is the owner protected if the resident damages the property?

A refundable security deposit taken at move-in is usually sufficient to handle the minor damage caused by residents. Residents with excellent credit and references seldom cause significant damage. If the resident leaves the property owing money for rent and/or damages they will be billed. If they do not pay, we use a national collection agency to collect monies owed. This collection agency charges a fee for their service. We do not pursue judgments on former tenants because the collection activity is a better collection method.