River City Property Management
FAQ's for Clients and Owners
What type of rental properties do you manage?
What type of rental properties do you manage?
What areas do you handle?
What Property Management experience and credentials do you offer?
Our clients really like the small office atmosphere and personal service we offer. We have none of the employee and personnel hassles that can plague larger property management companies.
Why should I hire you as my Property Management company?
That is why this FAQ page exists so that you can learn about us and and the guiding principles the we will employ in the management of your property.
Talk to other property managers before hiring one, and ask questions. You want to be able to trust your property manager so that you won’t be worrying about your home. The more research and information you gather, the better you will feel about your final decision. Of course, we’d love the chance to earn your trust and manage your property,
How much will my house rent for?
The more expensive your home, the lower the ratio of sales to rent value. For example, a $120,000 three bedroom home may rent for $800 to $1200 per month in San Antonio depending on the neighborhood, the competition and the condition, while a $240,000 home may only rent for $1400 to $1800. This is a very generalized range but will in fact hold true in most instances.
The most important thing to know is that the rental market is indifferent to your mortgage payment amount. The rental market does not care that you might have a negative cash flow, and will punish with extended vacancy owners who overprice their rental homes. When you hire us as your property manager, we will look at the rental market in your particular area, survey the competing homes, and make sure your home is priced so that it will be viewed favorably against the competition.
What do you do to qualify a tenant after they have applied to rent my house?
How do you make sure the tenant is taking good care of my home while renting?
What do you do if they are not taking care of my property as they should, or you discover unauthorized pets?
What happens if the tenant does not pay their rent?
Each case is unique and we will make a decision based what is best for you and your home. That said, 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. Eviction for non-payment of rent in Texas is a slam dunk and 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 process. Full evictions, when necessary, can often be completed by the fourth week of the month.
How informed will I be about what happens with my property?
We know some owners desire a level of involvement that our property management system is not designed to accommodate. We try our best to make sure you are a good match for our style of property management. Part of that process is this Question and Answer page so you can obtain a sense of how we think and how the manager will manage your investment property.
If you are a worrisome property owner or someone who desires a high degree of personal involvement with the property or who needs constant communication from the property manager, such as a phone call before any repairs are completed, we are not a good match for your needs. The property owners who appreciate us the most are those who want everything handled for them and don’t want to be bothered unless something important is happening. That is the type of property management service we offer.
How do you handle maintenance requests?
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. Critical items such as Air conditioning, no hot water or heat, receive highest priority and are usually attended to the same or next business day.
Do you use the cheapest maintenance people you can find?
This approach to handling maintenance and repairs will provide cost savings that other property managers simply can’t deliver.
How do I know your property manager won’t spend my money on large repairs without my approval?
Sometimes expenses such as a replacing a bad water heater, a roof leak that needs patching or repair, or emergency A/C and furnace repairs are unavoidable. In those cases where 1) the health or safety of a tenant is an issue, or 2) in instances where there is only one option to consider or 3) the property will incur damage if immediate action is not taken, the property manager will initiate the repair work, even if it is higher that the $300 limit, and then let you know of the situation and what we are doing about it. Mainly, we don’t think important repairs should be delayed while we try to contact you for permission to do the obvious.
What if I want you to use my plumber, A/C company, etc.?
Our professional reputation as property managers, both with tenants and owners, is largely, if not almost entirely, determined by the effectiveness with which we handle maintenance. We follow a practice that is most likely to insure the best possible response and resolution to maintenance and repair problems for your property.
I want you to use my American Home Shield warranty for all covered repairs, is that ok?
We hold all of the home warranty companies in extremely low regard and believe, overall, that their plans are a rip-off (read the fine print in your service contract) and border on fraud. If you want your home warranty company to be used for the repairs and maintenance of your rental property, we are unfortunately not the property management company you should hire.
My home has a pool. How do you deal with that?
You guys seem sort of picky about the clients and properties you take, why is that?
We believe you and your investment property are best served by a property management system that is as free of problems as possible. Hence, we generally, don’t handle pools and spas, don’t deal with Section 8 housing, don’t take run down properties, don’t rent to large groups of roommates, etc., because we know those things consume a disproportionate amount of a property manager’s time and distract from the care and attention that your good property deserves.
We strive to maintain a group of "like-minded" clients with properties that are at the same time diverse, yet homogenous enough that our systems, methods and style can be applied uniformly across all properties we manage. The worst property manager you can hire is one who good heartedly tries to accommodate every special circumstance or request from his various owners until his operational system is so scattered and ill defined as to be dangerous. We like the consistency and predictability that comes with welcoming owners and properties that are compatible with our system of property management.
If you think about it, when you hire a property manager, you are for better or worse, employing that property manager’s system (or lack thereof). We promise you our system of property management is mature, stable and time tested. We will make good decisions for you. Your property will receive professional care and maintenance. Your lease agreement with the tenant will be enforced in a cordial businesslike manner, and we will always act in your best interest while at the same time insuring that your tenant receives fair and ethical treatment. You can expect also that we are always looking for ways to improve our service.
We do want you to thoroughly examine our company, ask for references, ask any questions that are not answered for you on this website, and make sure that ours is the property management system you want serving you and your property.
Can you put my rental proceeds directly into my checking account?
What will I receive with my monthly statement?
How much is your monthly property management fee?
How much is the leasing fee?
Are your property management fees negotiable?
The ultimate cost of using a property manager is determined by many things other than the fee charged. The efficiency and manner in which maintenance and tenant relationship problems are handled, and the attention to detail during the leasing process are two of many areas in which we excel. We feel that our set of services, our systems, and the experience and expertise we offer are a good value at the fee structure we have established.
Are there administrative fees or other service charges up and above the property management and leasing fees?
The only other expenses you could incur would be for services which fall outside the normal scope of our property management agreement or for duplicate processing.
If you lose a rent proceeds check, there is a replacement fee. (Whatever our current charge to cancel the check at our bank)
Here are 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 hourly service fee with a one hour minimum.
Example (2). If the owner is refinancing the property, and we must meet the appraiser or other person at the property, there is a hourly service fee with a one hour minimum.
Example (3). Our original receipts and records are stored monthly and delivered to the owner in January each year. Consequently, if an owner requests a duplicate bill, receipt, statements or other items, there is a hourly service fee with a one hour minimum.
Example (4). 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 it is very time consuming, therefore there is a hourly service fee with a one hour minimum.
Owners often ask us to do things that are outside our normal management services, and we try to accommodate our owners whenever possible.
These scenarios and costs are all outlined in the Property Management agreement but rarely come about.
Does your property management agreement give you exclusive right to sell my property?
Who holds the tenant’s security deposit?
How much security deposit do you charge the tenant?
Are you a licensed Property Manager?
How soon can you start managing my property?
Why are rent checks mailed so late in the month?
When we open our office on the (4th), we have a lot of rents that were dropped off late on the night of the 3rd. If the 4th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, or a holiday(days the office is closed) this will further delay the process. The checks we receive on the morning of the 4th, we have to posted to the property management software. If all goes well, we can take the deposits down to the bank the afternoon of the 4th. The bank then has to post these deposits to our account, which, 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. This could cause numerous problems for all of us.
We process statements and rent proceeds between the 7th and 10th of each month. You should receive your statement and rent proceeds no later than the 15th providing the property is occupied and the rent has been paid on time.
Disbursements are made by check and mailed with the owner’s statement. If the owner has chosen to receive his/her statement by email, then only the rent check is mailed.
Payments to Owners who had late rents (received after 5th) and before the 15th are processed between the 15th and 20th of the month. Late payments received after the 15th of the month are processed the following month.
What should I do if a tenant contacts me directly?
Are carbon monoxide detectors required?
Should I use decorator paint on my property?
What is the eviction process?
How often do you inspect my property?
Our inspectors charge $50 to conduct a visual inspection. We normally perform an initial 6 month inspection to see how the tenants are maintaining the property. Also we do a renewal inspection when the tenants are renewing their lease agreement. This helps to ensure the property is being maintained by the tenants. We send notice to the resident asking them to cure any noted deficiencies that are their responsibility. On more serious violations, we will inform you of the problem and recommend what corrective action should be taken. Also when our maintenance personnel do repairs, they are instructed to report anything that is out of the ordinary.
Anytime you desire us to perform an additional property inspection, the fee is $50.00. If you require a "licensed" inspection, we will be happy to schedule it for you but, as noted above, the cost can be between $350 and $450.
What kind of insurance do I need to carry on my property?
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 MAY BE INVALID.
Have your agent name River City Property Management as an additional insured in your liability policy. This is a requirement of our property management agreeement and 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.
Am I responsible for maintenance expense?
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.
We do not do bids or estimates on repairs under $300.00. We normally, on any major repair, obtain at least two bids from reliable contractors. The bids will be discussed with you. Due to the fact that the bids take time to be completed and in order to eliminate further delay, we ask that you make a timely decision or provide our staff with firm guidance. You will be asked to forward a check for the cost of the repair before the work is started.
It is our policy to use only reliable contractors that do professional work at a reasonable cost. We have used most of the contractors for several years and have found their prices very competitive. Some Property Management Companies charge owners a service fee based on a percentage of the total cost of any repair. We do not! Billing for repairs will be made directly to our company. We then bill only that amount to the owner’s account. As tenants are billed and reimbursements are received, the owner’s account will be credited with the amount of reimbursement. This will appear on the statement.
We require owners to deposit $300.00 for a maintenance reserve upon signing the Residential Property Management Agreement.
What about tenant maintenance or 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.
Am I responsible for pest control?
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
1. 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.
2. 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 doorknob lock. Obviously, a keyed deadbolt is far superior to a keyed doorknob lock because of its one-inch bolt.
3. 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 be 160o or greater; lens can be made of plastic but glass is better.
4. Pin locks on sliding glass doors. You must have a sliding door pin lock on each sliding glass door.
5. 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.
6. Window latches. You must have a window latch on each window. It can be the original latch or an after-market type.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
1. Good working order. You must have all security devices working properly when residents move in.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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 I need to maintain the utilities when the property is vacant?
During periods of vacancy, utilities will 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.
Who is responsible for wear and tear?
Carpet replacement is pro-rated over a 7 year period. If a tenant moves out after 3 years and we have to replace the carpet, the tenant is charged 58% of the cost to replace the carpet.
If we have a garbage disposal fixed that was clogged by the tenant, the owner will be reimbursed, by the tenant, for the repair bill. If the garbage disposal has rusted through, the owner pays the whole expense.
We make every attempt to be fair to both owners and tenants.
The Courts & Judges are not sympathetic to owners who want to charge tenants wear & tear repairs.
Am I responsible for yard maintenance?
Owners are responsible for trimming limbs that are on or near roofs.
Grass must not be higher than 6 inches. 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.
Property is to be structurally sound, providing the tenant with a safe living environment.
Roofs and Gutters
Roofs must be free of leaks and in good repair. Gutters are to be clean and free flowing.
Landscaping, Trees, Miscellaneous
Appearance Landscaping is to be well maintained and at all times provide a neat appearance, including mowing and watering of lawns, trimming shrubs and flowers, and pruning of trees as may be required from time to time. All personal property, trash receptacles, and disabled cars are to remain out of sight. All debris is to be removed no less than monthly.
Doors and Locks
All exterior doors are to be in sound condition, securable, and weather tight. All locks are to be re-keyed between occupancies. Also all locks must be operational at all times and be in compliance with the State Security Devices Statutes.
Siding and trim paint is to remain free of peeling paint. Any homes built prior to 1978 must have a Lead Paint Addendum signed by the owner on file with River City Property Management.
Windows and Locks
All window glass must not be broken or cracked. All windows and window locks must be operational.
Exterior lighting is to be provided on perimeter areas where hazards may exist. All burned out bulbs are to be replaced immediately.
Garages and Outbuildings
Garages and outbuildings may be used for storage, but must remain free of waste and debris.
All Properties are to be equipped with an adequate heating system meeting local building codes at the time of installation and be in good repair at all times. Defects are to be repaired immediately.
Entire electrical system is to remain in good repair and meet local building codes at the time of installation. Any exposed wiring, defective outlets, switches, fixtures, or hazards of any kind are to be repaired immediately.
All Properties must be supplied with hot and cold running water. Plumbing fixtures are to remain free of leaks and be operational. Water heaters should be set no warmer than 120 degrees and be equipped with a pressure relief valve and appropriate drain plumbing in the event of a high pressure water release.
All appliances on the premises supplied by the property owner are to be maintained in good working order. Defective appliances are to be repaired / replaced immediately. (Unless otherwise stated in the lease agreement)
Properties are to be equipped with a minimum of 1 smoke detector per floor, and 1 smoke detector outside of the bedroom(s). The smoke detector must meet current local, state, and federal standards. Any defects in equipment must be repaired / replaced immediately.
All flooring materials are to be clean and maintained in good condition at all times. Flooring, including carpet, vinyl, and wood is to remain free of rips, tears, and gouges. We require that the owners have the carpets professionally cleaned before the tenants move in and we require that the tenants have the carpets professionally cleaned when they move out.
Premises are to be clean and free of debris at all times. Property is to be turned over to incoming tenants with the highest standard of cleanliness at all times.
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