PROPERTY OWNER HANDBOOK
Expectation, Policies, Procedures
Thank you for giving us this opportunity to serve you as one of our clients. We care a lot about the services we offer, the community in which we work, and the people involved in this process. This manual is to show you how and why we do what we do, and what you as our valued client should expect from us.
We have aligned ourselves with the best organizations in the industry for accreditation and training.
Nothing is more rewarding or speaks louder than happy clients and customers telling other property owners, tenants, and the public why they should take advantage of our services.
Over the years we have come to understand that the more we give back to the great world we live in and people we live by, the happier we are and the more fulfilling our work can be. As we serve others we grow as individuals and as a company. Keyrenter Kares is the service arm of our company. Through this we serve at Habitat for Humanity, local soup kitchens, Make a Wish Foundation, Food Banks, and various other endeavors.
Communication works both ways and there are some situations where we will require communication from you, the owner. It is important that you let us know of any significant change that can affect your account. Keyrenter needs to know when you are moving, if you have a problem with your account, if your social security number has changed to a Tax ID, or any other important information.
We encourage all owners to use email to contact us. It is fast and effective, track able, and in writing. Where email is not available or for an urgent situation, a phone call is appropriate.
A successful business relationship works both ways. Keyrenter takes their management responsibilities seriously, and requests owners to do the same.
Owner responsibilities include:
We want you to know what we do for you as your property management company. Therefore, Keyrenter has outlined details on our policies and procedures in future pages of this information. There are many details and aspects of managing property, that we can only include the basics in this manual. If you have more questions, contact your management team.
Again, these are general guidelines and when necessary, policies will change. Please bear in mind that we are unable to do “everything” that is required to service a property under our management fees.
Because Keyrenter provides owners with full service, it can be easy to request something that we cannot perform. Some tasks go beyond the normal scope of property management or require additional fees/services. Normal Property Management does not include providing on-site management services, property sales, refinancing and arranging for appraisals, preparing property for sale or refinancing, modernization, fire or major damage restoration, rehabilitation, obtaining or giving income tax/accounting, and legal advice, representation before public agencies, advising on proposed new construction, debt collection, counseling, making deliveries, or attending Homeowner Association meetings.
If you have any questions on what is included or not included in property management, please let us know. We have more information on additional services later in this manual.
It is very important in the field of Property Management, that we follow local, state, and federal legislation and guidelines. Our company takes pride in our industry, and we further implement guidelines and policies of several organizations, such as the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). Additionally, we train all team members weekly collectively and individual.
Keyrenter has a drug-free policy for all personnel, vendors, and tenants. Keyrenter incorporates this policy into Keyrenter rental/lease agreements, tenant, personnel, and vendor documentation.
We adhere to the laws and guidelines of federal, state, and local legislation, and incorporates this into all documentation, policies, and procedures. Here are some of the agencies and acts we follows:
Lead-based paint became a major issue in the 1990s that prompted mandatory requirements for residential housing and continues today. We follow all mandated federal and state guidelines for lead-based paint. All properties prior to January 1, 1978 require disclosures to all tenants and owners. Tenants sign lead-based paint disclosures prior to renting a property and we provide them with the required EPA Pamphlet, Protect Your Family from Lead in the Home.
Property owners and/or Property Managers must also notify tenants in writing, of any scheduled work necessary for lead-based paint on the property. Legislation now provides that owners and managers must use certified vendors to work on lead-based paint.
We regard mold issues as a top priority in property management. Owners should be aware that mold is another leading issue in the property management industry and failure to act if tenants report or discover mold can lead to costly lawsuits. Several cases regarding mold have awarded damages to tenants in the millions of dollars.
This is an area of extreme liability and we take action if a tenant reports mold. We notify owners as soon as practical of any mold issues so Keyrenter and/or the property owner can take the proper steps.
When you entered into a management agreement, we established an account for you and your property. We recognize the importance of accurately collecting and disbursing funds. The bookkeeping program used by Keyrenter is specialized software designed to handle the many facets of property management and accurate record keeping, and complies with state requirements.
Our accounting period is from the 11th of the prior month to the 10th of the current month (ie, May 11th - June 10th). We are very consistent with these dates.
Statements are sent out via email and uploaded to the owner portal on the 10th of each month or the next business day. If the 10th lands on a Saturday, statements may be sent on the previous Friday. If you have difficulty reading your monthly statement, please view our FAQ page for instruction or contact your management team. We are happy to assist you and answer your questions.
Unlike many management companies that pay their clients at the end of each month, we initiate payments to our clients via ePay along with statements on the 10th of each month (same rule applies for weekends and holidays).
Payments go through a 3rd party ACH processing company which takes between 2-4 business days for the payments to settle in our client's accounts.
It is vital to accurately post rents, pay vendors, and disburse funds for your account. Therefore, it is vital that Keyrenter adhere to this schedule to ensure servicing every owner’s account.
At the end of each year, Keyrenter is required to file 1099’s for income received over $600. Please note that this amount is for “total income received,” and not the yearly total of owner disbursements. The Internal Revenue Service dictates the “total income received” requirement. Please note that security deposits are not included in this amount.
It is necessary that you supply Keyrenter with the necessary Social Security/Tax ID information so the 1099 is accurate. Keyrenter will send the 1099 for the rent by January 31 for the previous tax year. If there is a change in your tax information such as a new trust or address, please notify us with the Owner Change of Information form. If you need another change form, please contact us.
Keyrenter also issues 1099s for disbursements to vendors for work over $600.00. Therefore, owners do not have to issue 1099s for work completed and paid through the Keyrenter trust account. Owners are responsible for issuing 1099s to any vendor paid through the owner’s personal account.
The last statement of the year will reflect “total amounts” for income and expenses that have transpired throughout the year, such as management fees, leasing fees, landscape, utilities, repairs and maintenance, etc. The amounts will not reflect any funds issued through the owners personal account. Owners can submit their last statement to their tax person along with other information for income tax reporting. Unfortunately we are not able to issue statements to the owner’s tax preparers.
When prospective tenants view your rental property we want it to look its best! Rentals in great condition tend to rent faster, for more money, and attract great tenants. For that reason, we will conduct a property maintenance report and rental market analysis so your property manager (PM) can discuss the details of your rental and any necessary maintenance and repairs that will help maximize your rental income. The initial costs associated with making a rental “rent ready” is the burden of the owner; but when a new tenant leases the property, they are responsible for returning it to “rent ready” condition (minus wear and tear) when they vacate.
Excellent marketing photos and video tours are crucial to finding qualified applicants for your property, and securing a lease agreement. We want prospective tenants to have a good understanding of the features your rental offers, even before they decide to do a physical walk through. Some properties are rented simply from viewing a property video tour. Video tours are especially helpful to tenants who are relocating from out of state. It also makes the process of renting a home simpler when properties are already tenant occupied. Showing properties that are already rented by an existing tenant can be challenging and time consuming.
Once the home is rent ready, we visit the property to obtain marketing pictures and video that will be posted online. We utilize still shots, audio and video. The video tour will include a quick 360 degree view of the neighborhood and provide a good look into every room of the home. Great care will be taken to filter through the still shots and pick the absolute best quality photos of your home. The purpose is to provide a clear and accurate feeling of the home and neighborhood.
Supply and demand is the most important factor in determining rental income. If there are multiple rentals available in the area of your property, it is necessary to be very competitive. If very few rentals are available in the same area, it can make it easier to rent the property and increase the rent value. Markets change, but we will stay abreast of current market data and advise you accordingly. Using our rental analysis software which pulls from thousands of rental comparables, we are able to provide you with real data to assist in setting a rental rate.
This is a very common question from property owners. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how long a property will remain on the market, even in the best market conditions. However, we work diligently to rent the property as quickly as possible. Typically we are able to secure a tenant within 30 days, often times in just a few days. The most important objective is to place a qualified tenant with good references. A “bad tenant” will only create more expense through unwanted vacancy or maintenance issues. Finding the right tenant is well worth the wait and additional time it can take to rent the property, especially since 90% of problems with rentals are caused by poor tenant selection practices.
On our website, "Your Place to Find a Place", we make finding the right home easy by posting online photos and video tours of all available properties. Through the use of internet and online marketing, we are able to reduce costs and create maximum exposure of your property. Our websites attract quality renters and fill the needs of potential tenants by allowing them to go through the whole application process online.
Since the majority of all prospective tenants search online for potential rental homes, we have found newspaper advertising to not be a productive or cost effective method.
A “For Rent” sign will be prominently displayed on your property while we are searching for a tenant. It will be placed where it can be easily seen in all directions. The sign will include our telephone number and website address to promote inquiries. Anyone who visits our website will have access to the rental information 24 hours a day 7 days a week through our rental help line.
There are three types of showing processes in place to make sure that all prospective tenants have access to your property. If one method does not work, we can accommodate them with a different method.
This is the most current and accurate method to grant access to your property. A video creates an accurate representation of the home and the surrounding area. Posting it on our website allows for easy access at any time. We have found that in many cases we are able to receive applications & deposits on our rentals based solely on a video tour. This helps those living out of state or those with little time to see the rental in person.
This self-showing process allows registered and verified prospective tenants to view the home without having to wait for an agent. This type of showing process is becoming the standard in the rental industry today as it allows for landlords to rent their rentals quicker and more effectively. Since they can access the rental during and after business hours, they are able to see the rental when it is convenient to them. Lockbox showings are available from 8am-8pm Monday-Sunday. It also designates a specific time frame, chosen by the applicant, in which they have access to the property for one hour. The prospective tenant must first register and be verified, providing us with personal information and/or maintaining a credit card on file. They must be on site in order to access a code which only works for one hour. They must check in and check out of the system. Having used this system for years, we have seen how this helps keep your costs down and increase your return.
When the property is occupied by either the property owner (prior to moving out) or a tenant who has put in notice, we ask for the assistance of the occupant to allow for prospective renters to come and view the rental. We ask the occupant to kindly open the property and allow them to take a look. It is important that the home is well cared for and kept tidy for these showings. It is also important that our property owners introduce themselves as simply the occupant and not disclose they are the owner to allow for continued anonymity.
Thorough screening is crucial to successful Property Management. We require all applicants to fill out a detailed online application and submit it for processing/approval. A credit check is NOT enough! We conduct a careful review of their credit, income, and tenant history or ownership. View our 14 Point Screening Process below.
All applicants must submit verifiable information on their income to show they can support the property. Rental history or previous home ownership is carefully checked. Cross-referencing all three areas – credit, tenant history, and income - provides the answers to qualify or disqualify prospective applicants. If a pet is allowed on the property, the screening includes the pet (please review the upcoming pet policies).
We normally do not allow applicants to have cosigners or guarantors. We feel that it is best practice to assume that the applicants wanting the property should be able to rent the home on their own. However, there are some circumstances (such as students, or minor shortages in income or credit) that may warrant allowing a cosigner on the property. If we do decide to allow the cosigner on the property they will be added to the lease agreement taking full responsibility and accountability for the property and the terms of the lease agreement.
We follow fair housing regulations and guidelines. Below is a link for reference and review:
Keyrenter Property management will not discriminate against any of the protected classes. When we list your home for you, all parties are welcome to rent the home if they pass our rental requirements and occupancy rules. As an owner it is a good idea to become familiar with protected classes and fair housing. You can also ask your property manager for any information as they will be well educated on the topic.
Keyrenter Property Management will perform a full move in inspection of the property prior to tenant’s taking occupancy. The tenants will be informed of the action when they are receiving keys. They will also be given a move in inspection form allowing them the opportunity to do their own inspection and report any maintenance or repair issues that could possibly be charged back to them at the time of move out.
When the tenants receive keys, they will be given a move in packet at that time. The packet will include contact information, what to do and whom to call in case of an emergency, and a welcome letter that provides information to our website and tenant portal. From our Resource Site, tenants may access a FAQ section that provides an entire database of information to assist with maintenance issues and instructions on how to care for your home. Our goal is to reduce maintenance costs, keep your property well cared for, and reduce the incidence of maintenance emergencies.
Keyrenter Property Management will require security deposits, usually an amount that is equal to 75-100% of one month's rent, from all residents. These funds are held in escrow in a trust account. Security deposits cannot be disbursed until the resident vacates at which time a disposition of funds is processed. Unfortunately we are not able to allow for owners to hold the security deposit.
Once an application is approved and we have collected the required funds due, your property manager will draft a lease agreement for the terms that were discussed. All parties over the age of eighteen (18) living in the home must read and sign the lease agreement. To streamline the process we send all our leases electronically through a secured site called Docusign. The tenants may sign the lease agreement electronically as well as receive a copy once the lease agreement has been executed by Keyrenter Property Management. Once the lease agreement has been fully signed, it will be uploaded to the tenant and owner portal so all parties can obtain a copy.
Keyrenter Property Management has tried to give the tenants as many options to pay rent so it is as easy and convenient as it can be. They can pay rent over the phone, online through their tenant portal, set up auto payments through their tenant portal, mailing, and bringing in payment. We are set up to take all forms of payment except for cash. According to our standard lease, their rent is due on the 1st of every month and is late by the 5th after 5PM. If the tenant fails to make rent by the 5th, late fees will start accruing on the 6th day of the month.
We leave a voicemail with all tenants that have not paid by the 5th of each month informing them of a potential late fee the next day. This added customer service helps those that did not remember to login to their tenant portal to process their payment. They are also notified that a Notice to Pay or Quit may be posted on the 7th.
If the tenant's rent payment gets returned they will have 24 hours to bring the account current with certified funds only, including any additional fees that may have been added. If there is more than two consecutive months or three times in one 12 month period that the tenants rent gets returned for insufficient funds, they will be placed on probation and required to pay with certified funds for the next 6 months. It is our main focus to not let tenants get in the downhill cycle of paying late. We want to avoid creating bad habits for tenants. Allowing them to pay late once or twice can very quickly start to become an every month issue. We do everything we can to hold them accountable to the lease terms. We want to be able to get your funds to you quickly, late rent payments will definitely set that process back.
In the event that a tenant has not paid rent and it is the 7th day of the month, a timely notice to pay or quit will be delivered to the tenant as allowed by law. This notice is essentially starting the eviction process. Once a notice is delivered the tenants are required to pay the amount in certified funds and it cannot be a partial payment. We want to ensure that if any payment is received it will not risk getting returned for insufficient funds, this would delay the funds getting to you which we want to avoid for you. If the tenant does not pay within the time frame that the notice states, your property manager will reach out to you and together the decision will be made to turn the file over to the attorney for eviction.
If a lease violation is discovered in a routine inspection, maintenance call, or is reported by an outside party (neighbor, city violation, HOA) we will take action on it immediately. Through contacting tenants, posting fees (where applicable), and posting notices (where applicable), we are able to expedite the correction of such issues as they arise.
If the tenants for whatever reason decide that they would like to get out of their lease agreement, we have an option for them through an Early Lease Termination Agreement. This allows for us to market the rental while they continue to pay the rent. Once the rental is leased out to a new fully screened and qualified tenant, the current tenant pays your leasing fee and can be let out of the lease. The rental amount must be equal to or greater than the current tenant’s rate. This can be a great opportunity for you to extend the lease without paying any fees.
We are proud of the fact that we have an extremely low eviction rate, although there is always a possibility of an eviction simply because of the nature of the industry.
If our clients have enrolled in EvictionGuard® , the eviction will cost nothing. If not, an uncontested eviction will cost about $500-700. A contested eviction can cost even more.
EvictionGuard® is a tenant guarantee and warranty program setup to help our property owners mitigate the risk of eviction. For a low monthly or annual fee, we will guarantee/warrant the tenant. Find out more information by contacting our office.
Not only do we complete a PreList inspection with each new rental, but we complete regular vacancy inspections (when in advertising), and fully documented move-in and move-out inspections. Where many companies leave the burden of a move-in inspection on the tenant, we see it as an important step in the process.
Staying informed on your property's condition is part of the 6th Key of Rental Success. For this reason we offer our routine inspection program. By signing up for the program, you can expect to see a detailed condition report with photos or video twice per year while the unit is occupied.
It allows us to hold the tenants accountable for lease terms and also check the condition of the home and that the tenants are taking the proper care of it. It also gives the tenant a sense of responsibility knowing that they are going to be checked up on during their tenancy.
Some key points to keep in mind when you are considering signing up for 6 month inspections or not are the following:
It is our goal to ensure the safety for our tenants as well as provide a habitable home. When it comes to making repairs we always keep in mind the fit premises act and guidelines that they have in place. There are some things such as proper heating and cooling, running water, etc that have to be taken care of and maintained by the owner. We attract high quality tenants and we want to keep them in high quality homes. It is also an understanding that the owners can expect maintenance to happen from time to time.
We want to make sure that the tenants feel like they are being taken care of, so we will take action as quickly as we can to make sure we are providing the best customer service for them. The best way for you as owners to assist in this process is be available to give approvals.
We have set up a few programs to help assist in preventative maintenance and feel that it is the best approach to maintenance. You have the option to sign up for various services to help prevent greater issues from occurring. Please contact our office for more details.
Your management agreement is set up to allow the manager to work with a $300 dollar limit for standard repairs. We will reach out to you during business hours should a work order exceed that limit. Often times you are able to get a preapproved limit for jobs we are able to give our vendors a “Do Not Exceed” (DNE) limit for small jobs to help reduce your costs.
We want to make sure to be able to have a database for all service requests that have been submitted on the property. We require that all of the service requests are submitted in writing through the tenant portal. We want to ensure the quickest way of getting a work order and getting it resolved. Once submitted, the work order will be sent directly to your property manager to start the screening, diagnosis, and dispatch process. You will also be sent an email notification to keep you in the loop when any work order is submitted by the tenants or property manager. It is common with our leases that much of the ongoing maintenance of a single family home is the tenant’s responsibility. We will reject work orders and give tenants recommended preferred vendors to assist them.
If you as the owner call or email in and request a certain maintenance item to be done, we will take the same process of creating a work order and dispatching a vendor to get us a quote or to have the job completed. You also can submit any work orders or comments through your owner portal.
We want to ensure that your home is being taken care of at all times. There are times that maintenance issues will come up in the overnight hours or on the weekend. We want to make sure that no matter what the time, they have a line of communication open for them. Tenants will have 24-7 access to an after hours emergency line in case any sort of maintenance issues do come up.
The after hours maintenance call will first have a verification process to see if the call truly is an emergency. If not, it will be referred to the manager for next day service. If it is, the agent will diagnose the problem and even troubleshoot to see if it can be corrected without sending a vendor and costing the owner money.
Most work orders for after hours calls are created by the property manager the next business day, at which time the property owner is notified.
We offer various routine and preventive maintenance options to our clients. Talk to your property manager about any of the following:
We work hard to create winning relationships with vendors that provide quality work for fair and discounted prices. We are also always looking to bring on more vendors to test the market to ensure that we are being as competitive as we can and our maintenance companies are performing quality repairs on your home.
We charge a reasonable fee to supervise maintenance work or work out a rebate directly with vendors. This fee is generally a percentage of the work completed and varies based on the scope of work. The average service charge is 10%. Estimates you see from Keyrenter will include this service charge.
Estimates will be emailed to the owner to review and approve. The most important thing to do when you see an estimate come through is respond to your property manger at your earliest convenience. This will help your property manager get the job done quickly for you.
We will get one estimate by default with one of our trusted vendors & 2 estimates for larger jobs per owner's request. Owner is invoiced and billed at the time of approval, or at the time the work is ordered.
We want to make sure that the maintenance personnel understand that they are an extension of Keyrenter. We pride ourselves in being professionals and we expect the same type of people performing our maintenance requests. Please view our vendor expectations below:
The following expectations are understood by both Keyrenter and its Partner Vendors. Adherence to these guidelines and expectations will ensure a great working relationship.
Our invoices are submitted electronically. The work that was performed will be detailed in the closing notes on the work order and will be on your owner statements so you can review them at anytime. We want you to know what we know, when it comes to the work performed on your home. Keep in mind that we will not be able to inspect every job that is performed on your home, but we do take certain steps to make sure that the work was done. For example, quality assurance calls to the tenants and reviewing pictures submitted by the vendor. Since we do not require our vendors to submit paper invoices for jobs and receipts of parts completed for work orders, these will not be made available to property owners. However, all invoices for each bill is attached to the owner portal.
All residents are required to provide a 30 day notice to vacate which is submitted online through their tenant portal. We first seek to find out if there is something we can do to keep the tenant and avoid a vacancy (depending on situation). Once this is received and verified, we then send move-out instructions which outline the expectations for their move-out process.
We will notify you of your tenant’s intentions and seek to understand what your plans are with the property. If we do not hear back within a few days, we will continue with the plan to re-lease the property. If you are wanting to look at the options of selling your property, please contact us at this time and one of our real estate professionals will provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) free of charge.
Following the tenant’s move-out inspection, we will assess charges to the tenant based on their move-in report. Keep in mind that wear and tear items will not be covered by the tenant’s deposit. Also, it is impossible to catch all details and items during this process.
Security Deposit Refunds
When the tenants put in their 30 day notice to vacate there are a few things we do to get them ready to move out. We will send them over a move out checklist. We send this over to try and eliminate how much work needs to be done on the home at move out. We also will request their forwarding address so we are able to refund their security deposit. Security deposits will be refunded based on the move out and move in inspections that were performed. We will compare the condition of the home side by side and determine what things need to be the tenant responsibility and what things you as the owner will be responsible for taking care of. They will be refunded per state statute to eliminate the possibility of a tenant suing. There are times that tenants will fight charges that were access to them. In that circumstance your property manager will go to bat for you and provide the proper documentation. It is always a good idea to keep in mind that some compromise may have to happen.
There are going to be times that you may have a tenant move out without notice and leave a balance due to you. In the event of that happening we have an attorney on retainer that will handle the collection of your amount due. We have found that thequickest and most affective way to collect on funds is to go straight to judgement and collect on the amounts due. We will get a portion of the collection for handling and managing this account. Once the collection is to the point that that past tenant is paying off the balance, funds will be disbursed to you as the owner.
Past due balance policy
We understand that there might be times that due to unexpected maintenance balance is left unpaid. Our hope is to get all bills paid and cleared within 30 days. The balance is listed on owner’s statements and sent to property owners during the statement period. Payments can be made via the Owner Portal or by sending in a check. In some situations, a credit card payment can be taken, although a 3% transaction fee applies.
Following 30 days, we will notify you of the past due balance to let you know that within 72 hrs we will draw the funds required from your account on file to make your balance whole.
We treat all of our client’s rentals as if they are our own. Our property managers are well educated and trained to help make sure any issues or concerns arise they are handled quickly, professionally, and honestly. We want to make sure that your experience with us is a great one. We always appreciate constructive feedback as we always want to be improving.
All FAQs are found on the Keyrenter Owner Resources page.