Rent is collected by the 5th of the month. Late fees are strictly enforced after the due date and late payments are aggressively pursued via phone calls, e-mails, and letters. Owner statements and distribution checks are mailed out after a 10-day waiting period, to ensure the rent check has cleared the bank. In the unfortunate event that eviction becomes necessary, we personally handle all steps in the eviction process, including paperwork and court hearings, as representatives of the owner.
Repair issues are resolved by our team of contractors due to the quality work they provide at affordable prices. The owner’s preferred contractors may also be used if they offer a proven track record of reliability and proper skill level. Bills are typically paid using rent money, but occasionally a repair must be taken care of that requires additional funds. The Georgia Real Estate Commission requires that we keep emergency funds in escrow for your property in the event that a repair need arises between the time that we mail your rent distribution check and the time we receive the next month’s rent. Please note that we are required by law to maintain all of the systems of the property; if a repair becomes necessary involving the HVAC, plumbing, electrical system, or any other systems in the house, we must send a contractor out to complete the repair in a timely manner. In the event of an emergency repair over the weekend we may be required to hire a 24-hour repair service, and these repair rates may be elevated due to the off hours.
We highly recommend that you have us set up or schedule regular gutter cleaning (anywhere from 1-4 times a year depending on property needs) and HVAC servicing (twice a year) to maintain and protect these systems of the property. We will also schedule and pay for any other routine maintenance or bills needed, such as HOA fee payment, regular termite inspections, pest control treatment, etc.
We have had 100% negative experiences with home warranty companies in the past, and we will not schedule repairs through a warranty company so please do not buy a new warranty while having your property managed by The Rental Group. If you already have a home warranty, we require that you do not renew the warranty at the end of your contract term.
Tenants are expected to sign up and pay for all utilities, to report repair needs in a timely manner, to refrain from smoking inside the property, and to keep the home reasonably clean and trash free. Lawn must be mowed on a regular basis (if applicable) and kept trash-free. In order for the tenant to be held accountable for any additional home chores, the owner must notify the property manager to add these additional expectations to the standard lease. What may seem like common sense maintenance to you may not be noticed or thought of by a newcomer to your home. Never assume that the tenant or property manager will figure out the subtle nuances and requirements of the property without your guidance.
We begin advertising the property when the tenant has moved out and all necessary cleaning and cosmetic repairs have been completed. We advertise vacant properties using the First Multiple Listing and Georgia Multiple Listing realtor websites, AtlantaRentalManager.com, AtlantaGAHomes.com, Realtor.com, Craigslist.com, Zillow.com, Hotpads.com, Trulia.com, Emory, Georgia State, and Georgia Tech off-campus housing websites (when applicable), and rentals.com (when applicable). We monitor the web for the newest, most effective rental advertising sites and are constantly adding new sites to our ad campaign.
The two most important factors that affect how quickly we are able to secure a tenant for your property are rent price and property condition. It takes an average of 3 weeks to find a quality tenant for a property that is priced competitively and is in marketable, move-in ready condition. We require that the tenant take occupancy of the property within 30 days of application acceptance. The more closely you follow our recommendations for listing price and needed repairs for marketability, the sooner we will be able to get your property occupied.
The owner of a rental property should expect to incur certain costs to bring the property back to marketable condition after a tenant moves out. At the very least, owners should expect to pay for the following items in between every tenant, even if they have only lived in the property for one year (these items are considered to be within the scope of normal wear and tear, according to state law): professional cleaning of the property, professional carpet-cleaning, repainting of all interior walls and possibly trim(although sometimes we can get away with less costly spot painting), lawn care (if applicable) and utility bills during vacant period, repair costs for other damages caused by normal wear and tear or to any non-working appliances or major systems in the house (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc), re-keying all locks (after a tenant is selected and the lease is signed), changing all burned out lightbulbs/floodlights, replacing air filters, and cleaning gutters (if applicable).
When the tenant moves in, we will collect a security deposit equal to one month’s rent, as well as a pet deposit of $200-$500 if the tenant has a pet(s) and the owner agreed to accept pets. The security deposit is held in a Realty Associates of Atlanta escrow account at Fidelity bank. Owners are not permitted to hold the tenant’s security deposit. When the tenant moves out, we will conduct a move-out inspection, we will photo document damage caused by the tenant beyond normal wear and tear and we will deduct the cost of repairing damages from the deposit prior to refunding it to the tenant. Georgia law requires us to return the tenant’s deposit (and documentation of damage charges deducted) within 30 days of their move-out.
NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR VS. CHARGEABLE DAMAGE: Examples of normal wear and tear include dirt smudges, scratches and nail holes on walls or trim which requires full interior painting of property, dirty carpet, light scratching on wood or vinyl flooring, damages to property incurred from repeated use such as damaged knobs, light switches, locks, etc, non-working appliances or repairs to other major systems of the house (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc) caused by normal use of those systems.
Examples of damage chargeable to tenants include large holes in walls, broken windows, excessively filthy conditions, trash/junk left behind, excessively overgrown lawn, deep gouges in flooring, missing appliances or fixtures, damaged blinds that require replacement, chewing/scratching gouges from pets + flooring replacement (if floors were in excellent shape prior to move in and tenant has occupied property for less than 4 years).
Ultimately Realty Associates of Atlanta has the final determination of whether or not damage caused by a tenant is chargeable. If you have questions about the chargeability of a type of damage not listed above, please ask your property manager for clarification.