Owners

Manual

A guide to working with the TradeMark Residential team

We are delighted to extend a warm welcome to you at TradeMark Residential. It’s truly exciting to have you on board with us, the leading company in residential rental property management. Our core objective is to manage your property with the utmost proficiency, ensuring the maximum return while adhering to all applicable rules, laws, and regulations. 

To aid in initiating this partnership, we have compiled this manual which is designed to address common queries that may arise at the outset of our professional relationship. Once again, we thank you for choosing TradeMark Residential, and we look forward to serving you with excellence.

Your TradeMark Residential office is structured to address the diverse needs of your property throughout the life-cycle of vacancies and rentals. Our offices follow a “Pod” structure, where specific individuals are assigned to cater to our clients in that particular area. Team members in the Pod work in close collaboration on their properties, each being responsible for specific communication channels.

 

Senior Property Manager

Your Senior Property Manager oversees all communication with Property Owners. Any queries regarding accounting, leasing, and maintenance can be directed to the Senior Property Manager. They are equipped to provide assistance on a wide range of issues and can provide updates on activities of all Pod members to Property Owners.

 

Associate Property Manager

An Associate Property Manager in a residential management pod is vital for seamless operations. They manage communication with tenants and property owners, oversee leasing activities, and coordinate property maintenance and repairs. They conduct regular property inspections, assist in rent collection, and help maintain accurate financial records. Their role also involves ensuring property compliance with relevant laws and regulations. They work collaboratively within the pod, aiding in achieving the property owner’s financial and operational goals.

Other Specialists

We have other specialists who provide support to our Pod members in areas such as Accounting, Leasing, and Maintenance. Pod members are cross-trained and are capable of resolving a vast majority of issues, with assistance from other specialists on our team who are available to help them tackle more specific concerns.

Anytime, anywhere, access to your owner portal. Use your Owner Portal to securely access reports, property inspections, important documents, or 1099s shared by your property manager, and make secure monetary contributions to the property of your choice via credit/ debit card or eCheck (ACH).

 

ACCESS PORTAL NOW

Once you’ve chosen TradeMark Residential as your property management company, the process of filling a vacancy may be your next significant concern. We at TradeMark Residential understand this and prioritize promptly filling vacancies with highly qualified residents.

Setting the Correct Rent

An essential step in filling a vacancy is determining a market-supported rental price. TradeMark Residential employs a proprietary method to conduct market comparisons, allowing us to suggest an optimal rental range. This valuable information supports owners in making an informed decision regarding the rental amount used for advertising. Our team at TradeMark Residential is ready to guide 

you through the trade-offs of waiting for a higher rent versus quickly securing a tenant at a rate close to your target.

Pet Policy

A substantial number of renters own pets. Thus, you’ll need to decide whether to permit pets in your rental property. While allowing pets can increase potential tenant pool, it can also lead to increased property wear and tear. Legally, you can refuse to rent to pet owners, excluding service animals and pets prescribed by a physician for a medical condition. You are also permitted to specify the maximum size or type of pet acceptable in your rental. State laws may vary concerning the type of deposit or rent you can charge if a tenant owns a pet. Please consult with us at TradeMark Residential if you are considering imposing a non-standard deposit/rent level for pet owners.

Effective Advertising 

TradeMark Residential’s experience indicates that a blend of traditional and online advertising yields the most fruitful response. While the best advertising method can depend on your rental’s location, yard signage, complemented by online postings, 

usually works most effectively. Our property management system broadcasts your vacancy to hundreds of online advertisers, increasing visibility.

Property Showings

Most calls received by TradeMark Residential are from prospective tenants interested in viewing a rental. We conduct a brief phone interview to ensure that the rental property matches the prospect’s requirements. If there’s a match, we schedule a 

showing. If prospects are interested, they are invited to complete a rental application. This ensures we secure not just any tenant, but the right tenant for your property.

Qualifying Tenants

TradeMark Residential partners with a reputable national credit-reporting agency to access prospective tenants’ credit and criminal histories. In some instances, references might be scrutinized as well. Due to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit reports can’t be shared with property owners, but you will receive a judgment based on our Senior Property Manager’s evaluation of the applicant.

Lease Execution

TradeMark Residential employs a comprehensible, nationally tried and tested template lease, which has also been locally reviewed by a real estate attorney.

Deposits

TradeMark Residential diligently manages rental security deposits in alignment with federal real estate laws and regulations. Furthermore, we abide by any state legislation that prescribes how these deposits should be managed.

The security deposit is the tenant’s possession while they are residing in your property, or until it is legally forfeited. Usually, TradeMark Residential holds the security deposit in an escrow or trust account in compliance with legal requirements until the tenant leaves and the final inspection is done. This method helps us mitigate possible future legal complications for the property owner by ensuring adherence to local laws concerning correct deposit deductions and refund timing. Tenants are crucial to the success of your rental. Our business model hinges on reliable, rent-paying tenants.

If you approach TradeMark Residential with an existing tenant, we initiate a straightforward communication with them. We furnish them with a Tenant’s Manual, detail the rent payment procedure, and discuss how to contact our office for repair or maintenance needs. The TradeMark Residential office will also assess the existing lease to decide if any modifications might be necessary.

Although some property owners may prefer direct communication with their tenants, we strongly advise against this. Our goal is to alleviate your concerns related to landlord duties. However, our ability to perform our role effectively may be hindered if you directly interact with the tenants. Such communications could be misconstrued as additional contractual obligations, potentially causing you to assume legal liability. By maintaining clear lines of communication between TradeMark Residential and the tenant, we can avoid such ambiguities. We are more than happy to assist in conveying any necessary information to the tenants on your behalf.

Understanding Housing Choice Vouchers

The Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as Section 8, is the federal government’s principal initiative for assisting low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled in acquiring adequate, safe, and clean housing in the private market. As the assistance is provided on behalf of the individuals or families, participants have the freedom to find their own housing, which may include single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments. Upon receiving a housing voucher, a family is responsible for locating a suitable housing unit where the owner agrees to lease under the program. This unit can be the family’s current residence. Rental units are required to meet minimum health and safety standards, as defined by the public housing authority (PHA). A housing subsidy is paid directly to the landlord by the PHA on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.

Roles – The Tenant, The Landlord, The Housing Agency, and HUD

Once a PHA approves a housing unit for an eligible family, the family and the landlord sign a lease, and simultaneously, the landlord and the PHA sign a housing assistance payments contract for the same lease term. Therefore, everyone involved — tenant, landlord, and PHA — holds obligations and responsibilities under the voucher program.

Tenant’s Obligations: When a family chooses a housing unit, and the PHA approves the unit and lease, the family signs a lease with the landlord for a minimum of one year. The tenant may be asked to pay a security deposit to the landlord. After the first year, the landlord may propose a new lease or allow the family to continue residing in the unit under a month-to-month lease. Once the family settles into their new home, they are expected to abide by the lease and the program requirements, pay their share of rent on time, keep the unit in good condition, and notify the PHA of any changes in income or family composition.

Landlord’s Obligations: The landlord’s role in the voucher program is to offer decent, safe, and sanitary housing to a tenant at a reasonable rent. The dwelling unit must meet and maintain the program’s housing quality standards for as long as the owner receives housing assistance payments. Moreover, the landlord is expected to provide 

the services agreed upon in the lease signed with the tenant and the contract signed with the PHA.

One of the most frequent queries we encounter at TradeMark Residential after the Management Agreement is signed pertains to rent disbursements. Rest assured, our aim is to ensure a smooth, efficient, and timely transfer of your funds. Your monthly statement will show your disbursements labeled as “Owner Draw.” The timing of these disbursements are contingent on when we receive the rent at our TradeMark Residential office.

Timing of Owner Draw Disbursements

We typically deposit your funds on the same business day that we receive the rent check. Owner Draws are batch processed on the last business day of the month. You will receive your Owner Draw either by check or through Automated Clearing House (ACH). Please note that ACH disbursements may take between two and three business days to clear in the banking system, and the arrival of a check depends on the postal service’s delivery times.

Important Note on Owner Draws:

We kindly remind you that the tenant’s rent payment might not be available for you to make your mortgage payment within the same month it is received. We recommend that you have two months of mortgage payments in reserve to account for this timing. As long as the tenant’s payment is received before the last business day of the month, you can anticipate receiving your Owner Draw around the first of the next month, which should comfortably align with most mortgage payment due dates.

Calculation of the Owner Draw

The Owner Draw calculation is straightforward:

Monthly rent received – management fee – maintenance expenses (if any) – other expenses – minimum balance = Owner Draw. Examples of “other expenses” could include additional advertising costs, utility bills, emergency maintenance costs, or mortgage payments that some owners request TradeMark Residential to cover on their behalf.

What If Rent Is Not Received?

Tenants understand that their rent payments are due by the 5th of the month. While most tenants pay punctually, there can be instances of late payments. Our steps to resolve late or non-payments are consistent and can be halted at any stage:

  1. Email/Phone call to tenant – Often, a simple communication is sufficient to ascertain why the rent is late and to agree upon a payment schedule.
  2. Pay or Quit Eviction Notice – If late rent payment becomes a recurring issue or if the rent is significantly late, we may commence the legal eviction process by issuing a Pay or Quit Eviction Notice in accordance with state law.

Handling of Late Fees

Tenants incur late fees as stipulated in the lease agreement and state law for late rent payments. Once rent is paid, it is applied to the tenant’s account as follows:

  1. Late fees are settled first.
  2. The remaining balance is applied to the overdue rent.

These procedures align with your Management Agreement with TradeMark Residential. TradeMark Residential believes that a well-maintained rental property with curb appeal rents faster, commands a higher rent, attracts better tenants, and results in fewer issues. Our approach to maintenance involves both proactive care for the property and responsive handling of repair requests. We recommend that you set aside a budget for potential maintenance costs. You could budget based on a multiple of monthly rent (1.5%-2.0%) or a percentage of the property value (2%-3%).

Risk Management

TradeMark Residential is committed to mitigating financial risk for our clients. In terms of maintenance, risk exposure mainly arises from compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations, and the performance of repairs or maintenance. We ensure all legal violations are corrected and only engage contractors who are licensed and insured when necessary.

Please understand that refusal to fund required repairs may result in termination of the management agreement, as TradeMark Residential must adhere to state and federal laws governing Tenant & Landlord Law. Our goal is to protect your interests while providing a safe, habitable environment for our tenants.

Initial Inspection

Upon signing the Management Agreement, we undertake an initial cosmetic inspection. The objective of this inspection is to identify any visible issues that may pose a hazard to the tenant or potentially become a hazard in the future. Any inconsistencies found will be communicated to you, and a corrective plan will be formulated, with priority given to habitability and legal concerns.

Periodic Inspection

Apart from the inspections carried out when a tenant moves in or out of the property, TradeMark Residential also conducts regular inspections throughout the year. These periodic inspections are intended to ensure that your property continues to remain in good condition.

 

What qualifies as an emergency? Typically, state or local laws define an “emergency” as anything that requires immediate attention to ensure safe living conditions for the tenant. Some examples include:

 

– Absence of heat during winter or air conditioning during hot summer months

– Loss of power/water

– Flooding

– Blocked toilet when the unit only has one toilet

– Security issues (damage resulting from a break-in or natural disaster)

– Legal notices from the housing or city inspection department.

While we hope you’ll never have to experience the eviction process, it’s important to acknowledge that evictions are a part of the residential rental industry. The best defense against eviction is a stringent selection process, robust maintenance program, and a responsive property management office. At TradeMark Residential, we provide all these resources to minimize the likelihood of an eviction. The eviction process varies by state and tenant situation. You can rely on TradeMark Residential’s expertise and legal professionals to handle this process in the most compassionate and expedient manner possible. Every eviction situation is unique, and we will work closely with you should the need for eviction arise.

Fees Incurred

In the event of an eviction, there are generally three types of fees that you may encounter. While specific processes and costs may vary based on legal requirements, the following fees are typically involved:

Legal Fees

TradeMark Residential works with professional, competent, and reasonably priced legal counsel for eviction cases. Alternatively, you may opt to use your own legal counsel. Legal fees usually commence with the attorney drafting a Pay or Quit Eviction Notice and continue through the final judgment by the judge.

Service Fees

These include costs associated with the initial process server to serve the summons and complaint, the Constable or Sheriff’s Deputy, and the moving company.

Ready to Rent Expenses

Often, evicted tenants leave the property in a condition that necessitates additional cleaning, maintenance, or repairs. Although the evicted tenant is responsible for these repairs, immediate payment cannot always be relied upon. Therefore, it is prudent to allocate funds for these expenses when it first becomes apparent that eviction may be necessary.

Timeline

The eviction process timeline can vary depending on several factors, including state or local laws, the tenant avoiding service of the summons, and the tenant contesting 

the eviction. Rest assured, TradeMark Residential, in collaboration with local attorneys, is adept at managing the eviction process. Generally, the process can range anywhere from three (3) to eight (8) weeks on average.

We understand that our property owners appreciate having easy access to their financial statements whenever required. These documents can prove beneficial when forecasting for the upcoming year and serve as necessary records for tax-related purposes.

Monthly Statements

Your monthly financial statements are readily accessible via your online portal, typically available by the 1st of the succeeding month. These statements offer a simplified view of how your rental income was allocated and distributed across four main categories:

Management Fee

This fee is deducted from the received rental income as per the stipulations in your Management Agreement with TradeMark Residential.

Maintenance Expenses

These are the costs incurred for maintenance and are itemized and deducted from the rental income in compliance with your Management Agreement with TradeMark Residential.

Other Expenses

Additional expenditures such as utility bills, Franchise Tax Board payments, or any other expenses that you have requested TradeMark Residential to handle are itemized and deducted accordingly.

Owner Draw

The Owner Draw is the final amount that is disbursed to you after all expenses have been accounted for and deducted.

Year-End 1099

Within 30 days following the conclusion of the calendar year, an IRS Form 1099 will be issued to you. This document is essential for your tax records and assists in completing your tax filing for the preceding year. In addition, you will also receive a comprehensive statement that summarizes the entire year’s financial activities.

 

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Your Property Manager and team are experienced to assist you with all your questions.