FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of rental properties do you manage?
We specialize in single family, Multi family, condos, duplexes and apartments throughout Western Pennsylvania. 

What areas do you handle?
Our Property Management service area is throughout Western Pennsylvania. 

What Property Management experience and credentials do you have?
C21 Fairways Rental Management offers you the level of experience and expertise you should seek from any property management company you hire.  See the About Us page, if you haven’t already, for a complete introduction to our property manager and professional team.

How big is your staff? 
Our team consists of: Property Managers, Licensed real estate broker, administrative staff and a core group of highly qualified vendors, Licensed by the state of Pennsylvania.

Why should I hire you as my Property Management Company?
You should hire us only if you think we are the best match for your property management needs. Frankly, we are not a perfect fit for every property owner and it would be arrogant and wrong for us to simply proclaim "we are the best, hire us!” We may be the best property manager for some owners and properties but not for others.

That is why this FAQ page exists so that you can learn about us and and the guiding principles the property manager will employ in the management of your property.

Turning over your rental property to the care of an unknown property manager can be an emotional and frightening experience. 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 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 will you do to rent my house? 
We will give it maximum exposure while it is for rent and we carefully scrutinize all interested parties. 

FOR RENT SIGNS – Posted at the property with our website and phone number clearly displayed. Prospective renters can find out very easily – even at 7PM on a Saturday – the price and size of your property and when it will be ready for move-in.

INTERNET LISTINGS – Our available homes for rent in the C21 Fairways Rental Management area are posted online complete with photos, maps and property details for the convenience of those searching for a new home.

WORD OF MOUTH / REFERRALS – Current and past tenants, friends of our tenants, referrals from other agents that we network with. 

CORRECT PRICING – Even the best and nicest homes will not lease quickly if overpriced. We make sure your rental home is priced according to current market conditions.

THOROUGH PREPARATION – Even the best located and well priced rental homes will not lease quickly if the rental home is not in top showing condition. Homes for rent must show well and have an attractive "curb appeal" or they may sit empty for extended periods. Part of our job as property managers is to make sure your rental home is presented in a clean and attractive condition so that it will attract a good tenant.

What, specifically, do you do to qualify a tenant after they have applied to rent my house? 
This is the most important aspect of the successful management of rental property. We typically do application processing in-house. We don’t send the application to a third party for processing, as do most other property management companies. In general, we look at an applicant’s past behavior and assume their future behavior will be the same. An applicant must demonstrate a history of being a good, responsible tenant or homeowner as well as meeting credit standards. At C21 Fairways Rental Management our standards are high, No one screens their tenants as well as our property management team.

LANDLORD REFERENCES – We personally talk to past landlords and ask detailed, open-ended questions about the applicant’s past performance.

CREDIT REPORT - Our property manager and leasing agent has a direct connection with the Experian credit reporting service. We obtain a credit report that tells us the applicant’s current and past performance toward meeting their financial obligations. It also tells us their monthly debt, credit score, and shows their previous addresses (which we compare to addresses listed on the application). An applicant must meet established credit standards.

EMPLOYMENT/INCOME – We contact the employer to verify length of employment, status, and income. An applicant needs to earn at least 3 times the monthly rent in gross income to qualify for rental and we will want to see a copy of their pay stub.

PETS – We don’t generally permit animals/pets into managed properties unless you allow us to do so, however, 50% to 70% of renters have pets. When we make the decision to accept an applicant with pets, we minimize your risk by limiting the breed, age, number and size of the pets. We also use a special pet addendum for your protection. We are careful in selecting tenants who wish to bring pets with them.

OTHER FACTORS – Many of our managed properties are subject to Home Owner Association restrictions such as no boats or trailers, and limits on the type and number of vehicles. An otherwise qualified applicant may be unable to lease a property if, for instance, they own a boat and want to park it in the driveway. We make sure issues like that are covered up front to avoid surprises after move-in.

How do you make sure the tenant is taking good care of my home while renting? 
There are several ways your property manager has to know this. Above all, careful tenant selection from the outset protects your property from being rented to irresponsible people. During the lease term, we may have occasion to enter the property for repair or maintenance reasons and will use that opportunity to have a look. If we are fortunate enough not to have any repairs or maintenance at your property over an extended period of time, your property manager will schedule a preventative maintenance walk-through to make sure the air filter is being changed, that the smoke alarms have batteries and that there are no unreported problems at the property.

What do you do if they are not taking care of my property as they should, or you discover unauthorized pets?
Your property manager gives the tenant an opportunity to correct the situation and usually they will. If a problem persists, we will make a decision based on that specific situation. 

What happens if the tenant does not pay their rent? 
About the 6th of each month, we send late notices to all tenants with unpaid rent. We will post an eviction notice about the 12th day of the month if payment is not received by then. Whether or not the property manager eventually proceeds with a formal eviction depends on the specific circumstances. It is always financially better for all involved if a solution can be worked out. If the tenant has experienced a one-time event, which is causing them a financial hardship, and we have had no previous problems with them, it is better for you and the tenant if we give them a chance to catch up – if there is reason to believe they can do so. If the tenant has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of late payments, broken promises about payments and/or evasiveness, we know from experience that eviction is the best course of action.

Each case is unique and the property manager will make a decision based what is best for you and your home in the long run. 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 Pennsylvania 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?
Absent any special considerations unique to you or your property, our rule of thumb is this: If something may cause a potential interruption in your ordinary cash flow (loss of tenant or non-emergency repair in excess of $250), we will let you know about it right away. Other than that, the saying "NO NEWS is GOOD NEWS" is most appropriate. Non-emergency items will be communicated along with your monthly statements and, of course, we encourage you to contact the property manager anytime you have a question or wish to discuss something.

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 we 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 truly want everything handled for them turnkey 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?
Tenants may fax or mail their requests to us, but most fill out an online form on our website. After we receive a repair request, the property manager may contact the tenant and ask them questions, which will help us, determine the exact nature of the problem before sending a service technician. We also make sure it is not something the tenant can fix themselves (ex: reset button on the disposal, tripped breaker) before your money is spent on a service call. After determining that it is a legitimate problem, we will send the appropriate service vendor to make the repair.

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. Comfort 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 hold some of my money for repairs? How much? 
We will hold back $250 per unit in your account so that we always have funds to pay our vendors quickly. 

How do I know your property manager won’t spend my money on large repairs without my approval?
This is a legitimate fear. We promise in writing not to do that. For ordinary maintenance and repairs of less than $250, the property manager will take care of it without notifying you. You will find out when you receive your monthly statement. If we think a repair might exceed $250, we will call you and let you know what is happening, what we think should be done, and what the estimated cost might be.

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.?
If you would like to nominate a service company to be added to our vendor list, they can contact us and we will interview them and let them know what documentation and references we need, what our invoicing and payment policy is, etc. We cannot guaranty however that your favorite company will be sent on all service calls to your home. Our concern is always to resolve repair problems in the most efficient way possible with the best available vendor at the time. Property managers can’t keep track of a pre-established roster of vendors assigned to certain properties – it would be a cumbersome and inefficient property management system and would not achieve the best service to the tenant and your investment property.
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.

When do you mail the owner’s checks and statements? 
Owners checks are mailed out on or after the 10th of each month but no later than the 15th for that month’s activity. Most months, you will have your check and statement in hand by the 15th.

Can you put my rental proceeds directly into my checking account? 
We will be happy to send your check directly to your bank for immediate deposit while sending the statement to you. This is not an electronic transfer, but rather we mail the check directly for deposit.

What will I receive with my monthly statement? 
The monthly statement showing all income and expenses for the accounting period and the original receipts for any repairs. We don’t mark up repair invoices and we send you the original copy so you’ll see what was done.

How much is your monthly property management fee? 
Our usual property management fee is 8-10 percent of the monthly rent, with a $40 per month minimum. If your home rents for less than $500 per month, or is vacant for a period of time, you will be charged a flat fee of $40 per month.

Are your property management fees negotiable?
No. We don’t try to compete against lower priced property management companies or Realtors who practice property management as a side business. Frankly, we know you can find a cheaper property management company in Western Pennsylvania. We just don’t think price should be the determining factor in deciding which property manager you hire to manage your home.

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? 
There are no administrative fees or start-up costs. We don’t charge for copies, long distance calls, mileage, or other incidentals. We don’t mark up maintenance costs or nickel and dime you with petty fees as do some property management companies. The only other expenses you could incur would be for services, which fall outside the normal scope of our property management agreement (such as contracting a major renovation, restoration or remodel, assisting in sales efforts for which we are not otherwise being paid). These scenarios 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? 
No. We can sell your property if you would like us to, but we don’t bind you to that in the management agreement. This is another trick that discount property managers use. They manage your home at little or no profit knowing they have you locked into an eventual sales listing. We think, at the time you decide to eventually sell, you should be free to decide who the best listing agent will be for your property given its location and characteristics. Most of our owners choose a full time sales agent to sell their home and we encourage them to do so in most instances. (Or, our in-house broker)

Is the Property Management Agreement a standard, widely used form? 
Yes. We use the standard contract.

Who holds the tenant’s security deposit? 
All security deposits must be held in our deposit trust account. 

How much security deposit do you charge the tenant? 
As a general rule of thumb we usually get one month’s rent for deposit, this is what most property owners and property managers will ask for.

Are you a licensed Property Manager? 
Our In-house real estate team is licensed by the state of Pennsylvania.  

How soon can you start managing my home? 
We can start the process immediately. We will start by obtaining some information about you and your property and helping you decide if we are a good fit for your needs.