Frequently Asked Questions
Does your Office have an after-hours drop box?
Yes, we do. If you need to drop off rent or any other paperwork you’ll find our box to the right of our office door.
When I move out, what do I need to do to receive my full security deposit back?
We advise that you remove all personal belongings and clean the house thoroughly including floors, walls, trim, windows, bathrooms, counters, cabinets, appliances. All carpets should be shampooed. Gutters should be cleaned out. The roof should be free of leaves and debris. If you are responsible for lawn maintenance, then the grass and hedges need to be trimmed to a reasonable height and all beds should be free of weeds. We ask that all damages be repaired by a licensed contractor that is approved by Decas Group. In addition, a forwarding address is required.
How do you determine the cost to make my property rent ready?
Our maintenance supervisor sets the price of the make ready work with pricing that is fair to both you as the owner and the vendor that eventually will do the work. These repairs are a combination of normal wear and tear as well as maintenance items that need to be done for a new tenant to move into the home. The highest cost item on the list is a complete interior paint job. We recommend doing this so that the house will have a fresh look when it is shown to a new prospective tenant.
The pricing we use is a guide. When the work starts, some items will require more cost and others less. The breakdown of pricing is used to come up with a total amount.
How long will it take to make my property ready for a new tenant?
Once you approve the scope of work, we will need you to transfer the full amount of the repairs to Decas Group. When we receive the funds, a vendor will be selected to do the work. The vendor may be working on another project and as soon as they are available, the work will start. Once the work starts, it typically takes 1-2 weeks to complete the make ready work. If the house is in good enough condition to show to prospective tenants, then we will start marketing before the make ready work is done.
Why do you recommend the air conditioner be removed?
We always recommend removal of the outside equipment on vacant houses as the unit can be subject to vandalism regardless of the neighborhood. This is in your best interest as the replacement would be in the thousands of dollars. Although you may have insurance on your property, there is usually a $1000.00 deductible. This is the portion that you would be responsible for. If the unit needed to be replaced due to vandalism or theft, and the cost to replace was $3000.00, you would be responsible for $1000.00. Removal and storage is substantially less and keeps the equipment in a safe location.
How much will it cost to install a security cage on my air conditioner?
A security cage will cost between $350-$450 depending on the size of the unit.
Will Section 8 pay for damages caused by the tenant?
Section 8 will not pay for damages caused by a tenant.
What is the cost to replace locks?
Generally, the price is between $150-$250 but we don’t know the exact amount until the job is complete.
Why don’t you inspect the property?
As a property management company under the laws of Alabama, we are not allowed to enter the tenant’s home unannounced to inspect how they live. It is their home while they are living there and we are required to respect that fact. That said, the lease renewal includes an inspection of the property.
How often is the grass cut?
During Spring and Summer, we have our vendors cut the grass every 2 weeks. This is important because high grass indicates that the house is empty and vandals can break in. Our yard vendors also look around the property and note anything that indicates someone is trying to break in to the house. Once the tenant is placed, they become responsible for lawn maintenance and care as stated in their lease.
Why do the utilities have to stay on after the work has been completed?
The reason we leave the utilities on is so that when we have a tenant lined up for the property, the house can be inspected. Monthly charges should be minimal. If we disconnect power after work is completed, when we reconnect, there may be another deposit and another account establishment fee. The utility deposit comes back after service has been turned off. Utility companies return of deposits sometimes can take 2 months.
Can I place a claim on my insurance for plumbing repairs?
Homeowner’s insurance does not cover plumbing repairs as this is more of a maintenance issue. Insurance covers damage caused by a plumbing problem but usually not the plumbing repair itself.
Why is there a transfer charge from one of my properties to another?
When there is a deficit in one property, we move funds from another property that has more money. The reason for this is so that you do not have to make constant transfers of funds to us.
If my tenant does not pay rent do you visit the property to obtain payment?
A property management company is under no obligation to visit the property when the tenant does not pay rent. We provide you and all of our owners with owner statements every month. If you see that your tenant is not paying rent, this is a notice that we have given you and it is up to the owner to instruct the property management company on how to deal with this issue. A tenant has the right of quiet enjoyment of the property while they are occupying the property. We cannot show up unannounced. We are required to provide a 48-hour notice prior to visiting any occupied property.
This is case by case, for the more delinquent accounts, we may send an employee or a process server to post notices and do an occupancy confirmation check.
Will Decas Group apply the security deposit towards the cleaning and repairs that are necessary?
Once we determine the amount that we consider to be tenant responsibility, charges will be placed on the tenant ledger as an amount owed to you. At that point, the security deposit will be used to pay for those charges and that amount will be applied to your owner statement as a credit.
My tenant owes money. Can I expect this to be paid?
The tenant will have charges placed on their credit as a collection. In the future, if they want to rent another house, this will come up on their credit report and they will request that it be paid before renting to the tenant. Unfortunately, with low income tenants, it is not likely that this will be paid any time soon.
I did not have a pet when I moved in; may I have a pet now?
First, email your Property Manager of your request for a pet. Do not move a pet into the property without permission. Decas Group will contact the owner and submit your request. If the owner does allow the pet, an increased security deposit and fee will be required and a pet addendum must be signed.
Will we be able to apply the security deposit towards the cleaning and repairs that are necessary?
Once we determine the amount that we consider to be tenant responsibility, charges will be placed on the tenant ledger as an amount owed to you. At that point, the security deposit will be used to pay for those charges and that amount will be applied to your owner statement as a credit. It seems that at least the cost for yard and basement clean up should be charged to the tenant but that will be determined by our office staff.
How do you inspect the plumbing, electricity and gas to determine if there are any problems?
There is a visual inspection of all systems. Once the utilities are turned on all systems will be inspected to see if there are any water leaks, clogs, or electrical systems that do not function. If any of these is present, we will inform you and let you know what, if any would be the additional cost to repair.
Can I pay for the make ready work after it has been completed?
Decas Policy is that we do not do work unless the owner has paid in full up front to Decas Group. Decas Group cannot finance repairs on your behalf. We hire vendors to do work on our owners’ houses. The vendor requires payment as soon as the work is completed. It is our responsibility to pay them with funds provided by you the owner. We rely on our owners to provide funds for all work that is required and approved by them.
Will insurance cover theft of the air conditioner?
Usually insurance does not cover theft on a vacant property. It may cover vandalism but if the repair cost is less than the deductible, you will have to pay for that. We recommend consulting with your insurance agent on your coverage and deductibles.
How long will it take to find a tenant?
Our marketing and leasing teams will make every effort to find a tenant as quickly as possible but we cannot give you a specific time range.
Will my insurance pay for damages caused by a tenant?
Insurance only covers damages from storms, fire and water.
Who is responsible for the lock change cost?
The lock change is not paid for by the tenant. That is your responsibility.
Who does the work?
We work with vendors or contractors that do the make ready work and maintenance repairs.
When are utilities turned on?
We have the utilities turned on when our vendor is doing the repairs. Utilities are also disabled upon confirmation that a tenant has moved out
What are security doors?
Security doors are metal door with bars that are installed in front of the door that is the entry to the home.
At what amount is approval for maintenance needed from the owner?
The maintenance limit is set at $300 per property per month. Although we do our best to keep costs below that level for you, there are times when more than one maintenance request will have to be addressed in the month and the combined totals may exceed the $300 limit. If we see a work order that is over the maintenance limit, we will send you a request for approval.
Can you charge my credit card for expenses?
We do not keep credit cards on file for our owners for security reasons. Most of the time, any maintenance charges can be billed to the property and paid for with the rents received. The exception is when the cost of a repair exceeds the maintenance limit of $300.00 in which case we come to you for approval before doing the work. There is an exception to this rule also in the event of an emergency at the property that endangers your property, the occupants or both. For our owners’ convenience we accept payment through our owner portal on our website.
What is a package unit?
There are two types of air conditioners. Most homes have split systems where the air handler is inside the property and the condenser unit is outside. A package unit is a larger system that sits outside the house and contains both the air handler and condenser in one unit.
The cost of repairs seems high. Is this normal?
We never know what condition a tenant will leave the house in. The demographics of these properties and tenants will sometimes include tenants that do not take care of the properties as well as we would like to see. An owner reserves the right to use a contractor of their choice, but will be responsible for the standard to which they are held.
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If you’d like to learn more about our properties and what it’s like to work with Decas Group Property Management, get in touch. We’d be happy to talk more about our rental properties, our application requirements, and our leasing process.