What Options Do I Have If My Tenant is Breaking a Lease Agreement?

What Options Do I Have If My Tenant is Breaking a Lease Agreement?

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Lease agreements are invaluable legal contracts that allow both the tenant and the property owner to abide by the rules of the tenancy. It’s a form of assurance that the tenant will pay rent until the expiry of the lease and that the landlord won’t raise the rent.

But sometimes tenants don’t hold part of their bargain. A new job, marital issues, new house, and other reasons can force tenants to break lease agreements. Whenever this happens, it is important to know how you can handle the situation to avoid losses.

As a property owner, it is crucial to know what it means when renters breach tenancy agreements. Unless landlords violate the terms of the contract, a tenant is obligated to the terms of an early termination clause.

Still, under some circumstances, there are valid reasons that allow renters to break a lease. In effect, you can either be legally bound to release tenants without any penalties or be in a legal position to seek compensation. Here are some actionable tasks you can do to prevent or handle a broken lease agreement.

Consider A Lease Termination Clause As A Landlord

Including a lease termination clause in the tenancy agreement is the surest way of mitigating financial costs associated with tenants breaking leases. Such a provision would explain and provide a guideline regarding what should be done when renters terminate contracts early. The clause allows renters to give an early notice; this is typically 30-60 days before the intended day of moving out.

Lease termination for landlords is necessary as it gives you a chance to find new tenants while the departing tenant pays for rent. However, most states, including Utah, require landlords to actively search for new occupants to avoid overburdening the current lessee.

The early termination clause allows you to legally bind the tenant to the terms of breaking a lease. You’ll clearly outline the consequences of breaking the lease before the expiry of the term.

Within this clause, you can introduce a buy-out clause that allows the tenant or you to break the lease. In this case, the individual breaking the lease pays a penalty fee, which is equivalent to no more than two month’s rent – as required by the law. If you go with this option, sometimes it ends up being a costly choice if you can’t find a new tenant quickly.

Typically, you have three options as a landlord when a tenant breaks the lease:

  • Subletting – this means allowing the current lessee to sublet the property to another person. When this happens, ensure that the new tenant qualifies as a good tenant. Also, inform the previous renter that the security deposit won’t be available until the end of the original lease.
  • Re-Renting – the law requires you to advertise your property as vacant as soon as you receive a notice from the tenant. You can shift marketing costs to the tenant provided that you have clearly indicated that provision in the early termination clause.
  • The third option is letting the tenant pay for rent balance for the remaining months. This can work if there are a few months (less than 3 months) to the expiry of the lease. Note that the law requires you to mitigate damages when renters break lease agreements, so deliberately leaving the property idle is downright illegal.

 

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Demand for an Early Notice

Regardless of the reason that motivates your tenant to move out before the end of the lease term, you can include in the lease agreement the need to provide an early notice. You can give anywhere between 30 to 60 days depending on what works for you.

Can Tenants Break The Lease?

There are a few situations where the tenant can legally break a lease agreement. In Utah, you cannot subject your tenant to the buy-out or early termination clause if:

  • He/she is an active military duty
  • He/she is a victim of domestic violence
  • Your rental unit is considered inhabitable. Ensure that you meet Salt Lake City area health and safety codes.
  • You harass or violate your tenant’s privacy. You are required to give a 24-hour notice before entering the property. Also, you cannot change locks, tamper with utilities, remove doors/windows, or do anything that violates the tenant’s rights.

When Breaking a Lease is Unjustifiable

You’re legally allowed to hold the tenant to the terms of the lease in case they provide unjustifiable reasons for breaking the contract. Breaking lease is inexcusable if tenants are:

  • Moving to a new house
  • Relocating to a new job/school
  • Moving in with a spouse
  • Moving to be close to family

Terminating a lease agreement can come with unforeseen nightmares. As a property owner, cushion yourself from this by writing a thorough lease agreement containing a legally-binding early termination clause. Another option you can take is to take it off your plate altogether. At Wolfnest, we provide professional property management services that can help you save time and money. We specialize in filling vacant properties, handling tenants, and much more. Start managing properties the Wolfnest way today!

 

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How To Maximize Tenant Retention

How To Maximize Tenant Retention

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Getting new clients isn’t very easy and each month your property stays vacant is a month you’ve lost income. Did you know improving your tenant retention rates by approximately 5% increases your profits by between 25%-95%? Crazy, right?

But how does a landlord or property owner make their tenants more inclined to stay in their properties? Here are a few ideas that could help you maximize tenant retention.

 

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Begin at Tenant Screening

Tenant screening is the first step to improving your customer retention rate. Finding great tenants means that you’ll avoid many of the issues that sour the relationship between landlords and tenants. 

 

While screening your tenants, make sure to find out a bit of the following:

  • The nature of their employment 
  • How long they plan to stay
  • If they have a family or live alone
  • Their criminal records
  • Credit score

 

These are important factors that will help you know whether or not they are going to become long-term tenants. For better tenant retention rates, go for tenants who have a great history with their past landlords, and are planning to stay for a longer period.

 

Develop a Good Relationship With the Tenants

From the get-go, it’s very easy for tenants to dislike their landlord. But you can develop a great relationship with your tenants to improve the quality of their stay. Tenants who have a great relationship with their landlords will want to stay for a longer period.

 

One of the easiest ways to develop a great relationship with your tenants is by being understanding. Try talking with them as though they are on the same level as you and even when they are late on their rent payment approach them with an understanding tone. 

 

Conduct Research on Why Tenants Are Leaving

This is one of the best ways to learn why tenants are not staying. Finding out why they are leaving gives you very valuable information on how you can improve your tenant retention rates.

 

You can survey the existing tenants by asking them what would make them want to leave. Additionally, you can have exit interviews with tenants who are already vacating to find out their reasons. If it’s something you can fix, try reasoning with them as this might make them stay. 

Continue To Rent The Property Below Market Value

Many owners and property management companies feel that a rent increase should happen every year in order to maximize cash flow. If you are willing to make a small concession to your excellent tenant, it will make them feel valued and will not give them a reason to find a new place to live.

 

Become More Personal

At the end of the day, your tenants are just human, becoming personal lets them see a different version of you. This helps them realize that you are not that different from them. Letting them learn more about your personal life helps deepen the relationship you have with your tenants. 

 

You can become more personal with your tenants by:

  • Sending out holiday and gift cards 
  • Holding regular personal conversations with them
  • Remembering important details about your tenants like their birthdays
  • Letting them know that they can reach out to you at anytime
  • Hosting annual parties where you invite all the tenants 

 

These steps are very important as they’ll help you become closer to your tenants. They will develop a sense of loyalty towards you, making it very hard for them to leave. 

 

Provide Great Incentives

Providing great incentives will improve your tenant retention rates and also attract new tenants. For instance, handle maintenance issues effectively and regularly. You can also go the extra mile to improving your tenants’ living conditions such as installing better insulation in the houses. 

You can also give your tenants gifts just before it’s time for them to renew their lease. Go for something personal that lets them know you are grateful for all the time they have stayed. This will make them feel appreciated and improve the chance of them staying. 

 

Maximize Tenant Retention With Property Management Services

Providing great incentives will improve your tenant retention rates and also attract new tenants. For instance, handle maintenance issues effectively and regularly. You can also go the extra mile to improving your tenants’ living conditions such as installing better insulation in the houses. 

 

You can also give your tenants gifts just before it’s time for them to renew their lease. Go for something personal that lets them know you are grateful for all the time they have stayed. This will make them feel appreciated and improve the chance of them staying. 

 

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Landlord Vs Property Manager- Which one Should You Rent From

Landlord Vs Property Manager- Which one Should You Rent From

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Life is full of choices. Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or tea? Landlord or property manager? Deciding whether to rent from a landlord vs a property manager in Salt Lake City can be a difficult decision because there are positives and negatives to each method. Here are some of the things you should consider:

First, What is Property Management?

Typically, either a landlord or a property manager is responsible for managing a rental property. As a tenant, you will deal with one of these before and after you move into a new property. 

 

Here are some of the responsibilities associated with property management:

  • Tenant screening. This is the process that determines whether the prospective tenant will fulfill the terms of the lease or rental agreement, which include paying the rent on time and taking care of the property. Tenant screening often involves credit referencing and background checks.
  • Collecting rent.
  • Handling maintenance and repairs.
  • Responding to complaints if something goes wrong inside the property.
  • Pursuing evictions if the tenant has broken the terms of the lease.

 

There are other tasks associated with property management, but these are the main ones that affect tenants.

Whats The Difference Between A Landlord And A Property Management Company?

Although landlords and property managers essentially do the same thing, there are differences in how they do it. In the most simple terms, a landlord owns the property; a property manager manages the property. 

 

A property manager serves as a “middle man,” acting as an intermediary between the tenant and landlord. When you live in a home managed by a property manager, you might never meet your landlord during the entire tenancy. Everything you do as a tenant — paying rent, collecting your security deposit, resolving issues, etc. — goes through the property manager. 

 

All of the above provides you with extra protection. Although property managers work on behalf of landlords, they need to follow strict tenant protection laws that safeguard you as a tenant. As there’s an element of distance between you and the landlord, you are less likely to disagree about a property-related issue. 

 

Property managers provide landlords in Salt Lake City with lots of benefits too. These professional companies take care of the hard work associated with the day-to-day management of a property, which frees up the landlord’s time. Research suggests that 51 percent of landlords use a property manager.

 

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Landlord vs. Property Management — Different Properties in Salt Lake City

Both landlords and property managers are responsible for all different kinds of properties in Salt Lake City, but landlords tend to manage more single-family homes and small multi-family homes. Property managers, on the other hand, often manage a large portfolio of properties in different SLC neighborhoods. These might include large multi-family homes and even commercial properties. Renting a house through a property management company, therefore, usually means that the company has experience with managing all different types of properties.

Paying Your Rent

Some landlords only accept check payments or bank transfers, which can make it more difficult to remember to pay your rent. You might have to travel to your bank once a month and deposit your rent payment into your landlord’s account. 

Property managers usually accept various payment methods, including online rent payments. This makes it easier for you to budget and control your finances every month. You just visit the property manager’s website and pay your rent. It’s as simple as that.

Repairs

If something goes wrong inside your home, you will need to submit a maintenance request with the landlord or property manager. Some landlords are difficult to track down; others can take days (or even weeks) to fix the problem. 

Property managers, however, often utilize the latest technology, so you can submit maintenance requests through an online portal. This speeds up the process significantly. Property managers don’t own the property, so they often manage maintenance issues more professionally.

Communication

As mentioned above, some landlords are notorious for poor communication, and you might have to wait a few days for a landlord to even respond to your email or phone call. Good property managers, however, will maintain consistent communication throughout your tenancy, so you can solve problems in a speedy timeframe. 

Often, it can be difficult to bring up issues with a landlord. If something is wrong with the property, the landlord might take your complaint personally. There have been many cases where complaints about small issues have escalated into big confrontations. Renting a home managed by a property manager can eliminate this problem. 

Property managers are also more likely to know about landlord-tenant legislation and your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. With this legal expertise, a property manager can quickly solve any problems associated with rent and lease agreements.

Cost

Many people think that it’s more expensive to rent a property managed by a property manager, but this isn’t the case. As a tenant, it’s not your responsibility to pay the property management company for its services. (The landlord pays the property management company.)

There’s also a misconception that homes managed by property management companies are more expensive because the landlord adds the property manager’s fees onto the total cost of the rent. Again, this isn’t the case. Many landlords in Salt Lake City don’t increase their rents to factor in the cost of professional property management.

 

Landlord or Property Manager — Which Should You Choose?

When it comes to choosing between a landlord vs a property manager, it all really depends on your personal preferences. Most landlords in Salt Lake City provide a good service to tenants, but leasing a property managed by a property management company provides you with an extra level of protection. It’s more likely you will solve maintenance issues quickly, experience excellent communication, and benefit from a more flexible rent payment system. If you’re a tenant looking for a new home in the Salt Lake City area, consider renting from a reliable, experienced property manager like Wolfnest!

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What to Do If Your Property is Being Used in a Rental Scam

What to Do If Your Property is Being Used in a Rental Scam

A home for rent that could be part of a rental scam.

Owning, maintaining, and managing an apartment can be an overwhelming task, especially when it isn’t your full-time job. In addition to property upkeep, collecting rent, and finding the right tenants, there’s an additional factor you need to keep in mind: rental scams. If you’ve managed your property for years, you may be wondering, “What is a rental scam and what does that have to do with me?” Unfortunately, if you’ve listed your property online at any point, it could possibly be used for a rental property scam. This could lead people to believe they’ve rented an apartment in your building or lose their money on what they think is your property. So, how do you avoid this and where do you even start? Fortunately, Wolfnest is here to guide you. With many successful years of property management in Utah, our team has seen it all. As your property managers, we can help you navigate this difficult area of managing a rental and help you avoid being part of a rental scam, which gives you one less thing to worry about.

Signs of Rental Scams

First things first, it’s important to understand and recognize the signs of rental scams. Even though you’re not the one looking to rent, it’s crucial to understand what renters are dealing with. There are a lot of scammers that take and use a real listing from an actual rental home and claim it as their own. They will take already written listings and make a few modifications usually by changing the email address or other contact information to include their own information. The listing might even use the same name as the original poster and only change the picture and contact information just to confuse a potential renter. When you’re the one renting out a home, it’s important to recognize that this could happen to your listing and result in you appearing fraudulent later on. Here are the top three telltale signs of a fake rental ad that renters should look out for.

A listing that shows little information and could be signs of rental scams.

1. The Listing Doesn’t Offer Information

Writing an effective rental description is half the battle of listing your available property, especially when you don’t utilize property management services who will write an enticing description for you. Despite that, real rental descriptions usually contain all the information a prospective tenant needs to know, even if it doesn’t come across as sales-focused. When a rental listing contains little to no details, mentioning an attraction that isn’t nearby or omits details on utilities, it’s probably fake. 

 2. Asking to Wire Money

A major sign that a listing is a scam is if the “landlord” requests the potential tenant to wire money. There is no need to send money, no matter what the reason may be. While some justifications for this could include paying a security deposit or application fee, that should be paid when you see the property. This is a huge red flag because once the money is wired, there is no way to get that back.

3. It Sounds Too Good to Be True

A good rule of thumb in finding a home to rent is if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Most scammers will take all of the real information for a home rental listing, but list the price below the average rental rate in the market. This is an easy sign to tell whether or not the listing could be a possible scam. It’s important to look at other rentals in the area and see what they’re being listed to determine if an ad is fraudulent.

So, how do you ensure that this doesn’t happen to your property? Luckily, our experts at Wolfnest are here to help.

A man providing property manager services.v

Utilizing Property Manager Services to Combat Rental Scams

It doesn’t matter if you own a single-family or multi-family property, our extensive and helpful property management services have you covered. Part of these services includes listing and marketing your property. Since we are actively posting and monitoring your property on a variety of platforms, we are able to keep an eye out for any possible rental scams that are using your house or building for their fraudulent posting. With an active online presence, we are able to catch and shut down these postings before any renters are taken by surprise. Our property management services include keeping an eye on your property both online and in real life. In addition to marketing your rental, utilizing property manager services gives you access to benefits such as detailed performance metrics, day-to-day management services, and a leasing coordinator to fill your rental with high-quality tenants. So, avoid being inadvertently part of a rental listing scam and hire our experienced team to manage your property in every aspect. Enjoy peace of mind and free time with Wolfnest. To learn more, contact us today and we’ll find the right property management services for your rental!

Utah Renter’s Guide: Tips for a First-Time Renter

Utah Renter’s Guide: Tips for a First-Time Renter

Wolfnest's Renter's Guide

Starting the process of renting can be intimidating and overwhelming for anyone. Especially if you are a first-time renter, you probably are feeling nervous and are not sure what to expect. As experienced Utah property managers, our job is to understand renting and everything that comes with it. That’s why we put together this renter’s guide. When renting a property from any Utah homeowner, there are several important things to remember. This simple rental checklist will help you find your ideal rental and ensure things run smoothly during the duration of your lease.

 Rental Checklist Step 1: Determining Your Wants and Needs

After you have decided on renting, the next step is to browse different available properties to find the best fit for you. As a first time renter though, there are probably some questions you need to ask yourself before beginning this search.

1. What Type of Property Do I Want to Rent?

There are many different types of rentals available and it’s important to know what you are looking for. Do you want to rent a home or an apartment? How many bedrooms are you looking for? All of these things will affect what types of rentals you begin your search with.

 2. What is Your Budget?

Budgeting is part of a renter's checklist

Another essential step in our renter’s guide is determining a budget. Determine what you are willing to pay for rent and then remember you will have to pay a security deposit, utilities, and possibly renter’s insurance, too. There are many different “formulas” to determine what you can afford for rent, but sometimes these don’t take into consideration your individual circumstances. So, it’s a good idea to look at your income and expenses specifically to determine your budget.

3. Are There Specific Areas You Want to Live In?

You may not be sure of any specific locations you want to live in, especially if you are moving to a new city. In this case, you can look at rentals in many different areas and decide which ones you like. But you also may have specific areas in which you are looking. Determine what these areas are and what you like about them.

 It’s still important to be open to other locations. You may end up loving a location that you never would have considered! By having a list of areas written down, you can make sure you look at various apartments in these locations to see if one of them is the right fit for you.

Rental Checklist Step 2: Touring Rentals

Once you have answered the questions above, the next step in our renter’s guide is touring various rental properties. While touring, make notes about what you like and what you don’t to help you make any difficult decisions. Try to keep an open mind since you never know if you will end up loving a property or location that you didn’t expect. 

Rental Checklist Step 3: Signing the Lease

Once you have found your rental, there are a few more steps in our renter’s guide you should follow to ensure a smooth rental process.

1. Read and understand all of the terms of your lease agreement before signing 

The lease is the most important document between you and the Utah homeowner. It outlines the terms of your tenancy and the responsibilities of both parties. One of the most important steps in this renter’s guide is that you read and understand all of the terms of this agreement because it will be the document used by the courts in any dispute. If you have any questions or don’t understand anything, you should consult a Utah attorney.

Lease agreement as a first time renter

2. Promptly switch the utilities into your name

Your Utah rental agreement will outline which utilities you are responsible for. After signing the lease, you should call the various utility companies and have these switched into your name immediately. 

3. Always document the condition of your property

Taking pictures is a great way to record the condition of your property before you move in and an essential step in the renter’s guide. Typically, your Utah property manager will do this for you, but it is essential that the pictures are date stamped and show any unclean or damaged areas in the home. If this is not done for you, take date stamped photos yourself and keep them in your records.

4. Determine how to pay your rent

If the owner is working with a Utah property management company, they should have the option to pay rent online using ACH transfers. This is very convenient for you as the rent is simply withdrawn from your checking account, saving you the trouble of needing to send a check. If ACH is not an option, you should determine the most efficient way to deliver your check each month to avoid late fees.

5. Learn how to properly submit maintenance requests

If your home is being managed by a Utah Property Management company, they will outline how maintenance requests are to be submitted. Usually, for non-emergency items, a simple maintenance request can be completed online.

6. Never stop paying rent

Even if you feel like your landlord is not fulfilling his/her end of the agreement, you must continue to pay rent and address your concerns through the proper channels. Your Utah property manager can even help you with the proper paperwork. Remember though, that by failing to pay the rent, you open yourself up to possible eviction.

Find Your Dream Rental with this Renter’s Guide

So, now you have all of the information you need to know to find the perfect rental. If you are currently in your search, check out our available rentals here. You can find a variety of properties to fit your specific needs. With our experienced Utah property managers, you get amazing benefits such as automatic bill payment, a 24/7 maintenance hotline, professional service, and more. Contact Wolfnest today and find your dream home! 

What You Need to Know About the Rental Application Process

What You Need to Know About the Rental Application Process

Rental application process

Renting a home from a Salt Lake City property management company can be a very complicated process. While it may seem as simple as submitting a rental application and moving into the home, that is not the case. There is actually a specific process before receiving approval. Each company may vary with their application criteria, but most property management companies follow a similar rental application process. Before you apply for a new rental, it’s important to know what that process is going to look like and what to expect. This helps you plan your move accordingly, while also keeping your expectations reasonable. So, what should you prepare for? Our step-by-step guide is here to help you through the process of applying for a rental property.

Filling Out the Rental Property Application

Before the landlord or property manager can even look at your application, you need to fill one out. This is a standard procedure across the board and should be expected with every rental you apply for. Information needed for this can include, but is not limited to:

  • Your name
  • Current address
  • Employment and income information
  • Contact information (phone number, email address)
  • Photo ID
  • Pets (if applicable)
  • Personal or professional references
  • Previous landlord information
  • Background information

It is also not uncommon for applications to require a fee, so be prepared for this additional charge. This ensures that your application will be processed properly for a background check. Once you’ve filled out and submitted your application, you’ll be playing the waiting game. However, there is a lot going on behind the scenes to look at your application.

The Application Review Process

Rental property application

Once you’ve turned in your application, it’s out of your hands. Sometimes it takes a little while to get an answer, and that’s just because the property manager is ensuring the best tenant gets the property. So, what’s happening while you’re waiting for an answer? Here are the steps property managers take to thoroughly evaluate an application for a rental property.

Step 1: Review All Information Within An Application

This may seem like an obvious step, but the property manager will review all of the information received in the application to ensure that nothing will immediately disqualify the candidate. The factors that may be most closely looked at during this step in the process include:

  • Gross income
  • Past rental history
  • Criminal history

This is the first round of screenings and helps eliminate any less than ideal candidates from the very beginning. When filling out an application, it’s important to be completely honest since you may make it through the first round, but when the manager reviewing the application begins to dive deeper, other information may come up.

Step 2: Generate a Credit and Background Report

Once the initial inspection is done, management will then have a credit and background report generated for each applicant that will be occupying the home. While some property managers will require a minimum credit score, the focus will be on the repayment history over the past two years. This also includes any amounts that are currently past due or in collections. With regards to the background report, the property management company will be looking for any items that may be deemed a threat to the community. This could include drugs or violence but is not limited to that.

Step 3: Verify Employment and Rental History

Once steps one and two are complete and the property manager has reviewed all of the information in the application and credit/background reports, they will then call the candidate’s employer and past landlords to verify monthly income and rental history to ensure that the information provided is accurate. As part of the employment verification, you may be asked to provide a W-2 form, bank statements, or copies of client contracts to provide further proof of employment. If the manager asks for any of these items, it is simply to expedite the process and to verify your employment quicker.

Step 4: The Waiting Game

Once the property manager or management company has completed all these steps the last item on the list is to wait. Credit and employment checks typically take the longest, sometimes as long as 72 hours. While you’re waiting, the property manager is probably also waiting. However, you have every right at the beginning of the process to ask for a time frame regarding the rental application process. An experienced company will usually have a good idea of how long these applications take to get through, so asking upfront could prevent you some anxiety while you’re patiently waiting.

What Happens at the End of the Rental Application Process?

Application for rental

The very last step is approval or denial. Whether you get the rental or not, the property management company will notify you, and hopefully, you’ll end with having a new place to live. While the process may seem long, it’s important for keeping and attracting optimal renters. This makes your prospective rental community an ideal place to live with people you know have been screened and evaluated, so you can enjoy peace of mind. If you’ve been approved, it’s time to sign the lease, but remember to read over this document very carefully. Remember to ask the important questions before signing the dotted line. It’s important to keep in mind that this process is similar from property to property, so find the perfect place for you before beginning these steps all over again. However, you can help streamline this process by promptly filling out any and all parts of the application and providing the required documents as needed.

So, if you’re ready to find a new rental, keep the rental application process in mind so you know what to expect. As we all know with rental hunting, the perfect property is worth the wait.

Filling Out a Utah Rental Application: What Fees to Expect From Your Property Manager

Filling Out a Utah Rental Application: What Fees to Expect From Your Property Manager

Utah rental application

Renting from a Salt Lake City property management company is much different than renting directly from an owner. While there are benefits to both, the benefits of renting from a property manager far outweigh the drawbacks. Before you fill out a rental application in Utah, it’s important to understand the tenant fees you might encounter. Although each property manager will charge different amounts, there are a few typical fees that are associated with renting a home from a property management company.

How Much is a Rental Application Fee?

The first and most common fee when renting a property is the application fee. This is taken when applying for a rental property. The purpose of this fee is usually to cover the cost of the background and credit report necessary to evaluate potential renters. The actual cost of the application fee varies from property to property but is typically anywhere from $30 to $75 per person. However, it’s important to remember that in the state of Utah there is no limit to how much the fee can be.

Most Common New Tenant Fees

While a Utah rental application typically requires a fee, there are also a number of other common charges that come with a new rental. You may not have run into all of these at once, but these fees could come up for a future rental. It’s important to take fees into account when hunting for a new rental property. You don’t want to be surprised by unexpected charges, so it’s good to be aware of all the possible charges you could encounter. This is also helpful when deciding your budget, and finding the right home or apartment for you.

tenant fees

Lease Origination Fee

This is charged to a tenant when a new lease agreement is created. This fee typically covers the work associated with underwriting a new lease agreement by the Salt Lake City property manager. This fee generally covers what it takes to get a home or apartment leased. The lease origination fee covers the time to show the property, screening all applicants, and assembling the lease paperwork and move-in process. This is the “behind-the-scenes” work that ensures the best applicants are leasing the home or apartment. While this fee may not seem necessary, when you’re living in an apartment building, it’s a nice peace of mind to know that all the other tenants have been screened extensively and that you’re living in a safe place.

Late Fee

While this fee doesn’t happen during the rental process, it’s one to be aware of when signing a lease. As the name says, this is charged to a tenant when rent is not received on time. Late charges vary but are usually 10% of one monthly rental payment. For example, if you’re paying $800 per month, your late fee would be $80. This may not seem like a big expense, but this extra fee can add up quickly and end up costing you big time in the long run. Before signing a lease, especially a long-term agreement, it’s important to read the lease carefully and find out when rent is due, how to pay rent, and what charges you will be responsible for if you don’t pay it on time. Depending on the property, you may have a grace period, but it’s best to get into the habit of paying your rent on the first of every month.

Month-to-Month Fee

While not every property has this fee, it’s an important one to keep in mind when signing a new lease. The month-to-month fee is charged to a tenant that chooses to overstay the term of their current lease agreement. This fee typically provides an incentive for the tenant to enter into a new lease agreement with the overseeing property management company. When reading over a new lease agreement, noting how much the month-to-month fee could be is critical. Month-to-month convenience charges can range anywhere from $25 to $200. It all depends on the property manager. So, take the time to look over your lease and ensure that you intend to stay as long as it says, or that you’ll be ready to sign another lease agreement when yours ends.

Service of Notice Fee

This is charged to a tenant that has not complied with the terms of the lease agreement. This fee is associated with the process of the property manager posting a notice for the tenant to correct the lease violation or risk eviction. In order to avoid this fee, you must adhere to the rules of your lease agreement. This is another instance where reading a lease before signing it is crucial. The most common lease violations are long-term guests, decorating that results in damage, and unauthorized pets. This fee is at the discretion of the property management company, and there is no set amount they have to adhere to. It’s best to follow the lease agreement, and not risk extra tenant fees for breaking any rules you agreed to when you signed the lease.

Know Your Possible Tenant Fees

If you’re ready to lease a home or apartment, familiarizing yourself with all the possible tenant fees that could incur is important. Unexpected fees can change your overall budget and should be factored into what you’re ready to spend. When you’re filling out a Utah rental application, keep these common fees in mind, and do a little digging to find any others that may appear. So, while “How much is a rental application fee?” is a critical question, it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tenant fees. Now that you have an idea of the cost of a rental application, you can begin factoring other possible costs into your new budget for your future home.

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What is Renters Insurance and Why Do I Need it?

What is Renters Insurance and Why Do I Need it?

What is Renters Insurance?

If you’re currently renting a home or apartment, you might be asking yourself, “What is renters insurance and why should I pay for it?” Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, a common misconception among renters in Salt Lake City is that they don’t need this extra coverage and renters insurance has no value. Unless you have ever been in the unfortunate situation of having to make a claim, you might not fully appreciate this as a necessity. If and when you are ever in need of coverage, you’ll learn quickly just how important renters insurance can be. So, if you’ve been looking for renters insurance information, we have the answers to all your questions and why every tenant in Salt Lake City should have a renters insurance policy.

Why You Need Renters Insurance in Salt Lake City

To sum it up, renters insurance protects you and your belongings in a rental property. This means if something destructive happens to your rental property, such as a fire or flood, and becomes uninhabitable, you’re covered. Renters insurance also covers break-ins, visitor’s injury, and the items within your home. While nobody wants any of these events to happen, it really can happen to anyone. So, as the age-old phrase goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” and that is essentially what renters insurance is here to do.

Renters Insurance Salt Lake City

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

The top categories that renters insurance covers are:

Personal Property

Liability

Additional Living Expenses

So, what does this mean? Each of these categories is important when it comes to renters insurance information, so let’s break down each category.

Personal Property

One of the most important aspects of renters insurance is that it covers your personal property. If you stop and think about everything you own and assign a dollar value to all of your possessions, it will probably surprise you how much your stuff is actually worth. Even if you live in the safest neighborhood, it’s crucial to protect your belongings as best as you can. You may not expect a break-in, but that doesn’t mean it’s not impossible. This is where having a comprehensive renters insurance policy can make a difference. The personal property aspect of the policy will help replace your items in the event of theft. This also covers loss of personal property due to fire. So, no matter what may happen, you’re covered. This part of renters insurance covers costs to replace or repair your lost items such as:

Electronics, like a television or computer

Clothing and jewelry

Furniture

renters insurance information

One thing to keep in mind is your insurance policy will only cover loss up to your coverage limit. So, when picking your renters insurance, it’s critical to set coverage that is appropriate for you. Before finalizing your policy, take a home inventory and evaluate how much your belongings are worth so you can have peace of mind if you ever need your policy.

Liability

You may be wondering, “What is liability?” Well, consider this scenario: it’s a snowy day in Salt Lake City, and you’re in a rush to get to work, so you don’t have the time to shovel the sidewalks before you leave. You think to yourself, “Oh, I’ll just shovel and salt the sidewalk when I get home. It will be fine.” While you’re gone, someone slips, falls, and then breaks a bone on your sidewalk. Technically, your negligence caused the injury, so you are now liable for all costs associated. Most renters assume that maintenance, such as snow removal, is only the landlord’s responsibility. Surprisingly, that is not always the case.

Another situation where renters insurance would be critical is if a fire was caused by the tenant’s negligence, such as leaving a candle unattended. In some extreme cases, this would also result in the tenant being responsible for the cost of replacement of the home in Salt Lake City. This is typically something many individuals would not be able to cover without renters insurance.

Additional Living Expenses

Speaking of home fires, have you ever thought about what you would do if a fire or other natural disaster made your current home unlivable? While this something no one wants to think about, this scenario is unavoidable if it happens to you. If you’re ever displaced from your home due to a natural disaster, renters insurance can cover the sudden expenses that may incur. This includes hotel bills, increased costs of food, or any other increased costs you may face if you are unable to live in your rental. As a tenant, this peace of mind can be priceless.

As with all the other aspects of renters insurance, it’s important to look over your policy and determine how much coverage is available for additional living expenses. Finding the best policy for you is one of the most important aspects of renters insurance, and it is crucial to determine this from the beginning so you have nothing to worry about.

Remember This Renters Insurance Information

Now, you no longer have to wonder, “What is renters insurance?” You can now see that while renters insurance may seem unnecessary, but it is actually very important. If you’re renting an apartment or home, renters insurance gives you peace of mind and protects you from the unexpected. Unfortunately, accidents happen and this coverage prepares you for anything. If you’re already renting or searching for a rental property, you can get more renters insurance information from your local insurance agent. Setting up a policy is simple, and worth the reassurance it brings. So, to cover personal property, liability, and additional living expenses, look into getting the best policy for you. Renters insurance in Salt Lake City is readily available and can save you from a headache further down the road. Invest in your security today, and enjoy peace of mind.

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3 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease

3 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease

How Salt Lake City Property Managers Screen Tenants - Wolfnest Property Management - Salt Lake City Property Management

 

If you have ever rented a home from a Salt Lake City property manager, you know first hand how stressful the process can be. Not only are you consumed with finding a home, but the contract process can be overwhelming after you’ve finally found the perfect living space. With so much information to digest, it is common to overlook important things to ask before signing a lease with a property management company. Below are three important questions to ask a property management company before you move in:

 

Question #1:

When is rent due and how do I pay?

 

One of the most important questions to ask before signing a lease is how rent can be paid. The majority of property management companies in Salt Lake have the capability to accept online payments. This can make paying rent extremely convenient and help to avoid any late fees, especially if automatic payments can be set up. However, some property managers require a cashiers check and do not accept cash. Don’t get caught unaware your first month, late fees can pile up, especially if you aren’t provided with a grace period.

If you have rented a home in Salt Lake City in the past, you may have been fortunate enough to be provided with a grace period. However, it is becoming more and more common that property management companies are requiring rent to be paid by the first of the month and the late fee can be significant if it is not received on time. That’s why it’s one of the first things to ask before signing a lease.

 

Question #2:

How are maintenance requests submitted and how long does it take to address the issue?

 

The next thing on the list of questions to ask a property management company before leasing has to do with maintenance issues. One of the primary benefits of renting from a property management company in Salt Lake City is that maintenance requests are usually taken extremely seriously. Before signing the lease agreement, it is important to clarify how maintenance requests are to be submitted and what phone number should be used for emergency situations. Most property managers will want the issue to be submitted in writing and have the capability to accept the maintenance request online. It is also very important to ask how long it typically takes to respond to these requests and the timeline to resolve most issues.

If you end up in a situation where you require maintenance to be done quickly, knowing the correct method of reporting issues and requesting repairs can save you valuable time. That’s why asking about maintenance issues ranks number 2 on our list of questions to ask before signing a lease.

 

Question #3

How can the lease agreement be terminated?

 

When entering into the contract, the last thing you are probably thinking about is canceling your lease agreement. However, the fact of the matter is your situation may change and it is important to outline the process for early termination. Most property management companies in Salt Lake City do have policies for that and will offer an early termination option. Whether or not your property management company has an early termination policy is an extremely important thing to ask a before signing a lease. You will want to confirm what steps you would need to take to be able to cancel your lease.

We hope that you never are in a situation where you enter into a lease agreement before receiving all of the important information. It is better to ask a lot of questions and be comfortable with the decision than sign a contract and regret it later. Hopefully, you will keep this list of questions to ask before signing a lease in mind the next time you are looking to move into a new residence.

 

If you are a tenant that is interested in renting a home in Salt Lake City, please consider renting from Wolfnest Real Estate and Property Management. Search our available rental properties by clicking here

 

Beware of Salt Lake City rental property scams

Beware of Salt Lake City rental property scams

How to Protect Yourself from Rental Fraud in Salt Lake City

 

If you have ever been in the unfortunate position of being scammed while searching for a Salt Lake City rental property, you know how heartbreaking it can be. If you haven’t experienced this, you might be wondering – how does someone get scammed during a search for rental property? Typically, a scammer will use a method of fraudulence called phishing. Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to gather sensitive information by posing as an authoritative source. The scammer often does this by advertising a property for rent posing as an individual owner or property manager of the rental. When a renter reaches out about the property, they will receive an automated response with generic information about the property. The scammer will then request a security deposit in order to secure the rental. Once the deposit has been transferred, the scammer will discontinue all forms of communication completing the rental scam. According to a consumer alert about phony online rental ads from the FBI, millions of dollars have been lost annually through this type of fraudulent phishing. Here are a few things to look out for when looking at a potential rental property:

 

Limited or Lack of Communication

 

 1.)  One warning sign that you’re experiencing a rental scam is limited, suspicious communication. If a rental property listing does not provide a phone number, it may be a scammer located overseas. Most phishing scammers will use email as their main form of communication. This email correspondence may include broken English and unusual use of descriptors (i.e. referring to the property as a flat instead of a house or apartment). Look through the listing for red flags like a large number of spelling errors or suspicious use of capital letters.

2.) Because many scammers are sourced in a different country, check the times in which the emails were sent. If the emails were sent during strange hours, it may be an indicator that they’re sourced in a different time zone.

3.) Additionally, you should always be able to speak with the landlord or a property manager in person or over the phone before signing, providing secure information, or sending a security deposit. If you suspect that the person you are speaking with is not who they say they are or seem too eager about receiving a deposit before a property viewing, it is always better to walk away from a situation than be scammed out of thousands of dollars.

 

Suspiciously Low Pricing

 

You may have heard the old saying, “If it is too good to be true, it probably is.” In order to generate a significant amount of interest, scammers will typically list the rental rate much lower than market value. Check other listings in the area to see if there is a substantial difference in price. You can also check your areas median price range to see how it compares. If the advertised price is much lower than properties listed by other landlords or property managers, this should be considered a big red flag of rental fraud.

 

Lack of Address or Pictures

 

If you are viewing a rental listing and it has a lack of address or pictures, it is likely that the listing is a scam. Always be sure to have a complete understanding of what the property looks like and where it is before committing to any agreements or deposits. If there is an image of the outside of the property, be sure to confirm that it is correct through a quick google street view search. A lack of images doesn’t always indicate a fraudulent listing, but if you are unable to view the property in person or receive images upon request, there is a good chance you are looking at a rental scam.

 

Suspicious Security Deposit Requests

 

Many landlords or property managers in Salt Lake City will require the security deposit upfront before entering into a lease agreement, however, you should always have the opportunity to view the rental property before providing this. Additionally, if you are being asked to wire money before speaking to the property manager or are not asked to enter into a deposit agreement, you should consider this a major red flag. It is always important to have a conversation about the specifics of your rental deposit and have a clear understanding of where the money is going and who it is going to. Consider doing some research on the property owner before committing to any agreement or deposit. A quick google search will often yield plenty of information about other properties they may own or experiences others have had. According to a government report on housing scams, “do a search on the owner, real estate management company, and listing. If you find the same ad listed under a different name, that’s a clue it may be a scam.”

 

Hopefully, you never have to be in a situation in which you are targeted by a rental property scam. But if you are, it is important to remember these red flags. If the correspondence seems suspicious or makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to question the individual. As the property owner or manager, they should be more than happy to answer any specific question you might have. If you still aren’t sure, it is always better to walk away from a situation rather than risk the chance of rental fraud. If you suspect you are the target of a scam or have already experienced a scam, be sure to report your experience to your state consumer protection or attorney general’s office, and to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to help stop the problem.

 

If you are searching for a rental property in Salt Lake City consider Wolfnest Real Estate & Property Management. We strive to provide excellent customer service through integrity and honesty.