Clarification of Certain Paragraphs within Your Lease
This is a challenging time for so many. Virtually everyone has felt the affects of this economy, and we have often found ourselves to be in a no-win situation with our tenants and property owners. As a professional Property Management Company, we have a Fiduciary responsibility to the owners that we represent, and we also have a legal obligation to the tenants in the properties that we manage. That obligation is defined by Texas State Property Code and is clearly spelled out in the Texas Association of REALTOR lease that you signed before moving into the home.
This “no win” situation often arises when a tenant is enduring hardship and requests additional consideration with paying their rent, or when a tenant requests maintenance work that an owner is unable to approve for budgetary reasons, but most often we find ourselves in this situation when reconciling a tenant’s security deposit. The tenant almost always feels that too much was withheld from their deposit and the owner feels that too little was withheld.
Though we make every effort to make sure our new tenants fully understand their Lease during the Lease signing appointment, we believe it is better to over-educate our tenants rather than risk misunderstandings that may not surface in time to effect positive results. To this end, we are providing the following information as further clarification of certain paragraphs within your Lease.
Security Deposit: (page 3 and 4, paragraph 10.D.1)
Landlord may deduct reasonable charges from the security deposit for:
(a) damages to the Property, excluding normal wear and tear, and all reasonable costs associated to repair the Property;
The type of damages that we find are typically charged back against the security deposit include, but are not limited to;
- Damages made to cabinetry, doors, walls, ceilings and floors (including nail holes, knicks and/or holes, stains, mismatched paint touch-up, etc.)
- Broken or damaged blinds or other window coverings
- Broken or damaged light fixture covers, fan blades, pull strings, etc.
- Damaged toilet seats, towel bars or other fixtures
- All other damages that occur due to negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse.
Costs for which Tenant is responsible to clean, deodorize, exterminate, and maintain the Property;
The entire property must be cleaned, both the interior and exterior. This refers to, but is not limited to these items:
- Windows, window sills, blinds and other window coverings
- Appliances (inside and outside), including drip pans to stove top
- Ceiling fans and light fixtures
- A/C vents, including return air
- Bathroom and kitchen sinks, tubs, showers and fixtures
- Driveway, sidewalks, patios and porches
- Removal of all trash, debris, and all other personal property
Carpets must be vacuumed and free of debris. After you have vacated the Property, Wakefield, REALTORS will have the carpets professionally cleaned and deodorized. If you have had a pet during your residency, a pet enzyme treatment will also be performed. The cost of the professional carpet cleaning services will be applied toward your Security Deposit. For general cleaning and deodorization, the rate varies based upon factors such as the number of rooms, stairs, landings, etc., but the total cost will generally average 20 cents per square foot. If carpet is heavily soiled, a scrubber brush method will be required at a rate more comparable to 36 cents per square foot. A pet enzyme treatment will be at an additional cost that will vary based upon the affected areas and whether it is only dander or dander and urine/feces.
Access and Liability: (Page 6, paragraph 14.B)
This paragraph describes that Landlord or anyone authorized by Landlord may enter the property at reasonable times without notice to make repairs; however due to tenant’s liability as defined on page 11 of 15, paragraph 21, it is the policy of Wakefield, REALTORS to not allow a vendor access to an occupied property without the tenant being present, or someone 18 years of age or older who has been authorized by the tenant being present. Therefore, tenant should understand that someone 18 years of age or older must be available to let the vendor who is assigned to perform repairs into the property and remain in the property while the work is being performed.
Property Maintenance: (page 7 and 8, paragraphs 17.A through E)
These paragraphs of the Lease describe the tenant’s responsibility for maintaining the property. The responsibilities are clearly defined and the tenant should become familiar with such.
Tenant should understand that failure to change heating and air conditioning filters at least once a month will impede the performance of the unit, and could result in damage thereof. Tenant is responsible for repairs if tenant fails to change filters monthly and damages result. (Tenant responsibility for HVAC repairs is further described in Attachment A, item C)
Tenant should note that “yard” includes lawns, shrubbery, bushes, flowers, gardens, trees, and all landscaping; and tenant is required to water the yard a minimum of one time per week unless Water Restrictions or rain prohibit. Usually, even when restrictions are in place, hand watering is allowed and must be performed if required to maintain the yard.
It is extremely important that a tenant keep the ground around the foundation of the property watered during intense heat and no rain! If watering restrictions go into effect, a tenant should follow the rules per the various stages of the water restrictions as directed by the water utility company, and use soaker hoses on the designated dates and times, or hand water around the foundation. This should be done a minimum of one time per week. Please remember that settling that occurs as a result of NOT watering, will result in damages charged to tenant at move-out.
Smoking: (Attachment A, paragraph G)
There is absolutely no smoking allowed inside the property.
Repairs: (page 9 and 10, paragraph 18.D2a)
This paragraph explains that Landlord will not pay to repair certain items unless caused by Landlord’s negligence, specifically conditions caused by Tenant, and Occupant, or any guest or invitee of Tenant. This includes the cost of gaining entrance into the property if Tenant becomes locked out of the property for any reason, including, but not limited to loss of key or garage remote, and/or inability to enter the property through the garage due to electrical outage or any other reason. It is recommended that Tenant NOT engage the keyless deadbolts unless Tenant, Occupant, or any guest or invitee of Tenant is inside the property. The keyless deadbolt lock on each exterior door is provided as an extra safety measure for tenants while inside the home; this prevents anyone with key access from entering the property while Tenant is inside.
If tenant should find that there is something that needs to be repaired, tenant must submit the request to us in writing. The only exception to this policy is when tenant has an emergency repair, which can be reported by phone.
Emergency Repairs: Only emergency calls will be handled outside of our regular business hours. Our regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. We have an automated attendant that answers our calls when we are not available to take tenant’s call, or when our offices are closed.
If tenant has an after hours emergency, he/she should call our office at (210) 490-7039 and follow the voice prompts for the emergency mailbox, and we will be paged immediately. Tenant should hear from someone from our office within 30 minutes. IF TENANT DOES NOT HEAR FROM US WITHIN 30 MINUTES, TENANT SHOULD ASSUME THERE WAS A PROBLEM WITH THE EMERGENCY MESSAGE AND CALL US AGAIN.
Emergency repairs are defined as follows:
- FREE FLOWING WATER that cannot be turned off and would result in damage to personal property and the home.
- ELECTRICAL problems that will result in complete loss of power, possible fire, and damage to the home and personal property.
- BACKING UP Of SEWER LINE that may create health hazards.
Other Repairs: Repairs must be submitted in writing (all with the exception of emergencies). When submitting a Repair Request, the problem must be explained in detail and tenant’s current contact information must be included. Tenant may complete a Repair Request online through our website at www.wakefieldrealtors.com, or tenant may complete a Repair Request Form and fax it to us at 210-491-9623 or mail it to our office. Repair Request Forms are enclosed within the Welcome Folder for tenant’s convenience. Additional forms can be obtained through our website, or tenant may request additional forms from our office.
Maintenance problems in the following categories are not considered emergencies and will not be reviewed until the next business day.
- Heat and Air conditioning problems
- No hot water
- Homes with two complete bathrooms- toilet stoppage in one
- Appliances not working properly
Service vendors are not employees of our company and consequently, we do not control their work hours. If tenant requires a special appointment time with a vendor that is outside regular business hours, tenant will be billed the additional amount that exceeds the regular service fee. Please advise us if a vendor does not arrive or if the work is not completed in a professional and satisfactory manner.
Someone over the age of 17 must be available between for work to be performed. Vendors will not enter the property without an authorized adult present.
PLEASE DO NOT ASK A VENDOR TO PERFORM ADDITIONAL WORK BEYOND WHAT WAKEFIELD, REALTORS HAS ISSUED.
If a repair item is determined to be the result of “Negligence”, “Carelessness”, Accident”, or “Abuse”, tenant will be responsible for payment of the services performed. This includes any repair that is required as a result of a break-in or burglary.
Tips for Plumbing
- Do not place pasta or “skins” (potato, cucumber, apple, pear, peach, kiwi, banana, mango, carrot, tomato) into the garbage disposal.
- Never pour any grease down the drain!
- Prevent foreign objects from falling into the garbage disposal; always keep the debris trap over the drain when not in use.
- While running COLD water, cut up a lemon or orange in quarters and toss them in the garbage disposal (Do not include the stem end). This will not only sharpen the blades of the disposal, but will also leave kitchen with a fresh citrus smell.
- Periodically run COLD water through pipes that are not used regularly.
- If a pipe is draining slowly, tenant can use Drano ONLY if there is no garbage disposal.
- If toilet does not flush properly or is about to overflow, reach behind the toilet and cut the water off at the valves to prevent water form spilling onto the floor, and then plunge the toilet. If the toilet does not flush or continues to clog, please report the problem to our office. If toilet begins leaking at the base, turn the water off at the valves and place an old towel around the base to help soak up excess water. Then report the problem to our office.
All improvements to the property require advance approval. If tenant wishes to make improvements to the rental property, tenant must submit a written request to our office prior to taking any action.