Thank you for choosing Management Specialists to manage your investment property. We are aware that you had many choices and we appreciate that you have selected us as your property management company.
Management Specialists works to achieve the highest professionalism in Real Estate Property Management Services. Therefore, we have prepared the Management Specialists Owner Manual to assist you in a successful business relationship with our company. We urge you to take the time to review the information enclosed. We feel this will further clarify many of the procedures for our Property Management services. After reading the material, if you have questions or concerns, please contact your management team immediately using the company contact information provided in the following pages.
Special note: The information provided in the Management Specialists Owner Manual is subject to change. Landlord/Tenant laws, personnel, policies and procedures change accordingly with events that take place. Management Specialists works diligently and continually to improve services and personnel training as well as remaining current with all landlord/tenant legislation.
All relationships are established by written agreement between you and Management Specialists or companies acquired by Management Specialists. All terms, conditions and provisions outlined in this handbook are subject to change or withdrawal at any time without notice. You should look solely to your individual property management services agreement for actual services rendered. For the most up to date version of this handbook, check our website at MgtSpec.com.
Once again, thank you for choosing Management Specialists as your Property Management Company. We look forward to a successful business relationship.
A copy of your Management Agreement is included with the Management Specialists Owner Manual. Refer to it as needed and keep it with this information for a handy reference.
It is important that Management Specialists receive all critical information as we begin management. You may have completed the documents listed below. If not, we need you to fill them out and return to our office as soon as possible.
This information enables Management Specialists to set up your account.
Electronic Banking Authorization – ACH form
This form enables Management Specialists to send your funds directly to your bank.
This form requests the insurance company to issue a copy of your property insurance to Management Specialists and name Management Specialists as “additional insured” on your policy. Please send this directly to the insurance company and forward a copy of your request to Management Specialists.
Change of Owner Information
Notify Management Specialists of any important change when it happens – add Management Specialists’, address, telephone, fax, email, etc.
Management Specialists, Inc.
Management Specialists is a real estate company specializing in rentals and property management and operates in Martin and St. Lucie Counties, Florida. The company has been operating since 1989 and is actively involved in the Treasure Coast community.
Why Choose Us?
Because our people make the difference:
- Results – Qualified leasing consultants and property inspectors
- Detailed Records – Written reports and digital pictures
- Guaranteed Savings – Superior tenant screening
- Protection – Attorney prepared leases
- Accuracy – Computerized accounting
- The most qualified Broker/Property Manager on the Treasure Coast.
- We work for the owners only.
- Comprehensive internet advertising.
- Active members of NARPM & IREM.
- Our services are tax deductible – you can have us do the work for you and deduct it from your taxes OR you can do it yourself and get no deduction.
- We save you time, money and aggravation in dealing with your rental property.
Real Estate Services
Management Specialists Mission Statement
Our mission as the most qualified Property Management firm on the Treasure Coast is to demonstrate integrity and professionalism by providing quality service for our clients in Martin and St. Lucie communities.
Management Specialists Principal / Broker
The owner/principal of Management Specialists is Jeffrey B. Miller. He is the broker of Management Specialists and has over a decade of experience in the real estate industry. Jeff provides the guidance and direction of Management Specialists. He personally oversees all contracts, policies, and procedures and works to educate his personnel to provide excellent service to our clients.
Management Specialists Communication
Communication is key to the success of any relationship and the Management Specialists /Owner relationship is certainly not an exception. We work constantly to improve communications with all of our clients or prospective clients. This includes everyone – owners, tenants, applicants, vendors, buyers, sellers, investors and the public.
On the next page you will find all general office information such as address, telephone numbers, email address, website, and office hours.
Management Specialists personnel communicate by:
- Written correspondence
Management Specialists Website
Management Specialists stays current with business technology. The Management Specialists website MgtSpec.com and Facebook have proven to be a tremendous asset. Here are a few of the benefits for clients on our website or Facebook page:
Prospective tenants can search MgtSpec.com site for available rentals, review our application, criteria selection, sample lease and make application online.
- Tenants can pay their rent and access important information such as a work order request, or send Management Specialists an email from the site.
- Prospective and current owners can go online at MgtSpec.com and search our website for basic information or monthly owner statements.
- Owners can also obtain the most recent copy of the Owner’s Manual.
General Office Information
St. Lucie County
|2355 SE Seafury Lane
Port St. Lucie, FL 34952
|Toll Free # 877-665-5505|
|Monday – Friday||9:00 AM – 5:00 PM|
|Saturday||By appointment only|
|After Hours Emergency Information|
|Call 772-380-9011 choose emergency option|
Management Specialists Staff/Personnel
We have a complete staff to assist you. What Management Specialists has found effective for servicing owners is “Teamwork.” Together, Everyone Achieves MORE! There is a convenient chart of the teams and their contact information below.
- Management Team: Management Specialists has Portfolio management for each owner account consisting of a Property Manager/Leasing Agent and Client Service/Maintenance Manager. They focus on showing your property, processing applications, renting, inspecting and maintenance. They manage all the many facets of tenancy, handle the details when the tenant moves in and make sure your property is being maintained.
- Office Team: The office team supports all Management Specialists Personnel and Management. They handle the everyday business of telephones, taking messages, accepting applications, handling office details, preparing documents and coordinating with your management team.
- Team Philosophy: Management Specialists strives to recruit discerning clients interested in a top notch management team to handle all aspects of their investment property and expect and desire quality tenants. We are available to assist you with other Real Estate needs as well. We have a list of preferred licensed and experienced Real Estate agents to suit your every need. There is no obligation when you ask for information about purchasing a new investment property or have questions about available financing. If your tenant wants to buy your investment property, we are available to negotiate and handle that sale for you, thus saving the normal expense that goes with advertising and marketing your property for sale.
- Broker: The Management Specialists Broker, Jeffrey B. Miller, has over a decade of experience in the real estate industry and personally oversees all aspects of the business. He has his Bachelors degree in real estate and has successfully sold over 250 local properties. He actively manages hundreds of local residential and commercial properties.
MANAGEMENT SPECIALISTS PERSONNEL
At management specialists we have a complete staff to assist you. They concentrate on assisting you with all the details of your tenancy. Please contact them to answer you questions.
YOUR PROPERTY MANAGER IS:________________________________________
Communication works both ways. We need communication from you, the owner. It is important that you let us know of any significant change that can affect your account. Management Specialists needs to know when you are moving, if you have a problem with your account, if your social security number has changed to a Tax ID number, or any other important information. It is also vital that we be made aware of any changes to your contact information, including home and/or work phone numbers, cell numbers, email addresses, etc. To communicate any changes to us, we ask that you simply email us at info@MgtSpec.com
Management Specialists encourages all owners to use email to contact us. It is both fast and effective. Please supply us with your email address on all Management Specialists forms so that we may enter it into our database.
Special note: When using email, we request that you put the “property address” in the subject line. With the problems of spam, worms, viruses, trojans and more in the Internet world, this helps us identify the importance of your message and avoids oversights or accidental deletions of messages.
Owner Vacation Notice
Management Specialists respectfully requests that owners notify Management Specialists of vacations that are two weeks and over. Another alternative is to inform us of your Emergency contact instructions listed on the Owner Information Form. The purpose in asking for this information is only so that Management Specialists is prepared in the event of an emergency repair or major problem concerning the owner’s property and/or tenant. Please provide us with your temporary contact information via email and/or who we should contact if we should have an emergency at your investment property.
A successful business relationship works both ways. Management Specialists takes its management responsibilities seriously and requests owners do the same.
- Notify Management Specialists of any ownership change or eminent ownership change for the managed property.
- Supply Management Specialists with accurate information so we can service the management account properly.
- Review statements monthly and notify Management Specialists as soon as possible of any discrepancies.
- Since payments are deposited by ACH, check your statement monthly for accurate or missing deposits and immediately notify Management Specialists if there are problems.
- Support Fair Housing laws and guidelines as well as all necessary legislation.
- Maintain a current insurance policy for the managed property.
- Review the property insurance policy yearly and update as needed.
- Exercise responsibility for required maintenance and the safety of your tenants.
- Treat our personnel with courtesy and notify Management Specialists principals if there are problems with our personnel so they can be resolved quickly.
The Scope of Property Management
What is included in Management Specialists Property Management Services?
We want you to know what Management Specialists does for you as your property management company. Therefore, Management Specialists has outlined details on our policies and procedures in future pages of this manual. There are so many details and aspects of managing property that we can only include the basics in this manual. If you have more questions, please contact your management team.
Again, these are general guidelines and, when necessary, policies will change. Please bear in mind that we are unable to do “everything” that is required to service a property under our normal management fees.
What is Not Included in Management Specialists Property Management Services?
Because Management Specialists provides owners with full service, it can be easy to request something that we cannot perform. Some tasks go beyond the normal scope of property management or require additional fees/services (see below). There are also areas licensed real estate agents dare not tread unless they have obtained the proper licensing or degrees. We ask that you remember this when making a request and review the following paragraph that was included in your Management Agreement:
Owner understands and agrees that normal Property Management does not include providing on-site management services, property sales, refinancing, preparing property for sale or refinancing, modernization, fire or major damage restoration, obtaining or giving income tax, accounting, or legal advice, representation before public agencies, advising on proposed new construction, debt collection, counseling or attending Homeowner Association meetings.
If you have any questions on what is included or not included in property management, please let us know.
It is very important in the field of Property Management, that Management Specialists follow Federal, State and local legislation and guidelines. Our company takes pride in our industry and we further implement guidelines and policies of several organizations such as the Institute of Real Estate Management, IREM®, National Association of Residential Property Managers, NARPM®, and The National Association of Realtors. Additionally, we train all personnel by requiring them to read and follow the Management Specialists Property Management Policy and Procedures Manual and Management Specialists Employee Manual.
Florida Real Estate Commission Requirements
The Florida Real Estate Commission requires licensing only for persons conducting Real Estate Sales and Leasing in our state. Management Specialists requires all personnel that are Brokers, Property Managers and Leasing Agents to have a Florida Real Estate license.
Code of Ethics
Management Specialists follows the Code of Ethics outlined by IREM® and NARPM®. Management Specialists considers this a top priority in conducting business and it is required of all of our personnel.
Communication Between Owners & Tenants
Occasionally one of your Owners will contact our office with a desire to speak directly with the tenant. This is highly discouraged. First, the Owner must understand that we cannot give out personal information without the Tenant’s written permission. Some of the Tenants who rent from a professional property management company do so because of bad experiences they have had in the past and they do NOT wish to speak with an owner. The second reason is that there is a huge potential for a property manager to get caught in the middle of a “he said/she said” situation. Owners will swear that they DID NOT tell the Tenant that it was okay to do something (usually against the lease term) but a Tenant will swear that the Owner DID give them permission. That type of scenario can only lead to a bad result, someone being upset and the Property Manager being ineffective. You hired Management Specialists to provide you with professional Property and Tenant management and any communication by an Owner or a Tenant should be directed through your Property Manager.
Management Specialists has a drug-free policy for all personnel, vendors, and tenants. Management Specialists incorporates this policy into its rental/lease agreements as well as tenant, personnel, and vendor documentation.
Management Specialists adheres to the laws and guidelines of federal, state, and local legislation, and incorporates this into all documentation, policies, and procedures. Here are some of the agencies and acts Management Specialists follows:
- Fair Housing (HUD) – Management Specialists supports and follows Fair Housing laws and guidelines; the Management Specialists office displays Fair Housing signage.
- Equal Opportunity – Management Specialists is an Equal Opportunity employer; the Management Specialists office displays Equal Opportunity signage.
- Serviceman’s Civil Relief Act, (SCRA), which has replaced the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Act of 1940
- Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act – URLTA
- Fair Credit Reporting Act – FCRA
- Environment Protection Agency – EPA
- Florida Landlord Tenant Statute 83
Lead-based paint became a major issue in the 1990s and has prompted mandatory requirements for residential housing that continues today. Management Specialists follows all mandated federal and state guidelines for lead-based paint. All properties built prior to January 1, 1978; require disclosures to all tenants and owners. Tenants sign lead-based paint disclosures prior to renting a property and Management Specialists provides them with the required EPA Pamphlet, Protect Your Family from Lead in the Home. Management Specialists then forwards the required disclosure to owners for signature.
Property Owners and/or Property Managers must also notify tenants, in writing, of any scheduled work necessary for lead-based paint on the property.
Management Specialists regards mold issues as a top priority in property management. Owners should be aware that mold is another leading issue in the property management industry and failure to act if a tenant reports or discovers mold can lead to costly lawsuits. Several cases regarding mold have awarded damages to tenants in the millions of dollars.
This is an area of extreme liability and Management Specialists takes immediate action if a tenant reports mold. Management Specialists notifies owners as soon as practical of any mold issues so Management Specialists and/or the property owner can take the proper steps.
Another area of great concern to Management Specialists are issues involving Chinese Drywall. In the past few years this has become a top priority in property management. Owners should be aware that Chinese drywall is another leading liability issue in the property management industry and failure to act if a tenant reports or discovers Chinese drywall can lead to costly lawsuits. Management Specialists remains focused on keeping you informed on the latest information as it becomes available.
Answers Regarding Funds
When you entered into a management agreement, Management Specialists established an account for you and your property. Management Specialists recognizes the importance of accurately collecting and disbursing funds. The bookkeeping program used by Management Specialists is specialized software designed to handle the many facets of property management and accurate record keeping and complies with the requirements of the Florida Real Estate Commission.
Management Specialists holds your account in a trust fund mandated by the state of Florida. This account does not earn interest. Management Specialists accounts for each owner’s funds separately in the trust account and does not co-mingle funds with other owners or broker monies, following the Florida Real Estate Commission requirements.
Management Specialists sends monthly statements to owners, via email. If you have difficulty reading or understanding your monthly statement, please contact your management team. We are happy to assist you and answer your questions.
Disbursement of Monthly Funds
Management Specialists disburses available funds to owners on the 15th of each month. If this day falls on a holiday or weekend, Management Specialists issues funds on the next business day. Management Specialists does not disburse funds on weekends and holidays. Management Specialists does NOT issue owner payments unless there are sufficient funds in the owner’s account. Management Specialists accurately posts rents, pays vendors and disburses funds from your account. Therefore, it is vital that Management Specialists adheres to this schedule to ensure proper servicing of every owner’s account.
Distribution of Owner Funds
Owner funds are deposited directly into the owners account via ACH direct deposit. Management Specialists emails monthly statements to owners. A form to start ACH was provided by your Property Manager and is always available upon request.
End of Year Procedures
At the end of each year, Management Specialists is required to file 1099’s for income received over $600. Please note that this amount is for “total income received,” and not the yearly total of owner disbursements. The Internal Revenue Service dictates the “total income received” requirement. Please note that security deposits are not included in this amount.
It is necessary that you supply Management Specialists with your Social Security/Tax ID information, as required by law, so the 1099 is accurate. Management Specialists will send the 1099 for the rent by January 31st for the previous tax year. If there is a change in your tax information such as a new trust or address, please notify us in writing by email or by letter. If you have any questions, please notify us.
Management Specialists also issues 1099s for disbursements to vendors for work over $600.00. Therefore, owners do not have to issue 1099s for work completed and paid through the Management Specialists trust account. Owners are responsible for issuing 1099s to any vendor paid through the owner’s personal account.
The last statement of the year will reflect “total amounts” for income and expenses that have transpired throughout the year such as management fees, leasing fees, landscape, utilities, repairs and maintenance, etc. Owners can submit this year end statement from Management Specialists to their tax person along with other information for income tax reporting. Management Specialists does not issue statements to the owner’s tax preparers.
Renting Your Property
Preparing to Rent the Property
When prospective tenants view your vacancy, Management Specialists wants the property to look its best and compete with area rentals. A property maintenance report and rental market survey is completed. The Management Specialists management team will contact you to discuss the details of your vacant property and any necessary maintenance. We only market our properties as rent ready in order to maximize your properties long term value and income.
Setting the Rent
Supply and demand determines rent. If there are multiple rentals available in the area of your property, it is necessary to be very competitive. If very few are “for rent” in the same area, it can make it easier to rent the property. Markets change and Management Specialists advises owners on the “current rental market.” Remember every month your property is vacate is a larger loss over the year.
How long will the property be vacant?
This is the most commonly asked question Management Specialists receives from owners. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how long a property will remain on the market, even in the best market conditions. However, Management Specialists works diligently to rent the property as quickly as possible. What is important to remember is that the most important objective is to have “a quality tenant.”
Management Specialists, or any other property management company, can rent properties “quickly” if they do not have standards for obtaining good tenancy. However, bad tenants will only create more expense and another unwanted vacancy; therefore, waiting for the “right tenant” is worth the additional time it can take to rent the property.
Management Specialists has found that the Internet and our website MgtSpec.com receive tremendous exposure. In addition, we regularly advertise in many of the national rental property websites such as www.Zillow.com and www.Trulia.com, just to name a few.
Management Specialists displays “For Rent” signs prominently, when possible. Signs promote calls. Our Leasing Agents are available to make appointments to show property during business hours or by appointment to accommodate the potential qualified tenant.
Management Specialists no longer finds that is effective to advertise in newspapers as this is not the best way to reach most of the current target market.
Showings and Applications
Management Specialists Leasing Agents conduct showings for each vacant unit. We arrange showing times for your property in advance.
When prospective tenants see the property, the management team answers questions and distributes applications. Applications are available in the Management Specialists office, at the property showings and on MgtSpec.com
Processing Tenant Applications
Thorough screening is crucial to successful Property Management. Management Specialists requires all applicants to fill out a detailed application and submit it for processing and approval. A credit check is NOT enough! Our company conducts a careful review of their credit, income and tenant history or ownership. We also conduct a national criminal background check, address background checks, terrorist (OFAC) check as well as national predator check.
All applicants must submit verifiable information on their income to show they can support the property. Rental history or previous home ownership is carefully checked. Cross-referencing all three areas – credit, tenant history and income – provides the answers to qualify or disqualify prospective applicants .If a pet is allowed on the property, the screening includes the pet (please review the Management Specialists pet suggestions below). Also, check out our website to review our most up to date list of tenant criteria.
Management Specialists normally does not accept cosigners. Management Specialists policy is that the applicants should have the ability to rent on their own merits. However, sometimes there are conditions that may warrant taking a cosigner on a property. If this is the case, Management Specialists will notify the owner, discuss the reasons and obtain owner authorization first.
Management Specialists does not use the term “pet deposit.” By avoiding this terminology, Management Specialists can apply the amount of the entire security deposit to cover any damage caused by an animal/pet. It is the policy of Management Specialists to charge a pet application fee which we use to process and document the pet, veterinarian history, and any additional related information. This fee is our own income we earn form tenants.
Many tenants have or want pets. It is legal for property owners to discriminate against pets. You may wish to do so. However, whether you have or have not decided to allow a pet in your property, the Management Specialists application has a place for prospective tenants to list pets and how many. It is important NOT to discourage full disclosure on pets while taking an application. If you do allow a pet, Management Specialists does not place inappropriate pets in a property. The following dog breeds are not allowed due to insurance purposes: Pit-bull, German Shepard, Rottweiler, Doberman and Chow.
Management Specialists recommends to owners that when the property is on the market, pets be listed as “negotiable.” This can solve two problems.
- First, this encourages prospective applicants to disclose any pets. Then, based on the owner preference on pets, Management Specialists can automatically notify the applicant that the owner does not allow a certain pet. An example might be a 50 pound dog and an owner has stipulated nothing larger than 30 pounds.
- Second, by listing pets as negotiable, it avoids eliminating an excellent tenant that does care for their pet, has an excellent tenant history, and owns a pet that is suitable to your property.
Special note: “Service animals” for handicapped/disabled persons are NOT pets by Federal law and owners cannot discriminate against handicapped/disabled persons with a service animal. Fair Housing legislation does NOT allow owners or property managers to collect deposits of any kind for service animals.
However, Landlords can still process applicants who are handicapped or disabled on the same criteria as other applicants: income, credit, and tenant history. If they fail to qualify in these areas, the landlord/manager can still deny the application, handicapped or not.
The Tenant Move In
Rent and Security Deposits
Management Specialists does not accept personal checks prior to renting the property and does not allow “payments” on security deposits – we require that all funds be paid in full prior to renting the property. This eliminates prospective tenants who really do NOT have the necessary funds for renting.
Once approved, all applicants must pay in full the first month’s rent and a security deposit in certified funds. It is normally Management Specialists policy to require a security deposit equal to 1 month’s rent. However, Management Specialists does not exceed the maximum-security deposit allowed by Florida landlord/tenant laws.
Once Management Specialists receives funds, a thorough rental/lease agreement is prepared by an attorney and completed with the tenant. There are mold and maintenance addendums and other necessary addendums included with this lease agreement.
All persons 18 and over, including adult children who are not students, are required to read and sign all rental/lease agreements. If the accepted applicants are of foreign nationality and cannot read and understand the documentation, they must supply an interpreter of legal age for signing the rental/lease agreements.
A vital part of the rental agreement is a detailed walk-though addendum, documenting the condition of the property upon move in. Unless extenuating circumstances prevail, the Management Specialists team completes the walk-through before the tenant takes possession of the property. Digital pictures are taken of any defects discovered during the walk-through and are also taken to document the current conditions at move-in. When the tenant moves out of the property, there is a sound basis for the security deposit refund procedure.
Tenants immediately receive the “Management Specialists Tenant Handbook.” This detailed booklet gives them additional information on how to care for the property, report repairs, maintain the property, make timely payments, give proper notice to vacate, leave the property in good condition and more.
Tenant Education and Preparation
Taking the time to prepare tenants for their residency is another step toward a successful tenant/landlord relationship. Additional forms that the tenants may need are included with the “Management Specialists Tenant Handbook.” Management Specialists wants both owners and tenants well informed.
Working with Your Tenants
Rents are due on the 1st day of the month and late if not received in the Management Specialists office before the 5th of the month.
Management Specialists recognizes that many things can happen where it concerns rent; rent can really be lost “in the mail”; employers can delay the tenant’s paycheck, there are real tenant emergencies, and more. Therefore, we make a serious effort to determine why the tenant is having a problem. If Management Specialists receives the rent prior to issuing owner funds, Management Specialists does not contact the owner unless the Management Specialists management team determines there is an ongoing rent issue.
Notice to Pay or Quit
If Management Specialists does not receive rent by the due date, Management Specialists prepares and delivers a timely notice to pay or quit, as the law allows. Management Specialists hires a process server to post notices properly should legal action be required. If Management Specialists determines the tenant is not going to pay the rent during the “notice to pay or quit” period, or shortly thereafter, Management Specialists will attempt to work out a plan of action with the tenant or ask the court for a summary judgment. At this time, Management Specialists will contact the owner and make a recommendation on how to proceed. We incur the costs to post late notices and all late notices are retained by Management Specialists.
There are other notices that may involve tenants. Management Specialists serves notices as situations warrant, such as a notice to clean up the landscape, a notice to enter the property, a notice to perform survey/inspections, a notice regarding an illegal pet, illegal tenants, etc. These tenant violations may be in the form of a letter or a Legal Notice “form.” Often, these notices are simply to correct minor tenant problems and most tenants comply. However, if necessary, Management Specialists contacts the owner with the information to discuss the situation.
Management Specialists has decades of experience handling the myriad of tenant difficulties that can occur. The Management Specialists policy is to obtain good tenants, eliminating many tenant problems. However, even good tenants have problems. Management Specialists treats each problem with a common sense approach, follows landlord/tenant law and uses the appropriate documentation. If the situation is serious, Management Specialists contacts the owner and works to find a solution for the problem.
Our company policy is to take a “what if” approach. Management Specialists documents tenant problems in the event that it becomes a legal problem. One of the reasons you hired us as your professional property manager is for “peace of mind.” This is what Management Specialists recognizes and works to prevent legal issues from arising.
Although Management Specialists works diligently to avoid the necessity to begin an action such as an eviction proceeding, it can happen. In the event any legal action is required, Management Specialists will contact the owner prior to taking action, discuss what is needed, obtain owner’s written authorization, and discuss the potential options and costs associated with this.
The best approach to maintenance is “preventative maintenance,” and this is the Management Specialists policy.
First, Management Specialists has already started with educating the tenant by:
- Completing a detailed lease agreement, which includes the mold and maintenance addendum that outlines what are tenant responsibilities regarding maintenance as well as owner obligations
- Completing a walk-through documenting the condition of the property before the tenant takes possession
- Supplying tenants with the “Management Specialists Tenant Handbook,” which provides additional instructions on the care of the property and how and when to report maintenance
We want the tenant to know from the beginning of their tenancy what the Management Specialists /Landlord expectations are to “care for the property.” This approach can prevent costly maintenance.
Second, Management Specialists uses “preventative maintenance” techniques when work is required and utilizes competent contractors. Often the minor expenditures save the most money such as doorstops, new filters, checking appliances, testing smoke alarms, caulking, adjusting doors, window latches, deadbolts and more. Many small repair items can prevent maintenance that is more expensive if left undone.
Consider the cost of repairs like holes behind doors, clogged heaters and air-conditioners, appliance problems, dry rot, safety issues and more. Then of course, there are the major issues in a home such as the roof, the exterior condition of the building, carpeting, interior, and exterior paint, etc. When left to deteriorate, it usually means the owner will have to spend more in the future and lose potential income. Unkempt properties lease for less and stay vacant longer.
It is equally important to keep up with maintenance while the tenant occupies the property. Often people think no news is good news; this can be just the opposite. Instead, “delayed news can become very bad news.”
This is why, in our tenant instructions, we require tenants to report maintenance issues. For example, what is worse than finding out that dry rot could have been prevented or discoloration of the linoleum, if the tenant had reported the leaking toilet in the bathroom? Avoiding major maintenance costs are certainly more favorable in such cases. This is also why we do annual inspections during the lease year to ensure your property is ok.
The Management Specialists management teams contact owners regarding maintenance issues exceeding the $250 maximum that is listed in the Management Specialists Management Agreement, unless the situation is an emergency.
When an emergency and/or disaster strikes, Management Specialists has policies in place for the property and tenants. Management Specialists notifies the property owner as soon as practical. The nature of the emergency and/or disaster determines the action needed by Management Specialists.
There are times when a property manager must “act” in order to prevent great financial risk to the owner. For example, when a property is flooding, action is necessary, particularly if the property owner is not immediately available. We also work directly with your insurance company immediately as needed.
When The Tenant Vacates
Notice to Vacate
When there is a notice to vacate, the move out procedures with the tenant is as critical as when Management Specialists moves in a tenant. The preparation for this really began when the tenant moved in and was given a detailed rental agreement, maintenance addendum, walk-through, and Management Specialists Tenant Handbook. All of these documents gave instructions to the tenant on how to move out. In addition, Management Specialists sends a detailed letter to the tenant with instructions on how to clean and leave the property, how to turn in keys and informs them that they must sign a document giving back possession of the property.
Communication with Owners and Tenants
Management Specialists notifies the owner in writing giving details on how we will proceed with the tenant and re-renting the property. Management Specialists immediately places the property on the market to rent unless the owner notifies Management Specialists to take other measures.
Management Specialists also responds to the tenant notice with a detailed letter detailing the steps to complete a successful move out. Rent is required until the end of the notice unless otherwise stated in the rental/lease agreement.
Management Specialists conducts a walk-through similar to the one performed when the tenant moved into the property. Management Specialists records any maintenance required and discloses a list of damages to the vacating tenant as per Florida Statute. Digital photographs are taken when the tenant moves out to document the condition of the property and support any deductions from the security deposit.
After assessment of the tenant move out, Management Specialists advises owners of any tenant damages or any maintenance required to re-rent the property.
Proper handling of the security deposit refund is crucial. Any tenant deductions are determined in a timely manner and a security deposit transmittal is prepared in accordance with state laws. Under Florida law, a security deposit must be returned within 15 days if there are no claims against it. If there is a claim, notice must be provided within 30 days. Also under Florida law, the security deposit may only be disbursed once. It is the policy of Management Specialists to pay for any repairs and refund the balance to the tenant with a detailed statement within the 30-day time frame. Owners receive a copy of the transmittal with their monthly statement, showing the deductions and monies refunded.
If collecting damages is required, Management Specialists may refer the matter to a qualified consumer collection service at the instruction and authorization of the owner. Management Specialists management does not include recovering tenant damages, but leaves this to companies with expertise in debt collection. Management Specialists will supply consumer collection companies with the necessary documentation needed.
Do you know someone who is looking for management services in Martin or St. Lucie County? If so, then notify your Property Manager. Management Specialists values their client business and believes referrals from satisfied clients is the highest compliment we can receive.
Additional Consulting Services
We are available to provide assistance when buying more investment property or selling your property to your tenant when that is the case.
The following are “additional services” offered by Management Specialists to each property owner. They are not included in the fees for managing and/or leasing the property.
Management Specialists maintains properties as part of their property management services and conducts an annual survey of the property condition as part of the normal course of business. If an Additional survey/inspection is required by an Owner’s insurance company or other entity, Management Specialists would have a licensed contractor perform this survey/inspection. There would be an extra cost associated with this service.
Supervision of Maintenance
Management Specialists charges a flat fee or percentage for supervising work requiring maintenance, outside of the day to day management of the tenant, the definition of which is as follows:
*Management Specialists defines maintenance as any rehabilitation work; work that exceeds what is covered under the home warranty services program and/or work required for insurance claims and major systems replacements. (Examples are roof replacement, major tree work, exterior painting, vandalism, insurance claims, etc.)
The Management Specialists policy is to consult licensed, insured contractors for bids and solutions. Then Management Specialists contacts the property owner for authorization and/or decision regarding any major work.
Cancellation of Management
It is the goal of Management Specialists to satisfy your management needs and engage in a successful business relationship, but all things do change over time. Owners sell properties and tenants give notices. If this happens, the Management Specialists cancellation policy is to resolve your account in a professional, timely, and pleasant manner. Please review the following policies for cancellation.
Written Notice –
- The Management Specialists management contract accepts a 30 day written notice by either party, but this excludes the minimum management period. Please refer to your management contract for a full description of the fees that would be charged while a property is occupied.
- Management Specialists policy is to give cancellation of management by US Mail or Fax.
- If an owner sends a cancellation of management by US mail, Management Specialists must receive the notice within 3 business days of the date of the notice.
- Cancellations must be signed by all owners of record.
- If management is canceled and the tenant remains, there will be a 5% fee charged to the owner.
Notice to Current Tenants
- Management Specialists will notify current tenants of the date Management Specialists will no longer manage the property and obtain written authorization from the tenant to forward all security deposits to the owner or owner’s new management company.
- It is the owner’s responsibility to advise tenants where to make future rental payments and work requests after the notice period.
Distribution of Documents
- Management Specialists will supply current tenant documentation to the owner.
- If the owner has employed new management, it is the owner’s responsibility to instruct them to pick up documents, keys, and any other necessary materials at the Management Specialists office.
Final Distribution of Funds
- Management Specialists will distribute funds, including security deposits, and final statements to the owner within 3 business days of the terminating date of management, or at the end of the lease term, as agreed in the management contract
- Management Specialists will issue a 1099 for funds collected during the current tax year when the tax year ends.