Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are you typically looking for to get approved as a tenant?
A: Someone who is going to pay rent on time, and are going to keep the property clean and organized. We are looking for people that are mature, responsible and are going to be good folks to live with adjacent neighbors and be good for the neighborhood they are in, and if they have pets they know how to handle them, clean up after them and also avoid having your pet cause problems for adjacent neighbors.
Q: Do you have a rental application fee?
A: No, we do not charge a fee to apply.
Q: Will you waive the security deposit?
A: Generally we will not waive the security deposit under any circumstances.
Q: Do you run a credit report?
A: Yes, we always run credit reports. We require your social security when you apply to rent. All adults that habitate in the property or move in are required to have credit reports run on them. We make most of our decision based upon your credit report.
Q: What is the lease length?
A: All of our leases are generally timed to have the move out time to be in the springtime. We do not do month-to-month leases with new tenants. We generally do not rent to people who don't intend to stay there for a yar. Usually the lease term is one year with a month to month option to renew. We are generally looking for tenants that are going to be there for 2-3 years or more.
Q: How long will you hold open a property that is advertised for me if I don't want to move in right away?
A: Our properties are first come first serve. The properties we advertise are available for immediate move in unless otherwise specified in the advertisement. If you want to move into a propery 3, 4, 5, 6 months from now on one of the properties that are open, we will not hold a property open for that long. Generally, in the spring, summer and fall they get rented in 30-45 days or less and we will hold them open for a maximum of that time. We only will "hold open" a property if we have a completed and accepted rental agreement, a deposit and a signed lease. We are selective with our tenants, but our properties are far better, larger and cheaper than what is on the market and thus generally go quickly.
Q: What if I have Bad Credit/Problems with my credit?
A: We understand that the economy is tough, but we need renters that are going to pay on time, to make sure we can pay our own bills. The answer to this question, depends on what is "Bad Credit" or "Problems". If you have had unpaid bills that usually means that you need to focus on an inexpensive property to be in and pay off your unpaid bills.
Generally people below 650 - 680 credit score or higher are more likely to be approved. We also pay attention to where you work and how long you have been there. The longer you are at work the better it is for us. We are fine with students but you should have a secure method to cover expenses.
Q: Do you accept section 8 housing vouchers?
A: We do not accept section 8 on any properties presently. I am open for doing so with single people or where elder housing is needed and there is likely to be a long term tenant. Please contact me for more questions.
Q: How much are utilities?
A: This mostly comes down to how much and how often you use utilities, we cannot estimate or provide you an assurance of how much utilities will be. For example if you keep the heat at 77 versus 65 in the winter this will drastically affect your bill. High hot water use and high water use, and high electricity use increase your utility bills. Also it depends on how harsh the winter is as well. We always seek to install energy efficient windows, high efficiency heaters, and also heavily insulate the properties. In general you should budget 10-25% of your rental fee. In general you should budget $100-200 per month for water, gas, and electricity, garbage removal for most properties, averaged through the year.
Q: How long does it take my application to be responded to?
A: If you have filled everything, it should be within 2-5 days. The more information you have provided the quicker we will get back to you with an answer. Also we may collect multiple applications and go with the best oneOften it takes more time to evaluate people if they have some issues with their credit.
Q: Are the washer and dryer shared? Are the washers and dryers coin operated?
A: The washers and dryer is not shared, unless it specifies so on the property. In general all my properties have separated washers and dryers and are not coin operated. You are not allowed to have friends, family or others use our washers and dryers under any circumstance. They are solely for use as you as the tenant.
Q: Do you allow Pets?
A: Here is our pet policies: Depends on the pet, how many, and which property and your credit report. Most of our houses are hardwood or tile. We generally charge extra rent for additional pets. The range is $20-$25 for cats and $25-45 for dogs. We will always have a larger security deposit rent for a tenant who wants pets this is typically $150-300 per pet. There are a lot of people that have pets in our properties that we have no problems with. Smaller animals we are more prone to accepting.
I am sometimes okay with two cats and or a small dog. If you have three dogs and/or a bunch of cats our properties are not for you. If your pets make noise and/or they bother the other tenants or neighbors, then the pet will need to move out, and our property is not for you.
Our leases require the owner to put on and have an electronic bark control collar if you pet makes noise that other tenants or neighbors complain about. If you have a problem with an electronic bark arrestor, and have a dog, then you shoul not rent from us. This is a requirement in our lease if the dog barks. We evict tenants quickly that do not take care of thier pets or when thier pets bother other tenants or neighbors. We do not allow pets to be "moved in" to the property without it already being agreed upon on the lease. If there is a pet that shows up after the property is rented and we haven't agreed in writing in the lease we will immediately terminated and will immediately evict you. If you do have any pets, any pet droppings that are not immediately cleaned up, failure are cause to evict you, and we enforce this strictly... our lawn people do not get paid to pick pet waste. City of Lansing and the other municipalities are extremely strict on this, and will issue citations and tickets associated with any pet droppings. All dogs are required to have dog liscences from the Ingham county. Dogs that get loose that do not have liscences will be collected and may get euthanized by the county. If there is pet waste on the ground we charge $35 to pick it up per dropping if it is in your area of the property. All pet droppings must be picked up immediately after the occurance. Our lawn mowing company will not mow if there are pet droppings. City of Lansing will write tickets for pet droppings to the tenants as well.
Q: Who handles snow shoveling?
A: You are responsible for shoveling the snow for the driveway (with the exception of Chicago St Properties), patios, decks, and sidewalks, including sidewalks in front, and around the house. Please note under Lansing and East Lansing city code you are responsible for making sure the sidewalks in front of your house are clear and walkable and safe, and they should be shoveled soon after it snows. Not having sidewalks that the public uses shoveled can cause a ticket from the city.
Q: Can I paint the rooms in the house?
A: It depends, mostly we only allow this for long term tenants. If you intend to paint the house yourself, we must approve it, all of the floors wood floors have been refinished, and we don't want to mess all that restoration up. Colors or paint brands must be approved by me. The paint brand we standardize upon is Home Depot Behr Ultra Premium. If the colors look weird, I may require additionally deposits to cover expenses to repaint the rooms to something that is more acceptable to most people.
Q: Who handles the lawn care and what about grounds maintenance?
A: Generally we will handle the lawn care, as it pertains to mowing the lawn. Keeping the lawn clean, organized, free of debris, any pet waste, is the tenants responsibility. On the lawn, you may not have exposed garbage, garbage bags, indoor furniture, toys or other messes around. If there is pet waste on the ground we charge $35 to pick it up if it is in your area of the property, and you have pets.
Q: What about government and landlord inspections?
A: Rental housing is required to be inspected by the city, usually at a minimum once per year. Rental Inspectors come by to make sure we (the landlords) are doing our job and are providing a safe property, and also you (the tenants) are conforming with tenant responsibilities, they want the properties to be clean, organized and safe. We work closely with the inspectors to make sure the property conforms with the city code, and have a history of ensuring our property is in excellent condition. We will notify you in advance of the annual rental inspections.
The inspectors also make sure that the tenant conforms with the city code. They are also authorized to "red tag" the property under various circumstances due to tenant violations.
We (the landlord) are allowed to enter the property and inspect your unit and the grounds surrounding as needed to ensure that the property is up to code and to perform maintenance, upgrades and repairs on an as needed basis. Under most circumstances, we will inform you prior to doing so. However in emergencies or certain other circumstances we may enter your living unit without prior notice. However, we will not bother your enjoyment of the property.
Q: Who handles snow shoveling?
A: You are responsible for shoveling the snow for the driveway, patios, decks, and sidewalks, including sidewalks in front, and around the house. Please note under Lansing and East Lansing city code you are responsible for making sure the sidewalks in front of your house are clear and walkable and safe, and they should be shoveled soon after it snows. Not having sidewalks that the public uses shoveled can cause a ticket from the city.
Q: What about utilities?
A: The tenant is responsible for purchasing, and obtaining all utilities necessary for the unit or house they are in. Under the rental code you are required to keep all utilities turned on at all times. If you do not pay your electric, gas, or water bill, the property is considered to be not habitable by the rental code and inspectors, and the unit can be tagged, and you will automatically be evicted by the city.
Not having utilities on, is grounds for immediate eviction by the city or by us, since there is sanitary reasons for hot water, heating, and electrical services. Heat of at least 50 degrees is required at all times to make sure that pipes do not freeze in winter. They inspectors have legal authority to required immediate vacating of the property if the utilities are not on. If there are children in the house and utility are not on, they may call child protective services.
Q: What if I fall behind on my rent?
A: In the event your rent is late, there is a late payment fee that will need to be added, which is defined in your lease. If you are going to be late on rent, for a particular reason, then it is critical that you contact us and and lets us know right away. We will determine what to do about it. If you are consistently having a problem paying your rent on time, then you need to find a less expensive place to live.
If you are consistently late on your rent, or do not communicate with us, we will need to process an eviction. In Lansing eviction takes about 7 days to perform. Our obligation is to provide the property. Your obligation is to pay rent on time. We uphold our end of the bargain and will make sure that things are set right where you live. Without your rent payment we would not be able to afford to provide your or our other tenants a place to live.
Q: How many people can be in the property?
A: This depends on the property and how it is licensed, and the lease that is negotiated. We specify the quantity of people, allowed in the property on each lease. Any adults must be signors on the lease, if they are not signors on the lease, then they are not allowed to stay at the property. You many not have other people (whether adults or children) move into the property after we have agreed upon a lease, without written permission, and without a lease addendum. The lease rate that we agree to is based upon a defined number of occupants and a number of other factors.
Q: Is the neighborhood of XXX property safe? Is the neighborhood of XXX a good neighborhood? What kind of people are in that neighborhood?
A: I often get these questions from people that are not from Lansing Metro area. This is a loaded question and is subjective. It should and can only be answered by you. Safety is largely an item of perception. If you are concerned about safety the best thing to do is to examine the crime statistics in the area that you are looking to live in.
All of the neighborhoods that I purchase houses are getting better and are on a pathway to improvement, however in some instances they are priced lower because the neighborhood has less improved housing. Most of my properties are in Lansing. The Lansing police department, (in my experience), is extremely professional, very prompt and very involved in the community and also tend to treat people of all ethnicities equally when dealing with infractions or investigations.
I would suggest that much of the safety of a community is dependant on a) the people that live there already b) the proclivity of the community members to alert law enforcement of any issues that are going on in the area and c) the efficiency of the local community itself in self-policing. d) the propensity of people in a neighborhood to focus on addressing any issues that are causing an decrease in the quality of life in a geography.
On the rare instances that my tenant have had interactions with law enforcement we have never had any complaints as to law enforcements capabilities or responsiveness. Furthermore the locations where most of my houses are located are between Old Town and the Capitol, and are very close to the Capitol Police, and the State Police Headquarters.
Lansing is a highly efficient community in terms of law enforcement. Like any sizeable city there are better areas and worse areas. If you are looking for a gated community on a cul-de-sac, you need to look at Okemos.
For people not from our area, like many other metropolitan areas Lansing, and for that matter Metro Lansing is highly diverse, and it is uncommon there are areas that are considered to be one ethnic classification or another. Rather unlike many other cities the ethnic distribution is highly varied and integrated and it is very common that people from many different ethnic groups live in the same area. I have travelled to many other cities and provide these comments, so that you understand that Lansing, of any mid-sized community appears to past those classifcations more than most other areas of the country. Expect a wide and diverse group of people wherever you may land in Lansing or the Lansing metro area.
Q: Does property XXX come with air conditioning?
A: If the listing does not say that it does come with air conditioning, it does not.
Q: Can you put in central air into the property.
A: Most of the time we have put in the coils into the heaters. We generally charge more for properties that have air conditioning. If you have been in the property for a while, we can add the air conditioning. There will be an increase in your rent fee of about $35-$50 per month for the properties as we add air conditioning.
Q: Can I put in window air conditioners? Will you pay for them?
A: Yes you may put them in, as long as they are properly installed by you. We do not pay for window air conditioners, they are 100% your responsibility. They must be properly secured and removed upon departure.