Fall marks the return to school, and with a number of colleges, universities and institutions of higher learning here in Northern Virginia, there are plenty of students in our area looking for housing.
As are all property managers, we are prohibited from discriminating against potential renters just because they are students. We do, however, must adhere to laws and policies surrounding rental properties.
One such ruling is the limitation on the number of “families,” or unrelated people living in one dwelling. Although students may desire to split the rent with a group of others for financial reasons, habitation laws limit the number of unrelated persons to three.
When students rent a place together, each occupant of the dwelling is required to submit an application and undergo our strict vetting process. We can only accept applicants who meet our qualifications, and all residents must be named on the lease. Additional residents who are not on the lease are prohibited from living in the property, and discovery of additional tenants can result in termination of the lease.
In addition, students renting from Propman require a personal guarantee from a third-party guarantor. If the student fails to pay the rent, Propman can then require payment from the person who guarantees they will step in.
Properties rented to students are subject to Propman’s periodic inspections, just the same as all of our rental properties, and renters are required to maintain the property. A list of maintenance items and tenant responsibilities is provided at the lease signing.
Propman Property Management is responsible for the care of the homes entrusted to us by our property owners, so we are strict about our rental policies with all of our tenants. This way we can ensure a pleasant experience for all.
A friend of ours recently called Propman Property Management and told us about some minor vandalism that had been happening in her Northern Virginia community. It involved several teenagers who were pulling pranks on the homeowners and causing minor damage in the neighborhood. She didn’t know how to handle the problem – whether to confront the vandals herself or call the authorities – so she turned to us.
The right thing to do was to call the property manager, who could then make the correct decision on how best to handle the problem. The property manager is experienced in handling small incidents like vandalism and can best determine the next step of action, whether it is to contact the offending residents or bring in the police.
It is important not to approach the perpetrator yourself, as this could involve you in liability, or stimulate retaliation from the vandals. It is best to let the professionals handle the situation, after all, that is why you have a property management company. We not only monitor and secure your property, we can serve as your advocate in cases of problems such as vandalism.
Another reason to contact your property manager is to build a record. The property manager may already be aware of other incidents or witness reports, and this can help build a case against the offending parties. If you have photographs or videos of the perpetrator, these can also be helpful, but do not put yourself in harm’s way to take them. Also, provide photographic evidence of the damage if you can. This creates a documentation chain.
Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, and you deserve the right to live in your home without fear. If you witness vandalism occurring, see evidence of it, or have had it done to your property, please do not hesitate to contact your property manager.
For information regarding Propman’s property management services in Northern Virginia, call us today at 703-569-5702.
Protecting your property is a 24-hour a day job, and by putting measures into place, your property can help defend itself from break-ins and vandalism. Here are some action items Propman Property Management can suggest that you can use right now.
Light up the Night
Criminals prefer dark areas in which to do their dirty work. Keeping your property well lit acts as a deterrent to criminal behavior. Ensure that outdoor lighting is working and is adequate to illuminate your property on all sides. Install motion detector lighting around doorways. This helps the tenant as well as deters potential problems. Ask the tenants to keep interior lights on as well when they are away.
In order to prevent places for criminals to hide close to entryways, shrubbery around doors and windows needs to be kept well-trimmed. Propman recommends that bushes be no higher than one foot tall.
Having an alarm system can be a great deterrent when signage is posted around your property, and in case of a break-in, will alert security personnel. It’s not a bad idea to have at least a minimum local alarm system installed that sounds a siren when doors and windows are tampered with. The loud siren should chase off any intruders.
Make it Look Cared For
Oversee the general appearance of your home and make sure it looks like it’s being lived in and not abandoned. Abandoned properties are prime targets for vandalism. This means keeping the exterior looking fresh, keeping up the lawn, and disposing of yard debris, whether it’s the tenant’s or the owner’s responsibility.
If Vandalism Does Occur
If a break-in or vandalism does occur, call the police immediately, and then call Propman about making any necessary repairs. If you don’t repair items like broken windows immediately, it tends to attract more vandalism.
Your rental property is an investment, and a business venture. You must put time and effort into protecting it. As your property management company in Northern Virginia, Propman is here to assist. Contact us with any questions.
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