Q: Who is my main contact?
A: You will have a day-to-day local team that helps manage your property. This team includes:
Your Property Manager, which is your main contact.
A Director of Operations in case there is a major issue.
A Maintenance Manager to make sure maintenance work is done properly and on budget according to your rental goals,
A back office department including handling paying all bills,
And the founders, Chad and Nate, who are always trying to figure out ways to manage properties better.
Your first point of contact should always be your property manager -- as they have the most updated info on your property.
When in doubt email Support@SlateHouseGroup.com which will create a support ticket.
Q: How do I request something or ask a question?
A: SlateHouse has a ticket system to make it easy for you to request anything. Submit a Ticket
SlateHouse will be able to assign the ticket to the right person internally to get you the answer. More important, we will be able to track completion of all tickets --- adding additional accountability to important items to address. PLEASE NOTE -- you will still have a property manager! But this should improve our ability to get issues resolved in a timely manner for you.
Q: When will I receive my statement and payments?
A: You will get your property statement sent to you on the 20th of every month (unless the 20th is a weekend or holiday and then it will be the next business day). This statement will include a run-down of all costs and revenue associated with the property in the previous month. On this same day -- we will also either initiate a direct deposit to your account OR mail you a check, assuming the account is positive. Please realize it may take a couple days for this to get to you or for it to clear in your account. Timing is dependant on your bank to process for direct deposit, but is typically 1-3 business days.
Your Owner Statement will read similar to a bank statement showing in chronological order a column of Cash In, Cash Out and Balance. You will also receive a copy of any invoice for expenses in the Cash Out column.
Q: How do I access the owner portal?
A: All owners have an online Owner Portal where all Statements and coinciding documents can be accessed. All you need for the portal is to provide us with your email address. Directions for your Owner Portal is as follows:
Visit our website at www.SlateHouseGroup.com
Click “Property Management”
Along top select tab for “Portal” then “Owner Portal”
If it is your first time logging in click the blue link “Create a password”
From here you will be prompted with directions for a secure password
Q: What happens when work is needed on my property?
A: For maintenance work, we will let you know if anything is needed to be done on the property. For emergencies or code required items under $250 -- we will handle the work by our maintenance department in an effort to value your time and make sure things are done in a timely manner.
Q: What if tenant doesn’t pay rent?
A: If rent is unpaid, a late fee will be charged on the 5th of the month in accordance with the lease agreement. We also begin by sending the tenant a text, email and/or phone call reminder. Again, prior to the 16th of the month we will reach out again to try to make sure they understand they need to pay rent and make sure there aren’t any other issues.
Our eviction policy is to file for eviction if a tenant hasn’t paid by the 16th of the month. While this is one of the toughest parts of managing a property, we do this because our experience has shown that when you start taking excuses or IOU’s, tenants quickly fall behind and never catch up on rent. The eviction process in PA does include needing to attend a court hearing typically held 2 weeks after filing the Landlord-Tenant Complaint -- of which we represent you in court for no additional cost. Please understand the court requires filing fees be paid at time of filing and you may see these fees on your statement. At the hearing we will ask the judge to include the filing fees on the judgement making it the tenants responsibility to reimburse.
After the court hearing, if we are successful in winning a judgement, there is a 10-day appeal period. If after 10-days the tenant is not able to pay or begin a payment plan we will file an Order of Possession and a lock out will be scheduled. After the lockout, we will do a full walk-through of the property to get any work / cleaning documented. Again, the only eviction fee you would see on your statement is for the actual court cost. These court costs will also be charged to the tenant in an effort to recoup.
Q: Do you file for collections on tenants with balances beyond their security deposit?
A: Yes, we automatically file for collections via a 3rd party professional collections agency on your behalf on any tenant who has a balance beyond their security deposit. If you ever get that money, you will see it come through as delayed rent on your statement. There is no charge for this service that SlateHouse provides. The collections agency does have a fee, but only if they are successful in collecting the payment. Please understand in order to to place an account with collections we will need the tenants full name, date of birth, social security number and executed lease agreement. We can guarantee these criteria with any tenant placed by SlateHouse.
Q: What is your lead paint policy?
A: SlateHouse takes lead paint very seriously. Any SlateHouse contractor that may be disturbing lead paint is certified by the EPA as a lead paint certified contractor. This is a national law that SlateHouse follows. Each lease sent out has the required Protect Your Family From Lead Pamphlet and lead disclosure included, which is also a national law.
Lancaster City Only: Additionally, the City of Lancaster has a specific Lead ordinance that requires a lead paint certification. The certification is only required when the property: A) is located in the City of Lancaster, B) built before 1978, C) is not previously lead abated, D) has a new lease move-in E) the new tenant has a child 6 or younger whose main place to live is the rental unit. Our SlateHouse policy is once the tenant signs the lease and provides security deposit, SlateHouse will work with a 3rd party vendor to get the unit tested for lead. This costs between $200 - $400 for the 3rd party to perform (depending on house size), but does have a guarantee to be done in less than 7 days. If the property does test positive, SlateHouse will work to resolve issue and get it re-tested prior to move-in. From beginning to end the process should take less than 14 days, unless there is a major rehab needed. Due to Fair Housing Laws, SlateHouse will not discriminate against applicants with children age 6 and under and will require resolutions take place should a property test positive. Overall, lead paint is a serious issue and we do follow the law to protect the long-term interests of the owner.
Q: What is the management fee?
A: SlateHouse charges three fees.
We charge a % fee for collected rent as a Management Fee
We charge a one time fee of a % of the rent when a new tenant is placed as a Placement Fee.
We charge a one-time Lease Renewal Fee of $100 (more on that below)
Q: How does SlateHouse handle renewing leases?
A: Lease Renewals are handled at the end of the lease when the lease is 60 days from renewal. SlateHouse will reach out to the tenant to get them to sign a new lease. As part of this process, SlateHouse will increase the rent 2-4% (or more if market conditions permit or owner requests). Once SlateHouse is able to get the increase in rent, SlateHouse charges a one-time fee of $100. We feel that increasing rent is VERY important to the long-term economics of investing. Not only does the rent increase get the owner more money in the initial year, but sets the owner up to get an additional 2-4% increase the following year. For the tenant who stays in a unit for 5+ years, this is crucial towards long-term cash flow. It’s virtually impossible to get a tenant to accept a major increase in rent, but we have found most tenants have come to expect a small increase at the end of their lease.
Q: What is the Cash Reserve?
A: SlateHouse requires owners to keep a minimum account balance of $250. This helps ensure there is money in your account to pay for bills and repairs especially important after the 20th of the month and before next month’s rent comes in. If the owner ever leaves SlateHouse for any reason, they will get this money back.
Q: How can tenants pay rent?
A: Tenants can pay rent either online (for free with e-check) on the SlateHouse website, at one of the many local Slatehouse drop boxes, or mail the check or money order to the SlateHouse office/PO BOX. SlateHouse charges a $2 fee to tenants to pay manually in an effort to get more tenants to pay online. Our research has shown that tenants who pay online stay longer in the units and also have significantly better track record of paying rent.
Q: What is in the SlateHouse lease?
Q: Do I need to pay my balance at the end of the month?
A: On the 20th of every month, you will receive a statement on your balance. If balance is outstanding (as in your account is negative), you will have 5 days to pay the outstanding balance. SlateHouse realizes that in some instances you may prefer to not pay the outstanding balance for a variety of reasons. Starting Feb 26th, SlateHouse will have a new program to give you an option to delay that payment. If approved, you will be able to not pay the balance off that month, and be charged a 1% interest fee instead charged immediately. Frankly, we instituted this policy because we are investors ourselves and realize that cash flow can at times be a difficult thing to maintain exactly on a month to month basis.
Q: How are utilities handled?
A: Typically SlateHouse pays the utilities for the owner. If it is a single family home, typically SlateHouse will pay utilities and then bill the tenant. If it’s a multi-family home, it depends if there are separate meters or not. If there are separate meters, SlateHouse will pay the utilities and then bill the tenant. If there are not separate utilities (such as joint water or joint heat) --- SlateHouse will pay the utilities and tenants will either have utilities included in their rent OR have a separate set utility fee each month.
Q: How does SlateHouse get the bills to pay?
A: The owner(or SlateHouse) will call the utility company and have the mailing address changed. The bill with remain in the owner’s name. The mailing address should be changed to ℅ SlateHouse, PO Box 5304, Lancaster PA 17606. Some utility companies require the owner to make this call.
Q: What is a Landlord-Tenant Utility Agreement?
A: SlateHouse will contact the utility company and set this up for the owner. If for any reason the electric or gas is about to be turned off it will automatically revert into the owner’s name. This is extremely important during the winter months. When gas and electric are turned off pipes can freeze resulting in thousands of dollars of damage.
Q: How is grass cutting handled?
A: If we don’t hear from you, we default to the following policy. If it is a single family home, we assume the tenant will be cutting the grass. If the property is a multi-unit property, we assume we will be cutting the grass. If either of these are NOT the case, please make sure to let us know.