Renters Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do I need to do before I move in?
2. Who do I contact for repair?
3. What is considered an emergency repair?
4. How can I terminate my lease early?
5. What do I need to do before I move out?
6. How do I get my security deposit back?
7. How often will you perform inspections?
  8. Can I have pets at the house?
9. Can I smoke at the house?
10. I have guests visiting me for awhile, should I let McGrath Real Estate know?
11. I’m going on vacation, is there anything I need to do before I leave the house?
12. How do I prepare the house for winter?
13. What happens if I pay rent late?
14. Can I sign up for direct withdrawal of rent payments?

1. What do I need to do before I move in?

AFTER YOUR APPLICATION IS ACCEPTED

The most important things to do once your application has been accepted by our property management company involves the lease. Accepted applicants need to thoroughly read through the lease and other attachments sent from our Leasing Department. The next step is to sign/initial the lease and Lead-Based Paint Form and submit them to our office with a copy of valid driver licenses for everyone on the lease. You also want to make sure that you have submitted funds to cover the security deposit, application fee and pet deposit (if applicable).

AFTER YOU SUBMIT LEASE, LBP, AND CHECKS

Next, you need to make arrangements with our Inspections Department for a check-in meeting and to turn over the keys as of the possession date. Also, make sure to review your tenant responsibilities and check your email, including spam   or junk folders, for a link to set up your tenant portal. Please contact the HOA/COA before moving in to ensure that everything is taken care of. You, as the renter, are responsible for providing the HOA/COA with any/all information they request, including, but not limited to: move in fees, contact information, signed lease, parking fees, pool pass forms. You will need to arrange to have utilities for the property turned on in your name by the possession date. Finally, pay your rent!  Submit the rent payment in certified funds 7-10 days prior to the lease start date. If we do not have cleared funds by the lease start date, we will not hand over the keys.

  On the day your lease begins, meet the inspector at our office at your scheduled time to receive your keys. Now you’re ready to move in and enjoy your new home!

2. Who do I contact for a repair?

  In order to receive the fastest service regarding a repair, please log into your tenant portal and submit a work order or call the Repairs 24/7 Line. These are checked regularly and action is promptly taken. You are also welcome to follow up with a phone call to our office at 703-870-7287.

3. What is considered an emergency repair?

An after-hours emergency call should be made anytime the structure of the property is jeopardized or there is a danger to the occupant.  Such circumstances include fire, an active water leak or flooding that is not controlled by cutting off the supply valves, loss of heat when temperatures are below 50 degrees, no electricity (not area related), damaged roof or structure damage from a fallen tree. Lack of air conditioning is not considered an emergency.
 

4. How can I terminate my lease early?

Please refer to your lease page 9, 31B TRANSFER OF TENANT which states that if you are transferred 50 miles or more (radius) from the location of the Premises   by the employer on the Rental Application, or are prematurely or involuntarily discharged or relieved from active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States, you will have the right to terminate the lease, provided written notice. If you do not fall under these circumstances, you will need to contact the Leasing Department to discuss your options regarding the remainder of your tenancy.

5. What do I need to do before I move out?

Please visit Preparing to Move Out for a checklist of items that need to be done before moving out of a rental property.
 

6. How do I get my security deposit back?

Security deposits are placed in escrow for your account. Per your lease, we have 60 days after your lease termination date to return your deposit. You can expect to get a full return of the deposit if your account is not in arrears, no damages are assessed by the check-out inspector, and all final utility bills have been paid. If you wish to expedite the return of your deposit, get proof from the utility companies that your bills have been paid through your last day of occupancy, and your account is closed. These statements need to go to our Accounting Department. Leaving the house in the same condition it was in at the time of your move-in and providing receipt of professional carpet cleaning is helpful.
 

7. How often will you perform inspections?

A member of the McGrath Inspections Department will perform a check-in inspection when you assume possession of the property, documenting the condition. An annual inspection is performed, ideally between 5 to 8 months into the lease term. The smoke detectors will be tested at the annual inspection. This is a good time to make repair requests and let us know if you would like to renew your lease. When you are ready to vacate the home you have to schedule a check-out   inspection.  If the owners of the property request a visit, we will provide at least 48 hours notice to the tenant. Beyond these instances, we may schedule inspections if there are reasons for concern.

 

8. Can I have pets at the house?

Any pets that will be residing at the home need to be included with your application and would be included within your lease. If you plan to obtain a pet after moving into the property, you need to notify the Leasing Department. They will create an addendum which must be signed and returned prior to the pet residing at the property. You will also be required to submit a pet deposit.
 

9. Can I smoke at the house?

All of our properties are non-smoking residences, which is specified in your lease. You have the right to smoke outside your home.

10. I have guests visiting me for awhile, should I let McGrath Real Estate know?

If the guests are planning to be at the property for longer than 14 consecutive days, then you will need to notify us. This is so there is no confusion as to   who is living at the property and who is just visiting.

11. I’m going on vacation, is there anything I need to do before I leave the house?

If you are going to be gone for a period longer than 14 consecutive days, you will need to notify McGrath Real Estate Services, Inc. This is to ensure that there is no confusion between you being on vacation and possible abandonment of the property. Please leave your thermostat (heat/AC) as you normally would   during the particular season. If a pipe freezes due to heat not being on in the home then the tenant is held responsible for any damages. It is equally important during any other season to make sure exterior drains are free and clear of debris so you do not come home to a flooded basement after a heavy rain!

12. How do I prepare the house for winter?

A few weeks before winter starts, you should turn on your heat to ensure that it is functioning properly. The water to the exterior hose bibs needs to be shut off, disconnecting any hoses and leaving the hose bibs open. Also, close any storm windows and replace front screens with glass if applicable. For more winter home maintenance visit our blog.
 

13. What happens if I pay rent late?

Rent payments are due on the 1st of the month. If we do not have payment in our offices by the 5th of the month, you will be assessed a late fee of 5% of the monthly rent. On the 15th, if rent has not been paid, we will send a Sheriff to post a 5-day “Pay or Quit Notice” to be served on you, and you will be assessed the fees for that as well. We would much rather you communicate with us on when you can get the rent to us and what your situation is so that we can work with you. If you know that your rent is going to be late, please contact us. The more information we have, the better we can assist you in fulfilling your lease obligations to the landlord.

14. Can I sign up for direct withdrawal of rent payments?

Yes, using your tenant portal you can sign up for a one-time payment as well as set up your account for recurring payments to come from your bank account. All the information you need is in your tenant portal, which can be reached at mcgrath.appfolio.com/connect/session/new

If you need further assistance please email accounting@mcgrathrealestate.com.