Q: Who is RL Property Management Group, Inc.?
A: RLPMG is a residential property management company located in Columbus, Ohio.
Q: Why should I choose RL Property Management Group to manage my properties?
A: No fanfare here, we simply do what we say we are going to do. Our clients tell us this age-old business requirement is hard to find these days.
Q: How long have you managed investment properties?
A: The company was founded in 2013.
Q: Is RLPMG licensed?
A: Yes. Our brokerage (RL Property Management Group, Inc) is registered with the state of Ohio (file number REC.2015003677) as required by Ohio law.
Q: How many units do you currently manage?
A: We manage approximately 600 units.
Q: How many employees does your company have?
A: We have a total of 15 employees including 6 full-time maintenance technicians.
Q: Do you personally own investment properties?
A: The RLPMG executive team personally owns several single and multi-family investment properties in the Central Ohio area, totaling approximately 12 units.
Q: Do you manage Associations? ie, HOA’s and COA’s?
A: No. We are completely focused on residential property management.
Q: Do you digitally sign documents?
Q: How many single-family properties do I need to own to work with RL Property Management Group?
A: We will manage any property that does not require on-property staff. For us, this usually means most properties under 100 units.
Property Management Agreement
Q: What services do you provide as part of your Property Management Agreement?
A: We are a full-service property management company. All items involved in managing property are handled by us, including leasing, maintenance and rent collection. This provides a “hands off” experience for the owner, and can turn investment property into truly passive income.
Q: What is the startup fee?
A: There is no start-up fee for occupied units. The startup fee for vacant units vary depending on how many units are at the property and/or under RLPMG management.
Q: What is your fee structure?
A: We strive to be transparent and up-front about our fees. Fees (other than the flat rate monthly management fee and lease renewal fee) are charged only for out-of-the-ordinary events, and these fees are described in the PMA Contract (Property Management Agreement and on our website on the “Pricing” page).
Q: What do you need from me to be successful?
A: We need to know how involved you would like to be in the managing of your properties, and we need to understand what your goals are with the property.
Q: Can I view my financial statements online?
A: Yes. We set up a property owner portal for each client. You can log in to your property owner portal anytime 24/7 and see real-time information about your property including rent coming in, expenses going out, many different financial statements, as well as scanned copies (PDFs) of all bills and invoices.
Q: Can you provide me with a rent estimate?
A: Yes. Please inquire and we can work up a rent estimate.
Q: Will you inspect properties I am considering buying?
A: No, that is not a service we provide. However, we can advise you during the due diligence period on medium or large multi-family properties.
Q: How often do you inspect my property?
A: We perform quarterly inspections of each unit checking detectors, appliances, tenant responsibilities and liabilities, and the general welfare of the property.
Q: What are the steps to have RLPMG manage my property?
- Our staff will meet with you at the property if possible, to complete a walk around and review our services.
- A property management agreement will be created and signed.
- Reserve funds will be collected, along with the property keys.
- RLPMG will list your property for rent (if vacant).
Q: Can we include my Condo/Homeowners Association regulations in the lease?
A: Yes. We can incorporate any property specific codes and regulations in the lease.
Q: Do I need insurance on the property?
A: Yes, a rental dwelling policy (RDP) or commercial policy with a minimum of $500,000 of liability coverage is required. RLPMG must be an additional insured on the policy (most insurers do not charge extra for this).
Q: How long is your property management agreement for?
A: 1 year minimum, with longer terms required for larger property portfolios.
Q: Do you have an early termination fee?
A: Yes, we do. The amount varies.
Q: Can you pay bills for me that are related to the property?
A: Yes, with the exception of Association dues, mortgage, insurance, and tax payments.
Q: Do you work with Section 8?
A: Some jurisdictions prohibit “source of income discrimination”, meaning a landlord or property manager cannot decline an applicant simply based on their source of income being a housing voucher. In those cities (currently Westerville, Columbus and Bexley), we must accept section 8 applicants and screen them per our normal process:
Our leasing agent first inputs data such as the person’s credit score, income, criminal history and 20 or so data points into a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is then separately evaluated by the director of property management who grades the spreadsheet against our rubric of minimum criteria. The final decision is based on the data alone, as the spreadsheet contains no photos or other personally identifying information.
Q: Can personal items be left on the property?
A: Property management companies (PMs) typically do not take responsibility for any personal property left at the property. If you do leave personal property at the property, please accept that it may become damaged or go missing.
That being said, it’s essential to clarify who owns what in your lease agreement.
Q: How much money should be set aside to cover expenses?
A: You should both set aside funds in reserve (we recommend 6 months of rent) and expect maintenance, turn and capital expenses.
Q: Do you charge a leasing fee?
A: No, we do not charge any leasing fees. We believe that it’s important to align our incentives with those of the property owner – which means taking our time to find the best tenant, not just filling the unit with the first person who has a security deposit and collecting a big fee (only to do the same thing in 6 months when that tenant doesn’t work out). Our incentive is to find great tenants and keep them in the property for as long as possible, since the cost to re-lease the unit is paid for entirely by our company.
More on the difference between a property manager and a leasing agent can be found here.
Q: How do you screen potential residents and what is your application procedure?
A: We use a time-tested custom rental application and TransUnion background check service. As part of this screening, we evaluate an applicant’s credit score, criminal history, rental history including evictions, sex-offender search, job history and income, as well as other proprietary factors. We require proof of income in the form of pay stubs or bank statements. We also contact their current and previous landlord. The goal is always to secure tenants who pay the rent on time and don’t damage the property.
Q: What is your marketing strategy to locate tenants?
A: We syndicate our rental listings to the most effective online locations including Zillow, Craigslist, Hotpads and Trulia. In addition, we post them for rent on our own website. We also market aggressively through social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter.
We also avoid listing other places such as Crgaislist. Click here for a more in-depth view on marketing strategies to locate new tenants.
Q: How do you qualify prospective tenants?
A: Tenants must meet the following criteria:
- Minimum gross monthly household income of 3 times the rent
- No violent criminal convictions
iii. No sex-offender record
- No evictions in the past 5 years
- No serious & recurring credit problems
You can read more about how we qualify prospective tenants here.
Q: What is the average turn-around between the departure of one tenant and the placement of another?
A: Once the unit is rent-ready, we tell our clients to anticipate 4 to 6 weeks to rent out a property. It may take longer or shorter than this depending on the pricing used and market conditions. Our average is 3 weeks.
Q: Do you guarantee the time it will take to rent out my property?
A: We do not. Caution should be taken if a property management company guarantees lease signing in a set period of time. RLPMG sets high standards for our tenants and competitive rents at our properties. We will never excessively lower rents or select unqualified tenants to speed up the rental process.
Q: Do you charge the monthly fee when my property is empty, or only when it is rented?
A: Yes, the fee is required every month that we are managing the property.
Q: How do you handle evictions?
A: We use professional local attorneys to complete the court eviction process. Our normal process for handling evictions is three steps and takes approximately 6 weeks, but we also look for other solutions – such as offering a pay-and-stay.
Other facts to consider – what happens if you accept a partial payment of a monthly rent.
Q: How much does an eviction cost?
A: Franklin County charges $130, and the attorney group charges $100, for a total hard cost of $230. RLPMG also charges a fee of $199 to manage the process. The client is responsible for those charges, although we make every effort to recover it from the resident.
Q: Do you provide a standard lease?
A: Yes. RLPMG uses a custom lease prepared by us and reviewed by our legal counsel. Additionally, you can typically add restrictions (such as not allowing pets) or add fees to dissuade behavior (such as a fee for having a large gathering).
Q: Are tenants responsible for utility bills at the property?
A: We strive to have the tenants pay all utility bills where possible. We suggest using a table in the lease agreement to list out each of the utilities and who is responsible for paying them.
Q: I wish for my property to remain smoke-free, and would like for this restriction to be built into the lease. Is that feasible?
A: Yes, we do not allow smoking in any of the units we manage. You can read more about adding restrictions to a lease agreement here.
Q: How much is the security deposit?
A: An amount equal to one- or two-month’s rent, depending on credit.
Q: Do you leave on utilities between tenants?
A: We strive to have all property utilities on while a unit is vacant. This aids in repair work and prospective tenant showings, as well as protecting the property in the winter.
Q: In your experience, what percentage of rentals involve eviction, litigation, or some other non-routine confrontation with the tenant?
A: Approximately 5% of rentals escalate to eviction, litigation, or other non-routine status.
Q: Do you routinely relay tenant complaints to the owner, or must the number or severity of complaints meet a certain threshold? If the latter, please describe your procedure.
A: Tenant issues are dealt with internally by our expert staff and rarely involve owner intervention.
Q: What types of repairs do you handle in-house? What do you outsource?
A: Internally our maintenance team handles general handymen issues. They can handle basic repairs in plumbing, electrical, punch out, and day to day items. Third party contractors are used for larger or more specialized jobs.
Q: Do you charge a fee on repairs?
A: All bills from outside vendors, suppliers and contractors incur a 10% project management fee. All work completed by in-house staff is billed at $72 an hour plus materials (2021 rate).
Q: Do you require select vendors to be used?
A: We are happy to use vendors & contractors of your choice, depending on which plan you select. Please let us know if there are vendors you prefer.
Q: Is a maintenance reserve account required?
A: Yes, a minimum reserve amount of $500 per unit is required for most properties. The reserve is tied to the maintenance approval limit, which varies by plan type (Bronze, Silver, or Gold).
Q: Will you complete renovation work on my property?
A: We will only take rent-ready (or nearly so) properties under management. If your property is in need of renovation, we can refer you to some reputable local contractors and will be happy to discuss a management agreement once the work is complete.
Q: Can you handle common area maintenance management?
A: Yes, we handle CAM.
Q: How do you handle maintenance issues?
A: During normal business hours, we take call from tenants directly at our office. All calls are screened to ensure they are both serious and landlord responsibility. Once both are confirmed, we send out one of our in-house Maintenance crews right away.
Q: What is your average response time to urgent problems (e.g. the kitchen is flooding)?
A: All emergencies are handled immediately.
Q: What is your average response time to routine problems (e.g. the closet door jumped the track)?
A: Routine repairs are taken care of in order of importance. On average repairs are completed in one to three weeks.
Q: How do you handle it when a tenant reports a problem at 3:00 AM on Sunday morning, or on Christmas day?
A: After-hours maintenance calls are handled by a 24-hour professional call center. Emergency maintenance is addressed 24 hours a day. This being said, there are four steps we take with any problem reported by a tenant – no matter when they call: remain calm, assess the nature of what’s happened, assure the resident, and (assuming it is an emergency) get the appropriate maintenance team out there to fix it.
Q: What is your hourly rate for repair calls?
A: The rate is $72/hour for our maintenance staff (2021 rate). No trip charge and no minimum.
Q: How often do you check and replace smoke detectors?
A: Detectors (including smoke and carbon monoxide, if gas is present in the unit) are checked and (replaced as needed) on approximately a quarterly basis, as part of our quarterly inspection process. Detectors are required to be replaced if they are at least 10 years old.
Q: What are typical costs for maintenance and repair work?
A: The following expenses may be incurred by the property:
- Maintenance. General maintenance and repairs are completed at a competitive hourly rate by one of our internal maintenance team members, with materials charged at cost. Specialized repairs are completed at competitive industry rates plus a 10% project management fee. Some new rental property owners who are used to repairing things themselves can be surprised at the cost of having this work done by others.
- Capital Expenses. Replacement of long-lived items such as roofs, windows, furnaces, hot water tanks, appliances, driveways, sidewalks, electrical fixtures, plumbing fixtures, etc.
Q: Who keeps the security deposit?
A: Work required between tenants may include:
- Normal wear and tear. Security deposits cannot be retained for normal wear and tear but this wear and tear must be restored for successful leasing.
- Tenant damage. These are things that security deposits can be retained to fully or partially cover. Sometimes the security deposit will not be sufficient to cover damage.
- Pre-existing or new functionality issues. Things such as door stops, sticking doors, inoperable windows, loose door handles. PMs and tenants are very good at finding these sorts of things and we find it very important to remedy them for best long term retention of tenants. Sometimes the cost of repairing functionality issues is a shock to owners as so many issues had gone un-repaired for many years. Sometimes owners have learned to live with quirks or issues inside a unit, however tenants are not willing to do so.
What Our Clients Say About Us
Want to Learn More?
If you’d like to learn more about our properties and what it’s like to work with RL Property Management, get in touch. We’d be happy to talk more about our rental properties, our application requirements, and our leasing process.