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Owner Frequently Asked Questions

How long has Keller Williams Property Management been in business?

We began professionally managing properties for 3rd party owners in February 2016.  Before that, the leaders of the company had years of experience managing their own holdings.

Is Keller Williams a licensed property management company?

Yes, Keller Williams is a fully licensed real estate brokerage who is able to perform sales, leasing and property management services to clients.

How many units does Keller Williams currently manage?

We currently manage a portfolio of 600+ residential, apartment and commercial units throughout Northeast Ohio.

What is the average tenant placement time at Keller Williams Property Management?

Provided that the unit meets all the minimum standards of clean, safe, and functional housing and is priced correctly for the market, our average tenant placement time across all markets (Grades A-F) is 28 days.  Of course, the better the market and property the easier it is to place qualified tenants.

What is the current vacancy rate at Keller Williams Property Management?

KW currently has a vacancy rate of 6.7% across all markets, on average.  As you’re probably aware, each market comes with different challenges.  Through experience, we’ve found that vacancy is lower in more desirable areas and with properties that have nicer finishes.  We will connect with you individually to create a plan to limit vacancy on your units.  If you’re a client of Prosper Cleveland, we expect your vacancy rate to be lower due to the location of these properties and the quality of the rehabs.

What type of fees does Keller Williams charge for property management services?

Please review your Property Management Agreement (PMA), sections 2A, 2B and 2C for specifics on fee schedules.

Can you elaborate on the $10 bill pay fee and $50 property tax bill pay fee?

KW professionally manages 600+ units across Northeast Ohio and pays a third-party accounting firm to handle the accounting services of the management division.  Bill payment for investment properties is a service that KW offers to owners, but there is an additional fee associated with this service due to the volume of properties.  Of course, property owners always have the option to pay their own bills associated with their properties – utilities, registrations, fees, taxes, etc.

How often will Keller Williams inspect my rental property?

We make it a point to get inside your unit as much as possible.  We enter units a minimum of four times per year to perform routine preventative maintenance – changing furnace filters, changing batteries in smoke and CO detectors, cleaning gutters, etc.  While on site we also perform full walk through inspections (along with photos and reports) to show owners the current condition of their properties.  We also use this as an opportunity to help owners plan for larger repairs as far in advance as possible.  Of course, we’ll also be checking for unauthorized occupants, unauthorized animals, tenant cleanliness and overall care given to the property by the renter.  All of this information will be reported back to the owner.

How does Keller Williams handle maintenance calls?

We make things as easy as possible for tenants.  The can call our 24/7 maintenance hotline and speak to a live person, call the office during normal business hours or submit a maintenance request online via their tenant portal any time.  We have an in-house maintenance staff that will receive all request and can perform work at a discount to property owners.  Owners will be notified of all maintenance that comes in for each property.  Requests will be pending owner approval, but health and safety items need to be addressed immediately to keep everyone out of legal trouble.

How does Keller Williams handle utility bills?

Tenants are required to create their own gas and electric accounts for single family rentals.  They will not get keys to the unit until they provide their account numbers.  KW’s leasing team will plan ahead on gas and electric accounts for owners with multifamily properties and not enough utility meters to match the number of units.

However, as you’re probably aware, in Cleveland the water and sewer bills follow the owner and not the tenant, even if the lease makes it a tenant liability.  If the tenant fails to pay, the bills are still the responsibility of the property owner.

The Cleveland Division of Water and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District have gotten very serious about collecting bills owed.  They now impose fees, fines and liens on properties – even ones owing a few hundred dollars.  Please see this news article:  newsnet5/news/localnews/investigations/thousands-of-cle-water-customers-at-risk-of-losing-home-due-to-waterdepartment-tactics

The management company has a fiduciary duty to act in the owner’s best interest and to do this, KW pays the water and sewer bills from the owner’s account and then bills the tenant to reimburse the owner.  This allows us to protect property owners in three ways:

#1 – We know the water and sewer bills are paid in full and on time.

#2 – We can charge the tenant directly for reimbursement to the owner’s account

#3 – We can monitor tenant reimbursement directly instead of hoping they paid the utility company directly

If your property is a multifamily property and there are not enough water meters to match the unit count, KW handles this in one of two ways:

#1 – We can build the estimated cost of monthly water usage into the monthly rent.  For example, if we estimate usage to be $50/month and rent is typically $1000, we will adjust the rent to a flat fee of $1,050 to cover rent and water.

#2 – We can determine a flat monthly fee on top of rent to be charged for water as “additional rent.”  This will be determined before we execute a lease and would look something like a rent rate of $1000 and an additional charge of $50 for water.

I’ve noticed some sections in the PMA I’d like to edit.  How do we go about this?

Unfortunately, KW cannot edit the PMA from one client to the next.  KW tries to provide each client with as customized of an experience as possible, but the reality is that with the number of units KW has under management there must be automated systems and procedures in place.

Do I get a discount on property management fees with a certain number of units under management?

To keep our service consistent and be fair to all owners, we offer standard pricing and rates for everyone. We have owners with 150 units and owners with one house – they pay the exact same rates and fees. Again, this keeps our service consistent and high quality.

What is your leasing/screening criteria for rental applicants?

KW evaluates applicants on four main categories:

#1 – Income.  The applicant MUST have a monthly NET income of at least 3x the asking rent.  This is non-negotiable.

#2 – We’d like to see the tenant have a minimum credit score of 600 with no accounts in collections.

#3 – We will not accept tenants who have been evicted in the past 5 years.

#4 – We will not accept tenants who have a violent criminal history.

In addition to these main categories, KW will perform employment verification and interview all past landlords.  All information will be presented to the owner for final approval on all tenant placements.

How does KW market for tenants?

Our state of the art property management software syndicates listings to dozens of the top real estate websites at the click of a button – Show Me the Rent, Abodo, Apartment Love, ClassifiedsAds, Condo.com, FRBO, Hunt, Key Lasso, Sumu, Lovely, Walk Score, Advanced Digital Local Market, Apartment List, Call it Home, Apartments.com, CampusCribz, EveryRent, Hotpadz, Houses.com, iRent.com, Istanza, Pad Mapper, Rad Pad, Real Rentals, Realtor.com, Rent MLS, Rent Focus, Rent Hop, Rent Lingo, Trovit, Trulia, Ucribs, Uloop, University Parents, Zumper and the Zillow Rental Network.  In addition, we are members of the MLS and work directly with subsidized organizations.

What happens when your lease expires?

It’s built into our lease that it automatically defaults to a month to month lease upon expiration of the initial term.  However, provided you like the tenant and they care for the property, about 2 months prior to expiration our leasing team will reach out to the tenant in an attempt to secure a lease renewal at an increased rental amount.

When is rent due?

Rent is due on the 1st of the month, but in KW’s lease, we give the tenants a 5-day grace period.  On the 6th of the month rent is late and a $25 late fee is added to the tenant’s balance.

How do tenants pay rent?

Again, we want to make paying rent as easy as possible so we have multiple ways for tenants to pay rent.  The easiest and most efficient way is for them to pay their rent via their tenant portal online.  They also have the option to use their customized pay slips to pay their rent in cash or with credit/debit card at any 7Eleven, Ace Cash Checking or CVS.  If those options are not possible, we also allow tenants to mail in money orders or certified checks to our local office.

What does the eviction process look like?

Again, rent is due on the 1st of the month, but it is not technically late until the 6th due to the 5-day grace period.  On the 6th day a late fee of $25 is added to the tenant’s outstanding balance.

If the tenant has not paid in full by the 12th of the month then we will turn them over to our attorney to get the eviction process in motion.  He will file evictions around the 15th of the month and court dates are generally a few weeks to a month out, depending upon the municipality.  Once KW is granted the writ a move out is scheduled generally 7-10 days after the issuing of the writ.  The cost differs per city, but is generally around $400.

Of course, eviction is always a last resort and this will not be pursued unless we’ve exhausted all other options and have the owner’s approval.  We will be reaching out to the tenant constantly throughout this timeline.  If their responsive and their hardship is temporary, we will push for a documented repayment plan.  If their hardship is permanent then we will attempt to negotiate a release of lease in exchange of a forfeit of the security deposit and possession of the property in broom swept condition.

This is all designed to mitigate damages to the owner as much as possible.  Eviction is always a last resort and is only carried out on non-responsive tenants and owner approval.

What happens during a unit turn and is there a markup on work?

KW will have a maintenance member or project manager present at time of scheduled move out to obtain keys, secure the property, and change the locks.  This is done at a scheduled time to protect the property as much as possible.  At this time, we will make sure the temperature is set at a reasonable level, water is shut off at the meter and all plumbing lines are drained.  KW’s Utility Coordinator will have already scheduled a switch in service from the tenant to the owner.  Windows and doors will be secured and a lock box will be installed to hold the new keys.

A KW Project Manager will take a full walk through video of the interior and exterior of the property and perform a full documented inspection.  You will be provided a copy of the video, inspection report and photos.  That Project Manager will develop a scope of work to get the property in a clean, safe and functional state (Section 8 standard) and acquire quotes for your approval.  Each contractor will be quoting the same scope of work and you’ll have final approval on which contractor wins the bid.

KW does charge a 15% markup on all project management.  The 15% margin on rehab looks like more than it actually is. We are one of the only management companies who discloses 100% of our fees, and keep our fees the same no matter what the job. Other management companies will charge 15% on some jobs, 25% on other jobs, and change it up based on what they can get away with.

We’ve built relationships with excellent suppliers, contractors, and vendors. The discount that we can achieve for you is in the 20-25% range, so even with a 15% margin, you are still saving money over having to find a contractor and manage a job yourself. It pays for our margin and eliminates all the headaches for you.   Keeping us involved in the project also offers you a level or convenience and safety.  Instead of trying to oversee a rehab from a distance, you can have the peace of mind in knowing that we have your best interest in mind.  Contractors will not get paid unless the work is completed in quality fashion and in full.  We also make sure that everything is done “by the book” to keep you out of court.  We’ll make sure that permits are pulled, inspections take place and all items are handled to keep you in compliance with the city.    Unfortunately, without earning any income on the project we cannot allocate any resources to the project.  It would be unfair of KW to ask our employees to work for free.  It’s always an option for owners to oversee their own projects, but in these circumstances, KW will not be able to contribute to the project and we’ll step back into the picture when it comes time to place a new tenant.  Hopefully this creates clarity and transparency on how we run our operation.

How often will I see an owner statement?

KW sends monthly owner distributions and statements on the 25th, or sooner if the 25th falls on a weekend or holiday.  At this time statements will be emailed to you and a record of all owner statements and tax documents can be found in the owner portal online at www.rentfromkw.com.  Distributions can be direct deposited via ACH payments or paper checks can be mailed.

Do you have a client “Trust Account?”

Yes, KW has a client trust account.  Each owner is required to keep a minimum reserve of $300 per property in this account for any emergencies that may arise.  This is also the account that we hold your rental income in until it comes time for monthly owner distributions.

Is KW regulated by any governing authorities?

Yes, KW is subject to review and audit by the Ohio Division of Real Estate at any time.