Frequently Asked Questions

What type of rental properties do you manage?
What areas do you handle?
What property management experience and credentials do you offer?
How big is your staff?
Why should I hire you as my Property Management company?
How much will my home rent for?
What will you do to rent my house?
What, specifically, do you do to qualify a tenant after they have applied to rent my house?
How do you make sure the tenant is taking good care of my home while renting? 
What do you do if they are not taking care of my property as they should? 
What happens if the tenant does not pay their rent? 
How informed will I be about what happens with my property? 
How do you handle maintenance requests? 
Do you use the cheapest maintenance people you can find? 
Do you hold some of my money for repairs? How much? 
How do I know you won’t spend money on large repairs without my approval? 
What if I want you to use my plumber, A/C company, etc.? 
Will you use my American Home Shield or other Home Warranty?
My home has a pool or spa, how do you handle that?
You guys seem sort of picky about the properties you take, why is that?
When do you mail the Owner’s checks? 
Can you put the money directly into my checking account? 
What will I receive with my monthly statement each month? 
How much do is your monthly property management fee?
How much is the leasing fee?
Are your property management fees negotiable?
Are there administrative fees or other service charges? 
Does your property management agreement give you exclusive right to sell my property? 
Is the property management agreement a standard, widely used form? 
Who holds the tenant’s security deposit? 
How much security deposit do you charge the tenant? 
Are you a licensed Property Manager?
How soon can you start managing my home?
Why are rent checks mailed so late in the month?
What should I do if a tenant contacts me directly?
Are carbon monoxide detectors required?
Should I use decorator paint on my property?
What is the eviction process?
How often do you inspect the property?
What kind of insurance do I need to carry on my property?
Am I responsible for maintenance expense?
What about tenant maintenance or late charges?
Am I responsible for pest control?
Do I need to re-key locks and provide security devices?
Do maintain utilities when the property is vacant?
Who is responsible for wear and tear?
Who is responsible for yard maintenance?
What do you expect for the exterior of my property?
What do you expect for the interior of my property?

What type of rental properties do you manage?
While we specialize in single family homes in and around the San Antonio Texas area, we will accept properties that are larger. We will manage duplex, tri-plex, 4-plex, and small to medium apartment complexes.

What areas do you handle?
Our Property Management service area covers Bexar, Comal, and Guadalupe counties.

What Property Management experience and credentials do you offer?
We offer you the level of experience and expertise you should seek from any property management company you hire. See the About Us page, if you haven’t already, for a complete introduction to our professional team.

How big is your staff?
Our team consists of a licensed Real estate Broker, administrative staff, property managers, and a core group of highly qualified maintenance and repair personnel.

Our clients really like the small office atmosphere and personal service we offer. We have none of the employee and personnel hassles that can plague larger property management companies.

Why should I hire you as my Property Management company?
You should hire us only if you think we are the best match for your property management needs. We may be the best property manager for some owners and properties but not for others.

That is why this FAQ page exists so that you can learn about us and and the guiding principles the we will employ in the management of your property.

Talk to other property managers before hiring one, and ask questions. You want to be able to trust your property manager so that you won’t be worrying about your home. The more research and information you gather, the better you will feel about your final decision. Of course, we’d love the chance to earn your trust and manage your property,

How much will my house rent for?
We are asked this question more than any other by new owner prospects. Of course it depends on a lot of factors, but in general, most homes in and around San Antonio are currently renting for about 1.0% of the home’s market sales value.

The more expensive your home, the lower the ratio of sales to rent value. For example, a $120,000 three bedroom home may rent for $1000 to $1200 per month in San Antonio depending on the neighborhood, the competition and the condition, while a $240,000 home may only rent for $1400 to $1800. This is a very generalized range but will in fact hold true in most instances.

The most important thing to know is that the rental market is indifferent to your mortgage payment amount. The rental market does not care that you might have a negative cash flow, and will punish with extended vacancy owners who overprice their rental homes. When you hire us as your property manager, we will look at the rental market in your particular area, survey the competing homes, and make sure your home is priced so that it will be viewed favorably against the competition.

What will you do to rent my house?
We give it maximum exposure while it is for rent and we carefully scrutinize all interested parties. 

FOR RENT SIGNS – Posted at the property with our website and phone number clearly displayed. Prospective renters can find out very easily – even at 7PM on a Saturday – the price and size of your property and when it will be ready for move-in.

MLS – Your rental property data is entered in the San Antonio Multiple Listing Service giving access to thousands of other Realtors and Renters. 

INTERNET LISTINGS – Our available homes for rent in the San Antonio area are posted online complete with photos, maps and property details for the convenience of those searching for a new home.

LEASING LOCATORS – We make all of our listings available to the many Lease Locator companies in San Antonio. These non-Realtor companies specialize in helping tenants find apartments, duplexes and homes for rent in San Antonio 

THOROUGH PREPARATION – Even the best located and well priced rental homes will not lease quickly if the rental home is not in top showing condition. Homes for rent in San Antonio Texas absolutely must show well and have an attractive "curb appeal" or they may sit empty for extended periods. Part of our job as property manager is to make sure your rental home is presented in a clean and attractive condition so that it will attract a good tenant.


What do you do to qualify a tenant after they have applied to rent my house?
This is the most important aspect of the successful management of rental property. Application processing is done by us in-house. We don’t send the application to a third party for processing as do many other property managers.We look at an applicant’s past behavior and assume their future behavior will be the same. An applicant must demonstrate a history of being a good, responsible tenant or homeowner as well as meeting credit standards. Nobody in the San Antonio area screens their tenants as well as our property management team.

LANDLORD REFERENCES – We talk to past landlords and ask detailed questions about the applicant’s past performance.

CREDIT REPORT -  Our property manager and leasing agent have a direct connection with a major credit reporting service. We obtain a credit report which tells us the applicant’s current and past performance toward meeting their financial obligations. It also tells us their monthly debt, credit score, and shows their previous addresses (which we compare to addresses listed on the application). An applicant must meet established credit standards.

DRIVER LICENSE VERIFICATION - We pull a copy of the applicant’s public drivers license data. This tells us not only if the addresses given on the application are consistent but also when and what the last drivers license activity was, such as a renewal or change of address. This is important because if someone says they have been living at a certain address for the past three years, but then we see they renewed their drivers license a year ago at a different address, a red flag goes up and we often find in that situation that the applicant is trying to conceal bad rental history.

PROPERTY TAX SEARCH – If a private individual is listed as previous or current landlord, we will pull the tax records and verify that the person listed actually owns the property.

The property tax record crosscheck, along with pulling driver license data, is what reveals most of the fraud attempts that we encounter and is a level of scrutiny that most other property management companies do not even perform.

EMPLOYMENT/INCOME – We contact the employer to verify length of employment, status, and income. An applicant needs to earn at least 2-3 times the monthly rent in gross income to qualify for rental and we will want to see a copy of their pay stub.

PETS – We generally permit animals/pets into managed properties unless you say not to do so, however, 50% to 70% of renters have pets. If the decision is made to accept an applicant with pets, we minimize your risk by limiting the breed, age, number and size of the pets. We also use a special pet addendum for your protection. We are careful in selecting tenants who wish to bring pets with them.

OTHER FACTORS – Many of our managed properties are subject to Home Owner Association restrictions such as no boats or trailers, and limits on the type and number of vehicles. An otherwise qualified applicant may be unable to lease a property if, for instance, they own a boat and want to park it in the driveway. We make sure issues like that are covered up front to avoid surprises after move-in.

How do you make sure the tenant is taking good care of my home while renting?
There are several ways we know this. During the lease term, we may have occasion to enter the property for repair or maintenance reasons and will use that opportunity to have a look. We also do regular "drive by" viewings of the property.

What do you do if they are not taking care of my property as they should, or you discover unauthorized pets?
The tenant is given an opportunity to correct the situation and usually does. If a problem persists, we will make a decision based on that specific situation. 

What happens if the tenant does not pay their rent?
On the first business day(Monday thru Friday)after the 3rd of each month, we are allowed to begin the eviction process. Whether or not we proceed with a formal eviction depends on the specific circumstances. It is always financially better for all involved if a solution can be worked out. If the tenant has experienced a one-time event which is causing them a financial hardship, and we have had no previous problems with them, it is better for you and the tenant if we give them a chance to catch up – if there is reason to believe they can do so. If the tenant has demonstrated an ongoing pattern of late payments, broken promises about payments and/or evasiveness, we know from experience that eviction is the best course of action.

Each case is unique and we will make a decision based what is best for you and your home. That said, we always proceed with the legal notices required for eviction regardless of any other factors. We will simply postpone the actual filing of the eviction if the tenant is showing favorable effort toward resolution. Eviction for non-payment of rent in Texas is a slam dunk and there is no way a tenant can prevail in court if they have not paid rent and the landlord has properly executed the notices and filing process.

How informed will I be about what happens with my property?
If something may cause a potential interruption in your ordinary cash flow (loss of tenant or non-emergency repair in excess of $500), we will let you know about it right away. Non emergency items will be communicated along with your monthly statements and, of course, we encourage you to contact us anytime you have a question or wish to discuss something.

We know some owners desire a level of involvement that our property management system is not designed to accommodate. We try our best to make sure you are a good match for our style of property management. Part of that process is this Question and Answer page so you can obtain a sense of how we think and how the manager will manage your investment property.

If you are a worrisome property owner or someone who desires a high degree of personal involvement with the property or who needs constant communication from the property manager, such as a phone call before any repairs are completed, we are not a good match for your needs. The property owners who appreciate us the most are those who want everything handled for them and don’t want to be bothered unless something important is happening. That is the type of property management service we offer.

How do you handle maintenance requests?
Tenants may fax or mail their requests to us, but most submit a request via the tenant maintenance portal on our website. After we receive a repair request, we may contact the tenant and ask them questions which will help us determine the exact nature of the problem before sending a service technician. We also make sure it is not something the tenant can fix themselves (ex: reset button, tripped breaker) before your money is spent on a service call. After determining that it is a legitimate problem, we will send the appropriate service vendor to make the repair.

We tell our tenants that we are able to handle most repair requests within 1 to 3 working days, and in fact are usually able to do so. Critical items such as Air conditioning, no hot water or heat, receive highest priority and are usually attended to the same or next business day.

Do you use the cheapest maintenance people you can find?
No. Our maintenance people and vendors have all been vetted by us, carry the appropriate insurance and, if required, licensed by the governing entity. We also have dedicated all-around maintenance sub-contractors who are capable in a wide range of home repairs. Our primary guys charge $40-50 per hour. Our other vendors range in price from $35 per hour to $75, and sometimes more for conditions such as an after-hours emergency sewer backup. We try to have our primary vendors handle most of the multi-trade and make-ready tasks and use other vendors when we are backed up. This will save our owners money on multi-trade repairs by cutting down on the number of service calls to the property by different vendors. It also means that if we are called out on a minor plumbing repair, we are going to be checking the a/c filter, sink drains, smoke alarms and general condition of the property – something that a single trade vendor will not do for you.

This approach to handling maintenance and repairs will provide cost savings that other property managers simply can’t deliver.

Do you hold some of my money for repairs? How much?
We will hold back $300 per unit in your account so that we always have funds to pay our vendors quickly. 

How do I know your property manager won’t spend my money on large repairs without my approval?
We promise in writing not to do that. For ordinary maintenance and repairs of less than $500, we will take care of it without notifying you. You will find out when you receive your monthly statement. If we think a repair might exceed $500, we will call you and let you know what is happening, what we think should be done, and what the estimated cost might be.

Sometimes expenses such as a replacing a bad water heater, a roof leak that needs patching or repair, or emergency A/C and furnace repairs are unavoidable. In those cases where 1) the health or safety of a tenant is an issue, or 2) in instances where there is only one option to consider or 3) the property will incur damage if immediate action is not taken, the property manager will initiate the repair work, even if it is higher that the $300 limit, and then let you know of the situation and what we are doing about it. Mainly, we don’t think important repairs should be delayed while we try to contact you for permission to do the obvious.

What if I want you to use my plumber, A/C company, etc.?
We already have a group of very qualified and reasonably priced vendors we use. If you would like to nominate a service company to be added to our vendor list, they can contact us and we will talk with them and let them know what documentation and references we need, what our invoicing and payment policy is, etc. We cannot guaranty however that your favorite company will be sent on all service calls to your home. Our concern is always to resolve repair problems in the most efficient way possible with the best available vendor at the time. Property managers can’t keep track of a pre-established roster of vendors assigned to certain properties – it would be a cumbersome and inefficient property management system and would not achieve the best service to the tenant and your investment property.

Our professional reputation as property managers, both with tenants and owners, is largely, if not almost entirely, determined by the effectiveness with which we handle maintenance. We follow a practice that is most likely to insure the best possible response and resolution to maintenance and repair problems for your property.

I want you to use my American Home Shield warranty for all covered repairs, is that ok?
No. Sorry, but we prefer not to use American Home Shield or any other warranty company to make repairs at your home. The logistics and communication problems encountered with past attempts to use the warranty companies are not acceptable for the level of property management service we strive to achieve.

We hold all of the home warranty companies in extremely low regard and believe, overall, that their plans are a rip-off (read the fine print in your service contract) and border on fraud. If you want your home warranty company to be used for the repairs and maintenance of your rental property, we are unfortunately probably not the property management company you should hire.

My home has a pool. How do you deal with that?
We prefer not accept properties with pools or operational spas. It is a liability issue. If your home has a spa, we will have it winterized and shut it down, therefore not including it with the use of the home while rented. It must also have a hard surface cover that can be latched down. If you want a pool or spa included we require you provide us proof of liability insurance that includes the pool specifically and includes naming us as "additionally insured" for that property.  We also require you allow us to hire a pool service company to regularly clean and service the pool.

You guys seem sort of picky about the clients and properties you take, why is that?
We’ve been involved with property management long enough to have seen and experienced everything imaginable, and we prefer to anticipate and avoid common problems rather that deal with the same ones repeatedly.

We believe you and your investment property are best served by a property management system that is as free of problems as possible. Hence, we generally, don’t handle pools and spas, prefer not to deal with Section 8 housing, don’t take run down properties, don’t rent to large groups of roommates, etc., because we know those things consume a disproportionate amount of a property manager’s time and distract from the care and attention that your good property deserves.

We strive to maintain a group of "like-minded" clients with properties that are at the same time diverse, yet similar enough that our systems, methods and style can be applied uniformly across all properties we manage. The worst property manager you can hire is one who good naturally tries to accommodate every special circumstance or request from his various owners until his operational system is so scattered and ill defined as to be dangerous. We like the consistency and predictability that comes with welcoming owners and properties that are compatible with our system of property management.

If you think about it, when you hire a property manager, you are for better or worse, employing that property manager’s system (or lack thereof). We promise you our system of property management is mature, stable and time tested. We will make good decisions for you. Your property will receive professional care and maintenance. Your lease agreement with the tenant will be enforced in a cordial businesslike manner, and we will always act in your best interest while at the same time insuring that your tenant receives fair and ethical treatment. You can expect also that we are always looking for ways to improve our service.

We do want you to thoroughly examine our company, ask for references, ask any questions that are not answered for you on this website, and make sure that ours is the property management system you want serving you and your property.

When do you pay the owner’s?
Owners payments are normally processed between the 10th and 15th of each month.

Can you put my rental proceeds directly into my checking account?
Yes, we can electronically transmit via the banking ACH system your monthly deposit
directly to your bank account.

What will I receive with my monthly statement?
The monthly statement will show all income and expense for the accounting period. All original receipts for any expense are stored and available online so you may have them as backup for your tax return.

How much is your monthly property management fee?
Our usual property management fee is a percentage of the monthly rent with various options available to you the owner.

How much is the leasing fee?
The leasing commission is typically 50 percent of the first full month’s rent for new tenants, with an $500 minimum. All classified advertising costs are passed through to owners, and we absorb all other costs of leasing the property including MLS fees, internet marketing, for rent signs, lock boxes, etc.

Are your property management fees negotiable?
No. We don’t try to compete against lower priced property management companies or Realtors who practice property management as a side business. We know you can find a cheaper property management company in San Antonio Texas. We just don’t think price should be the determining factor in deciding which property manager you hire to manage your property.

The ultimate cost of using a property manager is determined by many things other than the fee charged. The efficiency and manner in which maintenance and tenant relationship problems are handled, and the attention to detail during the leasing process are two of many areas in which we excel. We feel that our set of services, our systems, and the experience and expertise we offer are a good value at the fee structure we have established.

Are there administrative fees or other service charges up and above the property management and leasing fees?
There are a couple of administrative fees on initial start-up. All of the details are available in our management plans.

Other expenses you could incur would be for services which fall outside the normal scope of our property management agreement or for duplicate processing.

Here are some examples that fall outside of normal management service:

Example (1). When an owner wants to use a company like Sears to deliver a new stove to a vacant property, and we have to meet Sears at the property, there is a hourly service fee with a one hour minimum.

Example (2). If the owner is refinancing the property, and we must meet the appraiser or other person at the property, there is a hourly service fee with a one hour minimum.

Example (3). Copies of our original receipts and records are stored online and available directly to the owner. However if an owner requests a physical copy of a bill, receipt, statements or other item, there is a hourly service fee with a one hour minimum.

Example (4). Sometimes an owner wants us to take pictures of a new fence, new roof or a repair that has been done on the property. We are happy to do this for owners, but it is very time consuming, therefore there is a hourly service fee with a one hour minimum.

Owners often ask us to do things that are outside our normal management services, and we try to accommodate our owners whenever possible.

These scenarios and costs are all outlined in the Property Management agreement but rarely come about.

Does your property management agreement give you exclusive right to sell my property?
Absolutely not. We can sell your property if you would like us to, but we don’t bind you to that in the management agreement. This is another trick that discount property managers use. They manage your home at little or no profit knowing they have you locked into an eventual sales listing. We think, at the time you decide to eventually sell, you should be free to decide who the best listing agent will be for your property given its location and characteristics. However, if you do decide to use us to buy/sell your property, we will provide that service at a reduced commission rate.

Is the Property Management Agreement a standard, widely used form?
The management agreement we utilize is far less wordy than most and gives appropriate protection to both the management company and the property owner.

Who holds the tenant’s security deposit?
All security deposits are held in our deposit escrow account. If you have a tenant's security deposit, you should send it to us at the beginning of our management services to you. 

How much security deposit do you charge the tenant?
Generally we get 100% of one month’s rent for deposit, rounded up to the nearest hundred.
This might vary depending upon particular circumstances. We will be happy to modify the deposit amount for your property based upon your desire.

Are you a licensed Property Manager?
We are licensed Realtors. There is no "Property Management License" requirement in Texas, but professional property managers in Texas must have a Texas real estate license.

How soon can you start managing my property?
We can start the process immediately. We will start by obtaining some information about you and your property and helping you decide if we are a good fit for your needs.

Why are rent payments made so late in the month?
Our lease agreement states that the rent is due on the 1st of the month. Texas law says that we have to give the tenants a grace period. Therefore, the tenants have to midnight on the 3rd before they are considered to be late with their rent.

When we open our office on the (4th), we have a lot of rents that were dropped off late on the night of the 3rd. If the 4th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, or a holiday(days the office is closed) this will further delay the process. The checks we receive on the morning of the 4th, we have to posted to the property management software. If all goes well, we can take the deposits down to the bank the afternoon of the 4th. The bank then has to post these deposits to our account, which, if it falls on a weekend or a holiday, does not happen until the following Monday, or workday for the bank. We then must wait several days to ensure none of the tenant payments are return NSF.

We process statements and rent proceeds between the 10th - 15th of each month. You should receive your statement and rent proceeds no later than the 15th providing the property is occupied and the rent has been paid on time.

Disbursements are made via ACH deposits directly into the owner's bank account.  Statements are emailed the same day.

Owners who had rental payments come into our system after processing of owner statements will receive those funds when we process the next month.

What should I do if a tenant contacts me directly?
Good tenants are valuable assets to both of us. A satisfied tenant will be more inclined to care for your property as if it was their own. As the owner of the property, it is best that you avoid direct communication with the resident and refer all inquiries to our office. We maintain a diplomatic relationship, between you and your tenant, through personal contact and a newsletter, we periodically mail to each of our tenants.

Are carbon monoxide detectors required?
Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that kills many people every year. If your property has gas heat, gas water heater, or a gas stove, we recommend that you install Carbon Monoxide Detectors in your property. We believe state law will soon mandate carbon monoxide detectors in rental properties. All detectors should be installed in accordance with their instructions.

Should I use decorator paint on my property?
Although the decorator paint colors you used in your bedroom, bath or living room is enjoyable and pleasing to you that is not necessarily true for the prospective tenants. We consistently find that having even one wall that is maroon or green or one bedroom that is blue or pink can greatly increase the time it takes to rent the property each time it comes available.We strongly recommend that all walls and ceilings be painted an off white.

What is the eviction process?
Eviction procedures can be initiated against the tenants if they have not paid their rent by the fourth (4th). This first step is called a Notice to Quit or Vacate (NTQ). If, after approximately five days, the tenant does not respond to previous notice, we ask the court to proceed with the second step of the eviction process, a Forcible Entry and Detainer Notice (FE&D). The FE&D demands that the resident appear in court on a certain day. At that time one of our staff members appears in court to represent your interests and will make a claim for all monies due. The third and most sensitive step of eviction is what is known as asking the court for a Writ of Possession or simply a Writ. A Writ is required when a resident fails to comply with the FE&D ordered by the court. The Writ process requires us to hire a crew to set a tenant’s belongings at street side or, during inclement weather, in storage. When you have monetary damages as a result of this process, a judgment is issued by the court. We file the judgment in the applicable county records and with the Credit Bureau. On the average it takes about 30 - 45 days to evict a tenant, and hopefully this will not happen with your property. We do very few evictions thanks to our strict tenant screening.

How often do you inspect my property?
We are not licensed inspectors. We only perform a visual inspection of the properties to assess the general condition. A licensed inspector does a very detailed inspection, including checking the function of the plumbing systems, heating and cooling systems and more. Generally a licensed inspection is done when a buyer purchases a property and cost is between $350 - $450.

We do "drive by" inspections on a regular basis. This helps to ensure the exterior of the property is being maintained by the tenants. We send notice to the resident asking them to cure any noted deficiencies that are their responsibility. Also, when our maintenance personnel do repairs, they are instructed to report anything that is out of the ordinary.

Additional inspections are available at additional cost.

What kind of insurance do I need to carry on my property?
You should advise your insurance company the property will be a rental unit. Texas insurance regulations require any existing Homeowner policy be cancelled.

You will need to take out ‘Fire and Extended Coverage’ and also notify your agent the property will be a Rental Property. In order to protect your investment the amount of insurance should equal the replacement cost of the property. Also, be certain that you have adequate Property and Liability Insurance coverage. The Residential Property Leasing and Management Agreement requires the owner to carry insurance adequate to protect all parties.


Have your agent name River City Property Management as an additional insured in your liability policy. This is a requirement of our property management agreement and we need this proof of insurance in our files. We must be provided copies proving coverage no later than thirty (30) days after signing the Residential Property Leasing and Management Agreement.

Am I responsible for maintenance expense?
The actual maintenance expenses for the home are the responsibility of the homeowner. Every effort is made to control maintenance costs while maintaining the integrity and value of the property. While the property is occupied, the tenants are required to notify our office of any problems. If the estimated cost to repair exceeds the maximum that is allowed in the Residential Property Leasing and Management Agreement, the owner is contacted for permission to make the repairs. If the expense was due to tenant negligence, the tenant will be billed and become liable for the entire amount.

We realize it can be rather upsetting when you receive an unexpected bill from us for repairs made to your property; however, some repairs are urgent and must be corrected immediately. Emergency repairs are made in accordance with our Residential Management Agreement.

We do not do bids or estimates on repairs under $500.00. We normally, on any major repair, obtain at least two bids from reliable contractors. The bids will be discussed with you. Due to the fact that the bids take time to be completed and in order to eliminate further delay, we ask that you make a timely decision or provide our staff with firm guidance. You will be asked to forward a check for the cost of the repair before the work is started.

It is our policy to use only reliable contractors that do professional work at a reasonable cost. We have used most of the contractors for several years and have found their prices very competitive.

We require owners to deposit $300.00 for a maintenance reserve upon signing the Residential Property Management Agreement.

What about tenant maintenance or late charges?
When a tenant owes a maintenance or late charge, our policy is to withhold from their regular monthly rent payment any amount that is owed. Tenant’s failure to pay the lease payment prior to 12:00 p.m. on the 3rd day of each month requires them to pay the late fee, as stated in their lease, which is collected at the same time as the monthly payment. If the tenant fails to include the late fees with their rental payment, your income for the month will be short because our procedure is to credit all payments to non-rent charges first, including late charges.

The Justice of the Peace (JP) court system only permits us to evict for nonpayment of rent. Because of this eviction restriction, we must collect any delinquencies first which causes the unpaid amount to be for rent only. Hopefully, you will receive the balance of your income in the next monthly collection cycle.

Am I responsible for pest control?
Owners have an obligation to provide a residence that is relatively free of pests upon occupancy. If not, the owner is responsible for treatment(s) during the first 30 days after the tenant’s original possession date. The owner is responsible for maintaining the residence in a reasonable rodent-proof condition and rectifying any condition that would allow squirrels, birds, etc to enter and nest. Infestations of mice, squirrels, vermin, and or poisonous insects need to be taken seriously, as they can cause damage to a property and can be a health risk to people. Infestations of this type are treated at the owner’s expense. This does not release the tenant from their obligation to keep the property in a clean and sanitary condition so as not to promote the attraction of rodents and or pests

Do I need to re-key the locks and provide security devices?
All rental-housing owners in Texas must be in compliance with the Texas security device statute as of January 1, 1995.

The statute applies to owners of apartments, houses, duplexes, triplexes, condominium units, townhouses, cooperatives, mobile homes, rooms in private dormitories and rooming houses, garage apartments, public housing projects, and all other types of dwellings that are rented. The safety and security of your residents and their families are at stake - as well as your own potential liability exposure to multi-million dollar lawsuits.

Here is a list of what should have been done: or what will be done when converting a residence into a rental property

1. Keyless deadbolts. You must have a keyless deadbolt on every exterior door, including a door from a garage into the dwelling. A keyless deadbolt is not necessary on sliding glass doors or on doors that open from a garage to the outside.

2. Keyed deadbolts. You must have a keyed deadbolt or a keyed doorknob lock on at least one exterior door. You don’t need a keyed lock on all exterior doors. You need a keyed lock on only one exterior door which is normally used for entry. That lock can be either a keyed deadbolt or a keyed doorknob lock. Obviously, a keyed deadbolt is far superior to a keyed doorknob lock because of its one-inch bolt.

3. Door-viewers. You must have either a door-viewer (peephole), a clear glass pane or one-way mirror in each exterior door --even if there is a clear glass panel or window right next to the door --and even if the door opens from the dwelling into the garage and even if the door is at the rear of the dwelling or on the second or third story of the dwelling. Door-viewer range must be 160o or greater; lens can be made of plastic but glass is better.

4. Pin locks on sliding glass doors. You must have a sliding door pin lock on each sliding glass door.

5. Security bars or door-handle latches on sliding glass doors. You must have either a security bar (sometimes called a "Charlie bar") or a door-handle latch that works, on each sliding glass door. You have a choice of one or the other.

6. Window latches. You must have a window latch on each window. It can be the original latch or an after-market type.

7. French doors. All French doors must have a threshold bolt and upper door jamb bolt (with a 3/4" throw) on one door. The other door must have a keyless deadbolt and either a keyed deadbolt or keyed doorknob lock.

8. Automatic door closures. You must have an automatic door closer on each hinged door that opens directly into a pool-yard or a multi-unit rental complex (defined as "two or more units"). This requirement is in the 1993 pool-yard enclosure statute rather than the security device statute. Door closures on sliding glass doors are not required. Similarly, door closures on doors opening into a pool-yard of a rent house are not required, but they are highly recommended for safety and liability reasons. Spring-loaded door hinge pins seem to be the best and most aesthetic type of automatic door closures.

9. Window screens. Window screens are not statutorily required by the security device statute. But if a window has a screen and the window is in a wall used as part of a pool-yard enclosure of a multi-unit complex, the pool yard statute requires the screen to have a screen latch or be permanently affixed with screws.

• Upper floors: the requirements of the statute apply no matter how high or what story the door or window is on.

1. Good working order. You must have all security devices working properly when residents move in.

2. Re-keying at turnover. At each resident turnover we re-key all keyed deadbolts and keyed doorknob locks on exterior doors if the doors can be opened from the outside by a key. We require owners to use our locksmith. Our locksmith re-keys the property to our key system and makes sure the locks and smoke alarms are up to code.

3. Quick repair. You must quickly repair or replace a security device that you or your employees at any time discover is missing or not working--even if the resident has not asked you to do so.

4. Prompt response. You must promptly respond to legitimate resident requests for re-keying, repairing, installing or replacing--preferably within three days after receiving the tenant’s request, but no later than seven days.

5. Fair charges. You must be fair in billing residents for re-keying, repairs and installations for which they're liable. Even though it is allowed by the statute under certain circumstances, it is recommended that you not require payment in advance. It's too easy to mistakenly require advance payment when you're not supposed to under the statute.

It is illegal for unlicensed locksmiths to install repair and service locks. It also is illegal for businesses needing locksmith services to knowingly contract with an unlicensed locksmith, directly or indirectly through a maintenance company. Both criminal and civil penalties apply. Individuals changing house or personal property locks also are subject to the same law.

Do I need to maintain the utilities when the property is vacant?
Unless otherwise stated in the Residential Property Leasing and Management Agreement or restricted by property limitations, all utilities used on the premises are paid for by the tenant. New tenants are advised to notify the appropriate utility companies to have service turned on in their name.

During periods of vacancy, utilities will be placed in the company’s name, and the resulting usage will be charged to the owner’s account. Having the electricity on greatly enhances the showing of your property when darkness arrives early in the evening and during hot weather.

Who is responsible for wear and tear?
We expect new interior paint to last 3 years and new carpet to last 7 years. If a tenant moves into a property that is freshly painted, moves out after one year and we have to repaint, the tenant is charged 2/3 of the cost to paint. If the tenant moves out after 3 years and we have to paint, the full cost is charged to the owner.

Carpet replacement is pro-rated over a 7 year period. If a tenant moves out after 3 years and we have to replace the carpet, the tenant is charged 58% of the cost to replace the carpet.

If we have a garbage disposal fixed that was clogged by the tenant, the owner will be reimbursed, by the tenant, for the repair bill. If the garbage disposal has rusted through, the owner pays the whole expense.

We make every attempt to be fair to both owners and tenants.

The Courts & Judges are not sympathetic to owners who want to charge tenants wear & tear repairs.

Am I responsible for yard maintenance?
In general, the tenant is responsible for yard maintenance which includes watering, cutting grass, weeding, reseeding if needed.  We recommend the owner take responsibility for all trimming of trees and shrubs plus fertilizing the yard, trees, shrubs and flowers.

Owners are responsible for trimming limbs that are on or near roofs.

Grass must not be higher than 6 inches. The area around the driveway, sidewalks, curbs and gutters are considered to be part of the yard and need to be kept free of weeds, grass, and leaves. For security reasons, hedges and bushes should be trimmed so they do not to block the view from windows.

What do you expect for the exterior of my property?

Property is to be structurally sound, providing the tenant with a safe living environment.

Roofs and Gutters

Roofs must be free of leaks and in good repair. Gutters are to be clean and free flowing.

Landscaping, Trees, Miscellaneous

Appearance Landscaping is to be well maintained and at all times provide a neat appearance, including mowing and watering of lawns, trimming shrubs and flowers, and pruning of trees as may be required from time to time. All personal property, trash receptacles, and disabled cars are to remain out of sight. All debris is to be removed no less than monthly.

Doors and Locks

All exterior doors are to be in sound condition, secureable, and weather tight. All locks are to be re-keyed between tenants. Also all locks must be operational at all times and be in compliance with the State Security Devices Statutes.


Siding and trim paint is to remain free of peeling paint. Any homes built prior to 1978 must have a Lead Paint Addendum signed by the owner on file with River City Property Management.

Windows and Locks

All window glass must not be broken or cracked. All windows and window locks must be operational.

Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting is to be provided on perimeter areas where hazards may exist. All burned out bulbs are to be replaced immediately.

Garages and Outbuildings

Garages and outbuildings may be used for storage, but must remain free of waste and debris.

What do you expect for the interior of my property?
Heating System

All Properties are to be equipped with an adequate heating system meeting local building codes at the time of installation and be in good repair at all times. Defects are to be repaired immediately.

Electrical System

Entire electrical system is to remain in good repair and meet local building codes at the time of installation. Any exposed wiring, defective outlets, switches, fixtures, or hazards of any kind are to be repaired immediately.

Plumbing System

All Properties must be supplied with hot and cold running water. Plumbing fixtures are to remain free of leaks and be operational. Water heaters should be set no warmer than 120 degrees and be equipped with a pressure relief valve and appropriate drain plumbing in the event of a high pressure water release.


All appliances on the premises supplied by the property owner are to be maintained in good working order. Defective appliances are to be repaired / replaced immediately. (Unless otherwise stated in the lease agreement)

Smoke Detectors

Properties are to be equipped with a minimum of 1 smoke detector per bedroom, and 1 smoke detector outside of  bedrooms connected by hallways. The smoke detector must meet current local, state, and federal standards. Any defects in equipment must be repaired / replaced immediately.

Floor Coverings

All flooring materials are to be clean and maintained in good condition at all times. Flooring, including carpet, vinyl, and wood is to remain free of rips, tears, and gouges. We require that the owners have the carpets professionally cleaned before the tenants move in and we require that the tenants have the carpets professionally cleaned when they move out.


Premises are to be clean and free of debris at all times. Property is to be turned over to incoming tenants with the highest standard of cleanliness at all times.