4 Step Rental Procedures
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1. How To Select A Group and a Property

2.  How To Hold A Property For Your Group

3.  What To Do Before The Lease Signing

4.  What To Do After The Lease Signing

1: How To Select a Group and a Property

Believe it or not
your choice of roommates is more important than your choice of property.  Few people spend as much time deciding who they will live as they do where they will live.  To increase your overall experience off-campus, Castle Property strongly recommends that you consider your group first.  It is far better to find a house that fits your group than to add incompatible roommates to fill empty rooms in the house.  We have choices that will accommodate group from 1 - 20 students by including adjacent homes.   

Some things to think about when choosing potential roommates:

The "life of the party" can be a lot of fun at a party, but is seldom a good house mate.  
It you want to live in a clean property, find others that clean up after themselves or plan on being their maid.
Would you rather live in a clean, undamaged home and visit other people's  party houses, or vice versa?
Filthy houses breed insects and rodents.  Are these the kind of pets you are willing to live with?
You are equally responsible for the cost of damages in the common areas caused by roommates or guests; choose both wisely.

Once your group is assembled, decide which types of properties interest you.  Castle Property has a variety of options, from large Victorian Mansions, turn of the century houses and 1 and 2 bedroom apartments.  See below how easy it is to see what is available.

Looking at listings on our web site:

The quickest way to compare properties is to view them on our web site.  The current listing of available properties can be reached from the Castle Property web site.  Press the tab labeled " See All Available Properties for 201x-201x"  All properties are divided by the number of Tenants and list information about the property.  By clicking on the property address you can see the listing for the property with photographs, floor plans and other information.

Example from the available listing page:

7 Tenants Property
Address

Next Showing

Bed

Bath

Kit-
chens

Pets Permitted

Lease
Start

Lease
End

A/C

Average Price

Type

296wm10.JPG (17051 bytes) 123 Example Street

1 Nov
@ 2:30pm

7

2.5

2

cat/dog

7 July

2 July

Included

$500.00

House

In the third column the next showing date and time is listed.   All showings begin at our office and are open to anyone interested in the property.  Everyone in your group will need to come to the office a few minutes before the showing and sign in.  Please be considerate of the current Tenants and do not go directly to the property.  If there are no showing dates listed or the one listed is not convenient for your group, please contact our office and set a showing time (below).

Setting up a showing time for your group:

Press Showing Times to see what showings are currently scheduled and what time slots are available.  To set a showing time for your group, please e-mail your request to see a particular property.  Please have the names of the others in your group and their phone numbers and e-mail addresses if possible.  You must select an available time and date from the Showing Times listing.   We need to give our current Tenants at least 24 hours notice before showing their property.

2:   How To Hold A Property For Your Group

What is a Co-Signer?
Since we have individual leases, we require a Co-Signer for each Tenant.  Since most of our Tenants are students with little of no credit, the Co-Signer's credit is used to secure the property.  The Co-Signer would agree to pay the rent in the event the Tenant was not able to pay their balance.  Typically the Co-Signer is the Mother or Father of the Tenant.  In rare cases, where there was a good reason, we have used an Aunt, Uncle or Grand-Parent.  

The Co-Signer does not need to come to Harrisonburg to sign the lease.  The Co-signer can fill out the Co-Signer application and fax it to us or the Tenant can fill out the Co-Signer application with the co-signer's permission.  We send the final leases to the Co-signers for them to sign and simply mail back to us.

Which group gets the property?
We do not discriminate based on race, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, gender, handicap, sexual preference or familial status
.
We do discriminate based on previous credit history and previous rental records of both the Tenant and Co-Signer.  We also reserve the right to refuse renewal to Tenants or Co-signers with a poor rental record.

There are two ways to hold a property for your group:

  1. Fill out a Hold Agreement for the property at our office and pay a $45 per Tenant hold fee.   This holds the property for two days to allow prospective Tenants to get their application package together.  If the items on the Application Package (see details below)  are received within the two day hold period, the $45 per person application fees will be waived. The hold fee is a non-refundable fee.

    --  OR  --

  2. Turn in a completed Application Package and set a lease signing appointment.  The application fees are non-refundable fees.

What is in an Application Package?
1: Each Tenant should fill out a Tenant Rental Application.
2: Each Co-Signer should fill out a Co-Signer Application, (note:  the Co-Signer must be a parent of the Tenant)
3: Application fee check for $45 per person made payable to Castle Property LLC.
4: A $100 ernest payment for each Tenant.
4:
One completed House Manager Worksheet which lists the rent amounts and room numbers for each Tenant and the name of your House Manager.
All of these forms are available on our web site in the Documents section or available at our office.

Can the current Tenants "RESERVE" a house listed on the web site as "AVAILABLE" ?
No.  Sometimes current Tenants will tell interested Tenants visiting their property that they are planning to renew their lease and that the property is not available.  They may genuinely be considering renewal or they may be trying to "pass" the house on to friends or members of the same club, organization or major.  If the property is listed on our web site as "AVAILABLE" it is available to the first group that either makes application or puts a hold on the property without regard to their current Tenant's possible future plans.

How much is the Security Deposit?
The security deposit is equal to 1.5 times the monthly rent.   For example if the monthly rent is $500.00  the security deposit is $750.00.  This deposit is used to pay for physical damages at the end of the lease.  Within 45 days of the end of the lease, Castle Property will refund the security deposit.  If there are any deductions there will be a full accounting included with the refund check.

When is the Security Deposit due?
The remainder of the security deposit (the deposit minus the $100.00 paid at application) is due within 10 days of signing the lease.  At the lease signing appointment, all Tenants and the Landlord sign the lease.  A copy of the lease is sent to the Co-Signers for their signature.  The co-signed copy of the lease and the remainder of the security deposit are due at our office no later than 10 days after the lease signing date.  All Tenants/Cosigners have the option to break the final security deposit payment into 3 parts.  The first part would be due within 10 days of signing the lease, the second within 40 and third within 71 days of signing the lease.  There is no additional cost to break the deposit into three payments.

Where are these Applications and the lease located?
Applications and leases can be printed directly from the web site or can be picked up at our office.  To print, select one of the documents listed above or go to the forms and documents section of the site for a complete list of printable documents.  CP will fax or send applications to prospective Co-Signers or Tenants upon request.

What is the fastest way for my Co-Signer to submit their credit application?

If you Co-Signer is not in the Harrisonburg area, the fastest way for them to submit their credit application is by Fax or to send a scanned copy by e-mail.  Co-Signers can print a copy of the Co-Signer application off our web site, or at your request we will e-mqil a copy to them.  After filling out the application they should Fax or e-mail it back to our office (Fax:206-203-1820). 

If the Co-Signer does not have access to a fax machine, the Co-signer can scan the completed application with a smart phone scanner app or simply take a photo of the completed application and e-mail it to our office.  The Tenant can also fill the application for the Co-Signer with their permission.  There is a space at the bottom of the Co-Signer application where the Tenant can sign the Tenant's name affirming that the Co-Signer has given the Tenant permission to submit their information.

We encourage Co-Signer to also print a copy of the lease off the web site so that their questions can be answered before application or a hold is made for the property.

Do we have to sign the lease during normal business hours?
No, even though each person signs an individual lease, there are some decisions about the property that need to be made as a group.  It is for that reason that we need to set a time when the House Manager and most or all of the Tenants can meet.  We are able to sign leases during the day, however most of the time evenings and weekends are more convenient for the Tenants.  We need at least 24 hours to prepare the leases once the House Manager worksheet is received.

What if I change my mind about the property before the lease signing appointment?
Please be sure to communicate with your group so that they can find a replacement Tenant before the lease signing date.  The group will need to have a lease signed for each room within the 4 days of turning in the House Manager Worksheet.  The sooner your group knows that you may not be able to sign, the easier it will be for them to find a replacement Tenant.  Another Tenant can submit an application to take your place. 

Where can I see the lease?
We recommend that everyone reads the lease prior to deciding
to rent a property.   You can print  the lease  from our web site or can pick up a printed version at our office.

Who else should I check with before submitting the application?
Since a Co-Signer is required on all leases, it is advisable to get a copy of the lease
to your Co-Signer (or give them our web address) so that their questions or concerns can be addressed before you commit to a property.

The Off Campus Life Center will review leases with you free of charge. Simply print a copy of  the lease from our web site and they will be happy to answer any questions.

Who is the House Manager and why does (s)he get a monthly rent discount?
Each person will sign an Individual lease and will be responsible for their own rent and internet and cable.  Each group will select a House Manager to act as their representative throughout the year.  We recommend that the group chooses the most responsible person that could meet us at the property during the day as needed.  The House Manager is not responsible for collecting rent from the individual Tenants.  The House Manager will be the point of contact when we schedule inspections, repairs or showings.  It is the House Manager's responsibility to communicate this information to the others in the house.  Should there be any fines or repair charges that the entire house or several Tenants will split, the House Manager's account will be billed and (s)he will divide the charges accordingly and collect from the Tenants.  If during the lease  maintenance service is needed at the property, the Tenants and Co-Signers should contact the House Manager and (s)he can schedule with the office.  

Since the House Manager has some additional responsibility we feel it is justified to give that person a discount on their monthly rent.  The discount is typically $5 per person on the group agreement.  (6 person house = $30 monthly discount to the house manager).  For smaller units such as 2 bedroom apartments, we do not list a discount however the Tenants are free to work in the discount when selecting the rent assignments on the house manager worksheet.

Does it matter what bedrooms are listed on the Application Package?
Yes, since we write individual leases it is important that the bedroom number and rent amounts are correctly listed on the Application Checklist.  Please be sure that your group decided together which room each person will have and their monthly rent amount.  Your group can decide to split the rents differently than they are listed on the
web site as long as the total rent for the property is the same.  Any changes to the bedroom numbers or rent amounts after lease signing will require writing new leases.  Tenants will be charged for the time needed to rewrite the leases so it is cheaper to decide before you turn in your Application package.  Take a few minutes to review the floor plan and figure out room assignments to avoid any lease change fees.

3:  What To Do Before Signing The Lease

Has everyone read the lease ?
We recommend that all Tenants and Co-Signers read the lease prior to deciding on a property.  You can print the lease or view it online.

Who is going to handle the Utility bills ?
Many Tenants in the past have requested that we furnish utilities and bill the tenants monthly. Were you aware that Castle Property has a Utility Payment Program ?  At lease signing your group will be asked to choose between GROUP UTILITIES and INDIVIDUAL UTILITIES.  Please review the choices below and decide with your group before the lease signing time.

What are GROUP UTILITIES ?
The House Manager received a monthly bill from Castle Property with all the month's utility bills around the 20th of each month.  The House manager then collects a portion form each roommate and pays the bills back to Castle Property with the next month's rent.  The house manager will need to collect from each Tenant within a week or will need to cover for any Tenant until they are able to pay their share.

What are INDIVIDUAL UTILITIES ?
We pay the utility bills. We divide the bills among each person. We send out an e-mail to the Tenant and CO-Signer and the amount will be due with the next month's rental payment. The cost for this optional service is $5 per person per month and is added to the utility billing. The house manager and each Teanant would be responsible for only their share of the utility bills. 

Has everyone read the lease?
We recommend that all Tenants and Co-Signers read  the lease prior to lease signing appointment.  You can print the lease, from our web site and mark your copy with any questions.  This will ensure that all your questions are answered at the lease signing appointment.

What types of IDs are acceptable ?
Please bring a valid photo ID.  This can be either a driver's license or a passport.  Please call our office before the lease signing if you would like to use a different form of ID.  If you don't normally carry your ID with you, please make arrangements to bring it along for the lease signing so that you will not have to make a separate trip back with your ID.

Is a JAC card acceptable?
No.  Please bring either a driver's license, passport or any other
ID
pre-approved by Castle Property

Do you have questions about the lease?
Please bring notes or anything that will help you remember all your lease questions.  After reviewing the terms of the lease with the property manager, the prospective Tenants will have time to ask as many questions as needed.  We recommend that each person read the lease ahead of time to reduce the signing time.

How long will it take to sign the lease?
The entire process takes about one hour, however it can be much longer if the Tenants have not read the lease before the signing date.  We schedule two hours to allow for as many questions as possible.  Please make sure everyone has taken time to read  the lease before coming to the signing.  

4:  What To Do After The Lease Signing

One week after signing the lease you should call your Co-Signer and make sure they have received the lease package.  If they haven't received the package please contact our office (540-564-2659) immediately so that we can arrange to send another copy of the lease.

Encourage your Co-Signer to read through the lease.  If they have any questions please suggest they look up the information on our web site or call our office.   Remind them that we must receive the signed lease and the deposit within ten days of the lease signing.  Please allow three or four postal days for the lease package to arrive at our office unless your Co-Signer is using a commercial express carrier or hand delivering the lease.

If you or your Co-Signer has changed their mind and would prefer to not sign the lease, please let our office know as soon as possible.  Keep in mind that during the 10 day leases signing period, cancellation of one member affects the entire group.  As soon as you know that their may be a problem with the completion of your lease, be sure to let both Castle Property and your roommates know.  The sooner you let others know, the easier it will be to find a replacement Tenant.  A substitute Tenant can take your place and the remaining Tenant's leases will not be affected.

We will contact the group as soon as all paperwork has been received for your group.  We will also notify if we have not received either your paperwork or if someone else in your group has incomplete paperwork.  As soon as all leases are completed and received by Castle Property, each lease will be an Individual Lease and any cancellation after that date with be handled on an individual basis.

Since most Tenants sign their leases 8-10 months before their lease begins, we don't expect you to remember every deadline.  Before the end of the current Spring term, we will send a move-in package that includes your payment envelopes, a tenant information sheet to update any contact information that may have changed and information about your payments.  We also include information about renter's insurance and remind you of the rent payment schedule.  This information package is sent to your permanent address.  If this changes from the time you sign your lease, please keep us informed.