Below is a list of the more frequently asked questions by tenants and prospective tenants. If you need more detailed explanations, or have a question which is not answered here, please feel free to contact us by email or phone. Important Advice for All Residents: For more security, always use the deadbolt lock on your doors. Please note that management and/or ownership are not responsible for the personal property in your unit. You must have Renter’s Insurance in order to cover losses of your personal property. For more information on renter’s insurance, contact your current auto insurance carrier to see if they have any available policies.
For better security, always use the deadbolt lock on your doors. Also, please remember that management and/or ownership are not responsible for the contents of your unit. You must have Renter’s Insurance in order to cover losses.
Move in & Move Out
Do you accept pets?
We are a pet-friendly company, but different buildings have different rules. Pets are assessed and allowed on a case-by-case basis, usually with a pet deposit. If you are considering getting a pet and are already in one of our apartments, please check with us first to avoid any disputes later on.
Are stoves and refrigerators included with the unit?
Stoves are, but refrigerators are on a case-by-case basis, depending on the building and unit. If there is a refrigerator in the unit, it will not be warrantied.
What’s the procedure for renting an apartment with a roommate?
A rental application and credit-check is necessary for each person moving into the unit, even if that person will not be named on the lease. Security deposits are usually split between the roommates.
What fees are required for move-in?
Generally, we ask for a security deposit and the first month’s rent. These must be paid in secured funds (Cashier’s Check, Money Order, Cash), prior to receipt of keys for move-in.
If I move-in mid-month, is that when I pay my rent each month?
No. For any move-in that occurs on a day other than the First, we charge pro-rated rent the second month of tenancy in order to bring the Rent Due Date to the first of each month. These terms will be in your lease agreement, and explained to you at lease-signing.
What is the procedure for moving out of my unit?
If your lease is about to end, that does not mean you are required to move, or that we anticipate a move-out. We are always happy to negotiate a lease renewal or extension. However, if you decide to move-out, you MUST mail, fax, or email us a written “30 Day Notice” of your intent to vacate. Follow this with a call to the office to confirm receipt of the notice.
Please Note: If you are not moving out at the exact end of the month, pro-rated rent will be due which MUST be paid at the beginning of the month.
What if it’s only a roommate moving out?
The departing roommate needs to inform us of their move-out, in order to allow us to remove their name from the lease. Any new roommate must go through the same approval process as the original person. (However, this does not mean that roommates will be added to the lease, nor granted rights to tenancy as provided by Rent Stabilization Ordinances.) Security deposit refund upon the move-out of a single roommate will be due that roommate from the person remaining in the unit, or the new rooomate, NOT from Howard Management Group.
Rent & Living in the Unit
Am I allowed to make “improvements” to my unit?
All improvements (shelves, paint, etc.) must be approved by the management company in writing. Any improvements that result in the unit needing to be returned to pre-move-in conditions (wall-color, shelves, etc) may lead to deductions from your security deposit.
Is there a “curfew” on noise-levels?
Yes. Our Tenant Rules & Regulations are provided to all tenants at lease-signing. Tenants may not make any loud noise after 10 p.m. and before 8 a.m. However, all noise (including music, television, and conversation) must be kept to reasonable volume at all times of day, out of respect for other tenants. (We also ask that tenants with adjoining walls refrain from vacuuming or other household chores which create noise within the curfew hours.)
What kind of security is there at your properties?
Different buildings have different security measures, including secure entry or security gates, but they are not necessarily standard to all buildings. We recommend that all tenants make use of the deadbolt lock on their doors, as a general security measure, since the lock on a doorknob can be easier to circumvent. We also recommend placing some kind of barrier on the track of sliding doors and/or windows, to prevent them from being opened from the outside. We also recommend that tenants invest in Renter’s Insurance. Howard Management and the individual building owners assume no responsibility for the safety of the contents of tenants’ units.
What do I do about a noisy neighbor, or other neighbor complaint?
First try to handle it directly with the neighbor in question, and in a friendly manner. If the problem persists, contact the management company. (If the noise is extreme, after 10pm, please call the local police department if you feel it is warranted.)
What should I do if I’m going to be out of town when rent is due?
Plan in advance! Use your online access to Appfolio and make an ACH payment directly from your bank account or send us a check before you leave town, and we will hold it until the day your rent is due. Late rent is late rent, regardless of the reason.
On what day is rent considered late?
Please refer to your individual lease. In most cases, however, rent is considered late if it is not received in our office by 5pm on the third day of the month. In buildings with “rent-boxes”, please have your rent check in the box no later than 5pm on the third day of the month, to be sure we pick it up. It is your responsibility to get your rent to us on or before the due-date. If you know you will be unable to pay rent on time, let us know. We always try to work with our tenants in these matters, but if no word is received from you in advance, you may receive legal notices as well as late fees (refer to your lease for late fee information). Please be considerate of our time as well as your record, as it takes us a great deal of time to visit each property for rent collection, or to post notices when rent is late.
What happens if my rent check bounces?
You are responsible for the bank’s Nonsufficient Funds (NSF) fee. Generally, this fee is c. $20.00. You must also replace the bounced check with a Cashier’s Check or Money Order. We will not attempt to re-deposit the check.
What is a “Three Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit”?
A “3 Day Notice” is a legal document served to a tenant when rent has either been returned due to NSF, or if it has not been received by the due date. Once this notice is served, if rent is not paid, it can be used as the beginning of an eviction process.
Will you accept a rent check from someone other than me?
No. Rent checks will only be accepted from those persons whose names are on the lease. If you require assistance with your rent for any month, the person assisting you should write a check to you directly.
Note: If you need to write your rent check from a Business Account, please provide us with a copy of your business license to prove it is your company.
If there is a matter in dispute with the management company, can I withhold my rent until it is settled?
No. According to California law, you cannot withhold rent from the person to whom it is owed, in order to influence matters under dispute. You also cannot deduct any amount from your rent, without first clearing it with the management company or owner, in cases where you have handled repairs or other matters by yourself. In such cases, it is standard for us to reimburse a tenant after they have paid their full rental amount.
Utilities & Parking
What utilities am I responsible for paying?
Refer to your lease. Generally, the owner will be responsible for water and trash.
When should I have utilities put in my name?
Before you move into the unit. The utility company can set service up to begin billing on your move-in date, even if you had a “whirlwind” lease-signing. If you fail to put service in your name at move-in, we will charge an administrative fee of $50.00 to compensate HMG for the time necessary for our office to contact the utility company directly.
What do I do if someone if parked/parking in my parking space?
Try the diplomatic route first: Place a note on the car, and find alternate parking for that day or night. (When parking on the street, remember to check all posted signs! HMG is not responsible for parking fines.) If the situation continues, call a Tow Company. Also, write down the information of the car (description, license plate, etc.) and contact us at the office so that we can locate the tenant in question.
What do I do when my garbage disposal is clogged?
Clear all substances from the drain. Never place your hand inside the garbage disposal to check for, or retrieve, objects! Check for any small, hard particles caught in the bottom of the disposal. Move the parts in the garbage disposal around with a broom or mop handle. After removing the broom or mop (or other tool), press the little “RESET” button under the garbage disposal. Next, try turning the garbage disposal on by using the regular switch. If it still does not work, call us and we will call a plumber to fix it. If you are found to be responsible for the clog, you will be charged for the plumber’s visit.
What do I do when my sink, tub, or shower is clogged?
Call us. If you are found to be responsible, the bill for the plumber will be passed onto you.
What do I do if there is a leak in my roof?
We suggest finding the lowest point in the ceiling — generally, where the leak is found — and then inserting a sharp object (scissors, nail, etc.) to make a small hole. Be sure you have a bucket or other container in place, to catch the water. This should limit the amount of water-damage to the ceiling. Then call the office and we will arrange for repairs A.S.A.P.
What if I want to install a dishwasher, or an Air Conditioning Unit?
You must get permission from the ownership/management in writing. If approval is granted, the unit must remain in the apartment after move-out. The owner is not obligated to reimburse for this out of pocket expense. California State Law provides that anything connected to the property or built in becomes the property of the owner. Any installations need to be done by a licensed, insured and approved vendor.