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Resident Frequently Asked Questions

1
What do you consider in the Qualifying Process?
09-17-2015
11-20-2017

Residence History:

How have you treated your past landlords or mortgage companies?

We look at your last 2 years of residency for positive, verifiable, history. No evictions or judgements in the last 5 years.  We ask your landlords about late payments, NSF checks, warrants, complaints, unauthorized pets or occupants and condition of the property when you left. We also verify that notice has been given and that you did not leave with a balance due or collection account. If any history comes back in a negative way, you can be declined or we may have your pay an additional security deposit if other positive factors are considered.

Have you owned a home and paid a mortgage?

The payment history will be on your credit report and we will not have to call the lender.

Employment/Income:

Do you have verifiable income of three (3) or more times the monthly rent?

We will contact your employer to verify your position, income and length of time with the company.  Since many employers will not verify your income over the phone, you can show 2 recent original pay stubs to quicken this process and we will photocopy them for the application. If your recent employment is a new job, you can show an original offer letter on letterhead to verify income and we will photocopy it for the application.

What if I am self-employed?

If you are self –employed, instead of pay stubs you can provide the following: (1) 2 banking statements showing deposits and monthly balances for each month, (2) a copy of a most current year’s tax return with an accountant’s signature, or (3) 1 or more 1099’s showing income for contract work.

What if I need a guarantor?

A Lease Guarantor Agreement from a qualified guarantor may be acceptable if applicant is classified as a student, is not at least 18 years of age or has no verifiable prior rental or home ownership history. We do not accept guarantors unless they reside in Texas, meet all rental qualifying criteria and can proof of income of at least six (6) times the monthly rent.

What if have other sources of verifiable income?

Social Security, retirement or pension, trust funds, disability payments, substantial savings accounts, spousal or child support, and second jobs may be considered acceptable sources of income when written verification is available. Tips or cash paid income can only be counted toward the gross income with verification from the employer in writing.

Credit Report:

How you have paid your past obligations?

Payment history, the amount of debt and amount of credit available is generally revealed in your credit report. We pull the credit reports and credit scores of all adults 18 years of age and over who will occupy the home. Applicants with credit scores above 600 that meet income and residency requirements generally are approved with security deposits of one month’s rent. Applicants that have weak credit scores, recent bankruptcies, collections or slow payment history generally can be approved, but may be required to pay higher security deposits after evaluation of income and residency. If you know you have bad credit, be prepared... you may need to pay a deposit in the amount of 2 months' rent or more to offset the risk to the owner.

Criminal Background Report:

Are criminal background checks done?

A criminal history check will be obtained to verify the information you provide on the Lease Application.  The decision to lease the property to you may be influenced by the information contained in the report.  We abide by principles of equal opportunity, and welcome all responsible renters into our homes.  Upon receipt of the rental applications and screening fee, landlord will conduct a search of public records to determine whether the applicant or any proposed tenant has been convicted of, or pled guilty to or no-contest to, any crime.  Your application will be subject to denial if our search establishes the following:

  1. A conviction, guilty plea or no-contest plea, ever for child sex crimes; or
  2. A conviction, guilty plea or no-contest plea, within the last seven years for: any felony involving serious injury, kidnapping, death, arson, rape, sex crimes, or drug-related offenses (sale, manufacture, delivery or possession with the intent to distribute) class A felony burglary or class A felony robbery; or
  3. A conviction, guilty plea or no-contest plea within the last seven years for any other felony charges not addressed in b) above ; or
  4. A conviction, guilty plea or no-contest plea, within the last seven years for: any misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor involving assault, intimidation, sex related, drug related (sale, manufacture, delivery or possession) property damage or weapons charges; or
  5. A conviction, guilty plea or no-contest plea, within the last 2 years for: any class B or C misdemeanor in the above categories or any misdemeanors involving criminal trespass, theft, dishonesty or prostitution.
  6. A multiple offender

Pending charges or outstanding warrants for any of the above will result in a suspension of the application process until the charges are resolved.  Upon resolution, if an appropriate unit is still available, the processing of the application will be completed.  No unit will be held waiting resolution of pending charges.  Our service also checks the terrorist watch list.

Our service also checks the terrorist watch list.  

Other Requirements:

  • Valid photo identification, either a state driver’s license or state photo identification card is required with the application.
  • Valid Social Security Card, or Resident Alien Card, Work Visa or Passport is required to show legality in the United States.
  • All adults (18 and over) are required to be on the application and the lease with the above identification provided. Children, ages 17 and under do not have to provide social security numbers on the application, but we do require the names and birth dates if they are to occupy the premises.

Failure to provide accurate information:

Your failure to accurately provide complete and verifiable information will be considered when making the decision to lease the property.  Providing false or misleading information will be grounds for immediate disqualification.

At Time of Application:

  • Non-Refundable Application Fee is charged for each adult applicant payable by credit card, money order or cashier’s check.
  • Upon approval of your application, the rental deposit is required to take the property off the market.  This rental deposit is usually equal to one month’s rent and this deposit will be converted to security deposit at move-in.

At Time of Move-In:

  • Rent Payment: Payable at move-in.
  • Security Deposit: Any additional security deposit is payable at move-in.
  • Pet Deposit:  Any deposit required for pets is payable at move-in.
2
Why should I rent from your company?
09-17-2015
12-02-2015

Bigham & Associates, LLC has supplied quality homes to tenants in the Austin Area since 1987.  We have served hundreds of residents with good properties and a great maintenance response system. We know the landlord/ tenant laws and know how to protect both your rights and the landlord’s interest in a rental situation.

Working directly with owners can be risky.  Their conduct is not under the scrutiny of regulatory agencies the way real estate brokers are and how they manage your security deposit is anyone’s guess. There may not be escrow accounts safely holding your deposit and getting it back is often a hassle. Many owners are looking out for their own interests and cannot be unemotional about managing their property.  Protecting your rights is seldom their priority as it is with a licensed broker. 

Bigham & Associates, LLC is a licensed real estate broker specializing in residential property management and subject to all the requirements of the Texas Real Estate Commission.  We are members of the National Association of Residential Property Managers® and subscribe to a strict code of ethics. We are also members of the National Association of Realtors®, the Texas Association of Realtors®, and Austin Board of Realtors® and we must protect and promote our clients’ interests while treating all parties honestly. 

When you rent from Bigham & Associates, LLC:

  • You will be offered a clean, well maintained property to call your home.
  • You will be treated as a valued customer.
  • You receive a written lease so there will be no surprises or misunderstandings.
  • An initial condition report is completed prior to your move in.
  • You are provide a detailed Move-in and Move-out Inventory form for you to document your home’s condition at move in to avoid security deposit misunderstandings at move out.
  • Your management team is available to answer your questions.
  • We offer 24-hour emergency maintenance service.
  • You can request maintenance/repairs through your tenant portal on our website.
  • Your maintenance requests are handled promptly by qualified service personnel to ensure that work is done right.  
  • You can pay your rent online through your tenant portal at our website.
  • As a Texas licensed real estate broker specializing in professional property management, we are regulated by the state to assure you will be provided with fair and proper treatment.
  • All members of our management team are Texas licensed real estate professionals.
  • Your deposit is handled fairly and lawfully.
  • We are happy to act as a reference for you when you apply for loans.
3
Are pets allowed?
09-17-2015
12-02-2015

Although we are pet friendly in most properties, we do not accept any dangerous pets, exotic pets or aggressive breeds of dogs.  Also excluded is any pet with a prior history of biting and/or causing bodily injury or property damage.  Applicants with pets should attach color pictures and veterinarian’s statement documenting dog’s breed and records from pet’s veterinarian showing that shots are current and if the animal is spayed or neutered.  A pet deposit will be charged for each acceptable pet and for each aquarium 5 gal. or larger (deposit based on size of aquarium).  

4
Am I a client or customer?
11-11-2015
12-11-2015

The Texas Real Estate Commission requires every Texas Real Estate Licensee to disclose Information About Brokerage Services to prospective clients or customers during the first conversation of substance or first face to face meeting.  The TREC IABS 1-0 information form explains the fiduciary obligations the licensee has to a client or a customer.  A client is someone that has signed a Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement, Property Management Agreement or Sale/Lease Listing Agreement with the Broker and the Broker is then working in the best interests of the client.  If there is no representation agreement, the prospect is a Customer, but is still to be treated honestly by the Agent or Broker.

5
Does a property manager need a real estate license in the state of Texas?
11-11-2015
11-11-2015

Does a property manager need a real estate license in Texas?

Texas Real Estate Commission requires real estate license for property management

Remember, the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) requires a person to be licensed, if that person, on behalf of another:

  • Leases,
  • Offers to lease,
  • Negotiates or attempts to negotiate the lease of real estate,
  • Lists or offers to list real estate for lease,
  • Aids or attempts to aid in locating or obtaining real estate for lease,
  • Procures or assists in procuring a prospect to effect the lease of real estate,
  • Procures or assists in procuring property to effect the lease of real estate, or
  • Controls the acceptance or deposit of rent from a resident of a single-family residential real property unit.

and does so in exchange for, or with expectation of receiving, a commission or other valuable consideration. 

6
What is your private policy?
11-11-2015
11-11-2015

1. What is personal information?

Personal information is:
(1)    information in a consumer report; or
(2)    an individual’s first name or initial and last name in combination with any of the following:
    (a)    birth date;
    (b)    social security number or other government issued identification number;
    (c)    mother’s maiden name;
    (d)    unique biometric data (fingerprint, voice print, retina image);
    (e)    unique electronic identification number our routing code;
    (f)    telecommunication access devices including debit or credit card information; or
    (g)    financial institution account or information.

A consumer report is a report related to a person’s credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living prepared by or obtained from an agency that collects such information such as a credit reporting agency.

2. How is personal information collected?

This company obtains personal information in the following ways:
(1)    in consumer reports from reporting agencies to which this company subscribes in connection with lease applications, loan applications, or for other reasons that the consumer may authorize this company to obtain;
(2)    in lease applications a prospective tenant completes;
(3)    in loan applications a borrower or buyer completes;
(4)    in other real estate related forms the customer or client completes in or related to a transaction; and
(5)    in tax reporting forms that the customer or client is required to complete and which are given to this company.

When completing the forms required above, the customer or client may send the information to this company by mail, fax, personal delivery, or by e-mail.  Customers or clients may occasionally provide personal information to this company or its agents by other means such as telephone calls, fax messages, or e-mail messages in order expedite a transaction in which the customer or client is involved.

3. How and when is the personal information used?

Personal Information from Prospective Tenants: The personal information that prospective tenants provide to this company is primarily used to obtain consumer reports (credit checks).  It may also be used to perform background checks and rental history searches.  We may use this information in the process of verifying statements made on your rental application, such as your rental, credit and employment history.  We may also use the information when reviewing any lease renewal.  We may also use it to assist us in obtaining payment from you for any money you may owe us in the future.  The information in the consumer reports may be discussed with landlords for whom this company manages property.  This company also reports information to credit reporting agencies and uses personal information to complete those reports.  

Personal Information from Owners of Properties Managed by the Company: When this company acts as a property manager for a property owner, the company uses the property owner’s personal information only: (a) to deliver the required management services; (b) to file any required reports with governmental agencies (for example, the IRS); or (c) for other purposes the property owner may authorize.

Personal Information from Clients: When this company represents a person (buyer, seller, landlord, or tenant) in a transaction the agent servicing the client may, on the client’s behalf and at the client’s instruction, convey personal information he or she provides to the agent to service providers (for example, mortgage lenders and title companies) as those service providers may require for the products or services the client needs or requests.  If this company represents a prospective tenant in a lease transaction, the personal information may, on the tenant’s behalf and with the tenant’s knowledge, be discussed with and provided to landlords or their agents.  This company and its agents exercise reasonable discretion when discussing any personal information with others.

4. How is the personal information protected?

Written files in this company are protected under lock and key and security alarm system. 

Electronic records are protected under an access name and password assigned to persons in this company.

This company and its agents exercise reasonable discretion when discussing any personal information with others and releases personal information to others only as described by this policy.

This company does not permit its employees or agents to make copies of consumer reports or records of insurance claims.  The consumer reports retained in the company’s files are not to be accessed in the future as a convenience to customers or clients.

The individual agents that work with this company are independent contractors and the agent with whom a customer or client works with may maintain a separate transaction file.  The company instructs its agents to not permit other persons to access the personal information in files the agents maintain.  The company instructs its agents to protect the personal information in the agents’ files in the same manner as described in this policy. 

5. Who has access to the personal information?

The following persons have access to personal information in this company’s files:
(1)    the agent or broker who is servicing or coordinating the transaction;
(2)    the office manager to whom the agent reports; and
(3)    the owner of the company.

Property owners for whom the company manages properties do not have access to personal information in the company’s files.  However, the company and its agents may discuss the information in a tenant’s consumer report or lease application with a property owner.  Copies of such information are provided to the landlord only: (1) with the tenant’s consent; or (2) if the company ceases to be the property manager and the landlord requests that the files be sent to the landlord, the landlord’s attorney, or the new property manager.

Personal information from a buyer, seller, landlord, or tenant may be discussed with others (such as mortgage lenders or prospective landlords) only as is reasonably necessary to negotiate or close the transaction or to provide the services the customer or client seeks from this company.

This company may, at the customer’s or client’s request, provide personal information to service providers in a transaction such as a title company or mortgage company if it is necessary to expedite or complete a transaction.

If the company is required by law to allow others to access the personal information in the company’s files, the company will comply with the law (for example, compliance with court orders, subpoenas, or governmental investigations).  The company will also allow law enforcement agencies access to personal information in order to cooperate with such investigations.

6. How is the personal information disposed?

This company uses reasonable measures to dispose of personal information.  Personal information is usually disposed of by shredding or burning documents, erasing electronic files by means that make the files unreadable or undecipherable, or by eradicating personal information from documents or electronic files in ways that make the personal information unreadable.

7. Erroneous Records:

If this company erroneously reports information to a consumer reporting agency, the company will act to correct the information in the company’s records and request the reporting agency to correct the information in its records promptly after the company has learned and determined that the report was in error.

If this company maintains an erroneous record that a consumer has issued a dishonored check, the company will promptly delete the record after the company and consumer agree that the information is in error or after the consumer provides the company with a law enforcement agency report stating that the dishonored check was not authorized.

8. Locator and Leasing Agent Services:

If you found us through a locator service or leasing agent, please be aware that these services are independent contractors and are not our employees – even though    they may initially process rental applications and/or fill out lease forms.  For your protection, you should require that these services furnish you their privacy policies, as well.

Notice: Bigham & Associates, LLC asks any person who provides personal information to this company or one of its agents to identify the information at that time as “personal information.”