Best Practices

Part of the mission of Narragansett2100 is to provide a forum for landlords and property
managers to share their thoughts, concerns and ideas to better improve the Narragansett
community. We continue to receive many great comments and suggestions from our
members and have re-issued this document of ‘Best Practices for Landlords’. We offer
suggestions that you may want to consider improving your rental experience.
One of the most important aspects of renting property is the rental lease. It protects both the landlord and the tenant. For those of you who do not use a property manager/rental agency, we have reviewed realtors’ leases and provide these important items for you to consider in your lease. If you do not want to be involved with and interact with students, then it is best to hire a property manager/rental agency. Narragansett 2100 highly recommends that all landlords use the services of a property manager. Having a local property manager is like having another set of eyes on your property. They can detect problems sooner that most landlords. It is money well spent. Do not rent your house out in September and just return at the end of the academic year. Be a responsible landlord. We have provided the benefits of using a property manager/rental agent and a listing of them in Appendix 2.
BEST PRACTICES FOR LANDLORDS – GENERAL

1. You must complete a Narragansett Rental Registration form each year. Look for updated forms and fill them out completely. Go to http://www.narragansettri.gov, click on departments, building inspections, and rental registrations form link. This form is due by December 31 of each year. If you miss this deadline, you will incur a $300.00 fine.

2. If you live out of state and own rental property in the state of Rhode Island, the State
requires that you complete a “designation of agent” for out of state landlord form. It is found at http://sos.ri.gov/documents/business/misc/34-18-22.pdf. It should be mailed to the Narragansett Town Clerk, Narragansett Town Hall, 25 5th Ave., Narragansett, RI 02882.
3. If you rent your property for less than 30 days and collect the income yourself, you need to register with the state and collect, report and submit a 7% R.I. State sales tax and 1% hotel/motel tax on your rental income. You must collect taxes on the cleaning and pet fees. Use this link to review Q&A’s about the law and to obtain the application you need to submit.
4. Insure that your rental home meets all town rental specifications…that ALL
bedrooms meet the proper fire regulations in terms of egress and smoke and CO2
detectors. This is to protect you in terms of liability and provide a safe environment for
your tenants. Should you have any questions about these, please call the Narragansett
Building Inspector.
Narragansett
2100, Inc.
P.O. Box 3243
Wakefield, RI 02880-0575
Narragansett2100@gmail.com

 


ACADEMIC LEASES
1. An important resource for landlords is the URI Off- Campus Housing webpage…. http://web.uri.edu/commuterhousing/.
It contains a sample lease, information on scams, Narragansett Codes and Regulations and information for students about town ordinances. This site also allows a landlord to advertise their home on this website for a fee of $60 for a 6-month period. Read the ‘Living in Narragansett Guide’ to see what URI is telling students about renting.
It is quite informative and may have things you want to emphasize too.
2. Town ordinance requires that you post next to the front door a copy of the page of the lease which identifies the renters.
3. Provide students with an Initial Condition Check List sheet where they can note any issues they find with the house.
They should complete and return it to you. This protects you at check-out against damages which students claim were issues when they checked-in. It also protects students at check-out for damages which were present at checked-in.
4. State the TOTAL value of the lease so students know that they are responsible for the full amount should any of them leave your house before the end of the lease.
5. Most realtors structure their leases so students pay by semester (due in August for 5 months and due in December for 4 months). This eliminates having to chase students for monthly payments.
6. Narragansett 2100 highly recommends that you end the lease one or two days after graduation. Allowing students to stay longer would just encourage partying. (Neighborhood Quality of Life issue)
7. Charge tenants upfront for the 9 months of trash removal to insure the trash will be picked up every week.
(Neighborhood Quality of Life issue)
7. Identity ALL tenant activities that you prohibit in and around your property and that would result in non-compliance of the lease. Items such as no smoking, no pets, no parking on the lawn, no candles, no climbing on the roof, no kegs, no waterbeds, no fraternity/sorority parties, etc. should be noted in your lease. This will allow you to legally pursue non-compliance of the lease and eviction if necessary.
8. Have parents co-sign/guarantee the lease.
9. When students apply for the lease, review the student’s class, major, G.P.A., and references. These will sometimes but not always, be a predictor of future behavior. Now with social media, review their Facebook accounts as well.
10. Highlight in the lease the specific months of the year when you will be inspecting the house (October, November, December, March, May). Also, allow yourself access at any time by giving a 48-hour notice and immediately if emergency repairs are needed.
11. If your home has oil or propane service that the students are responsible for, require that the tenants sign up for an automatic delivery plan to insure they do not run out of fuel. Have the tenants provide to you the name of their service provider. Be an involved landlord.
12. Many landlords are now requiring that tenants pay for a once a month cleaning service to come in and clean the common areas. This will help maintain the condition of the house and provides you with additional input from your cleaning service as to the condition of the house. It also shows that you are serious about keeping your house neat and clean and in good condition.
13. Include a clause under ‘fees’ which indicates that if the landlord is fined by the state or town for any ordinances that the tenants violate, these fees will be passed on to them. Put a clause in the lease stating that if there are events that result in an orange sticker or recourse by U.R.I., you reserve the right to void the lease and all deposits being forfeited.
If you find the above suggestions complicated or cumbersome, Narragansett 2100 HIGHLY recommend that you hire a professional property manager. These companies handle all the items identified above and more.
There management charge will be well worth it if a major problem happens at your property.

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TIPS ON STUDENT RENTING
Remember that you are competing for the student’s rental business. Student always look at several houses before they
make their decision. Houses in the best condition will rent first.
1. KNOW YOUR STUDENTS! Review their references, class year, GPA, majors, work history, references from prior landlords/school resident assistants. In this age of social media, it is important to review a student’s social media posts.
2. Provide a fully supplied home including an ample supply of dinnerware, glassware, pots, pans, and cooking utensils in good condition.
3. Bedrooms should have mattresses in good condition, with lamps and bureaus. Queen size beds are a plus. Consider placing your mattress within a mattress encasement system. This system will protect the mattress for a longer period than just a mattress cover. They also protect against bed bugs.
4. Providing vacuum cleaner, brooms, mops, dust pans, cleaning supplies and light bulbs will encourage students to clean.
5. Provide a fenced in area for garbage bins with attached lids to prevent animals and unsightly trash on your property.
You can be cited for unsightly trash on the lawn. The wind in coastal Narragansett can be stronger at times than inland areas. Provide recycle containers marker with your address. (Neighborhood Quality of Life issue)
6. Provide up to date and functioning smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
7. Post a “Welcome” note to students on refrigerator which tells them about the house, important numbers and specific check-in instructions. (See Sample – Appendix 3)

8. Provide students with an “end of year” notice informing them what steps they will need to take at the year end of the lease term and what steps you will take once they leave. (See Sample – Appendix 4)

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RELATIONSHIP BUILDING WITH STUDENTS
1. Meet with the students when they sign the lease. Go over your expectations of them and any ‘quirks’ about the house that they should know. Let them know that you are a real person and that this is ‘your’ home.
2. Provide your students with a house you would want to live in yourself. This means a clean and neat interior, good curb appeal, decent furniture, appliances, etc. If the house is a dump, it will be treated that way.
3. Be present on move-in day to meet the students and their parents. Make it known ahead of time you want to meet them. Set a time.
• Walk through the house with the students and highlight important items (i.e. breaker panel, washer/dryer operation, thermostats & recommended winter heat setting, lids on garbage cans, garbage pickup days, etc.). If you have a locked room for personal storage that’s off limits to them, show the students what’s inside to not only help establish mutual trust, but also so they don’t wonder.
• Have a formal discussion during or after the walk through to establish mutual expectations. Refer to your house as a home.

1. Expectations from students include proper behavior and basic home maintenance and care, respect of neighbors/neighborhood, prompt communication with you regarding ANY issues or concerns.

2. Expectations they should have of you as the owner, including prompt response to concerns they raise, respect for privacy and right to have fun in a responsible way. Also, reinforce that you will not make unannounced visits. This is another good way to establish mutual respect and trust.

3. Leave documentation behind which includes the “important items” as mentioned above. Include garbage and recycling info, important contacts (your contact information, utilities, garbage), local parking ordinances, noise ordinances, etc. Put these in a checklist form and have them all initial it after you have reviewed it with them.
• Treat students as mature individuals until they give you a reason not to. Always maintain a respectful and professional demeanor, regardless of the circumstance.

4. Post a list of the house rules (Don’ts) in red ink next to the front door of the house.

5. Post a list of the local ordinances including, for their own protection, the procedure (police phone number) should a
party get out of control.

6. Parents are a wonderful resource when it comes to problem students. Call them with issues and consider starting the conversation with: “I’m not calling to complain, I’m calling for help.”

7. Ask students to complete the Initial Inspection Check List and take pictures of anything they discover to be damaged or in need of repair (i.e. a door knob hit the back of the wall and made a hole that went unnoticed) and have them send it to you in an email within 24 hours of move in . This will document the existing conditions and eliminates
questions at the end of the year. It is also suggested that you photograph all rooms shortly before they move in with dated photographs.

8. Provide a reminder notice to students prior to the Winter and Spring breaks to remind them to keep heat at 60 degrees and to leave a lamp on a timer so the house is not dark.

9. Provide students with a move-out notice before final exams at the end of the school year. (See Appendix A for a sample)

10. Remind them about local ordinances relating to parties (open container, social hosting, noise levels, parking on lawns, street restrictions, etc.) Also, remind them about procedures to follow if parties get out of control.

NOISE CONTROL (Neighborhood Quality of Life issue)
1. Be in touch with police. Let them know you want to work with them and find out what they need from you. Be sure they have your contact information or that of your property manager, and make sure you and your property manager are on the same page as to what you expect of them if a problem arises.

2. If you can drive by your house(s) on a regular basis, do so. Choose a Friday or Saturday night along with special dates such as fall check-in, Homecoming, Halloween, Greek Week, Cinco de Mayo, Senior Week, etc.

TOWN ORDINANCES (Appendix 1)

Please review the town ordinances with your tenants which are strictly enforced.
RELATIONSHIP BUILDING WITH NEIGHBORS (Neighborhood Quality of Life issue)

1. Develop a genuine relationship with your neighbors. Give them your contact information and allow them to contact you at any time with any questions or concerns. If they do, address them immediately.

2. Encourage students to introduce themselves to the neighbors shortly after move-in and give the neighbors a number to call should they have issues before they call the police. Neighbors can be a great asset to you.

3. Encourage students to solve any issues they have with neighbors directly, and whether they are successful or not, to
notify you immediately of the issue and the outcome. Follow up with the neighbor.

SUMMER RENTALS

1. If you rent your property for 30 days or less and do not use a rental property manager, you must apply for a Sales Tax permit from the RI Division of Taxation and file sales and hotel/motel tax returns monthly. If your rental property manager collects the rents, he or she is responsible for remitting sales and hotel/motel taxes.

2. Include in your lease total, the 7% RI sales tax and the 1% hotel/motel tax which is applied on the rental amount. This total 8% tax must be applied to cleaning fees as well as pet fees, if offered in your rental.

3. Make sure you register with the state if you are an out of state landlord. If so, you must designate an in-state rental agent and notify the town as to the agent.

4. Although issues occur during the winter rental period, they also can occur during the summer rental period. Summer issues sometimes involve overcrowding, loud noise and damages. Be sure to include any restrictions; like no pets, no smoking, no RVs, no boats, no parking on the lawns, no fireworks, etc. in your summer lease. During the summer, more property owners occupy their academic rental homes. Therefore, there is an increased concern in the neighborhoods about loud noise. Please emphasize that with your tenants. (Neighborhood Quality of Life issue)

5. Damages can occur during the summer as well, so you may wish to consider charging a damage deposit.
6. Summer renters should be informed of the town ordinances. Summer renters can also receive an orange sticker!

7. Renters are now looking for free wireless internet, cable, flat screen TV’s, air conditioning, queen size beds, gas grilles, beach chairs and toys. Providing these will increase the attractiveness of your rental.

8. If you utilize an online website booking service such as HomeAway or VRBO to rent your house during the summer rental period, please be aware that scammers can lift your house pictures and advertise your rental on other unregulated sites such as Craig’s List. To avoid unpleasant situations with your actual renters and victims of a scam,
add a statement in your online description that you only advertise your house on the website you utilize.

APPENDIX 1

Narragansett Town Ordinances

ORDINANCE FEE
1. Disturbing the peace (disturbing neighbors) $500/person
2. Being a public nuisance $500
3. Urinating in public $500
4. Public consumption of alcohol OR possession of $500
an open container
5. Serving, providing or allowing alcohol (social hosting $500
violation)
6. Transportation of alcohol by underage person $500
7. Orange stickers may result in fines and court appearances.
Second police visit to orange sticker home. $500/person
8. Parking violations will result in towing of vehicle

APPENDIX 2
Benefits of A Property Manager/Rental Agency

What a property manager/rental agency does:
• Interact with tenants, parents, URI officials, police officials, fire officials, and the building inspector if issues arise
regarding your rental.
• Provides first line of defense with students and police to resolve issues quickly.
• Check tenants in and out at the beginning and end of rental periods.
• Collect all rental deposits and balances.
• Collect and submit all necessary RI sales and hotel taxes.
• Collect and administer security deposits.
• Arrange for expedited repairs/service using their vast portfolio of various LICENSED & INSURED local service vendors/business affiliates. This will only take place after owner consent is received.
• Physically inspect rentals each semester in the winter rental period.
• Coordinate cleanings between summer check in/out.
• Conduct weekly property inspections in the summer rental period
• Report major issues/concerns.

Contact List of Property Managers
1. Ann O’Brien Realty, 196 Ocean Rd, Narragansett, RI 401-782-3900
2. Durkin Realty, 817 Pt. Judith Rd, Narragansett, RI 401-789-6659
3. Homestead Properties, 483 Boston Neck Rd, Narragansett, RI 401-782-9800
4. Lila Delman, 41 Ocean Rd, Narragansett 401-789-6666
5. Narragansett Property Management, 140 Pt. Judith Rd, Narragansett 401-783-1155
6. Residential Properties, 750 Boston Neck Rd, Narragansett 401-783-2474

APPENDIX 3

(Sample) Student ‘Welcome Letter’ Posted
Welcome!
I hope you have a great school year. My house is yours to enjoy but also to respect! I expect that it will remain in its current condition when you leave in May.
Here are a few CRITICAL things to remember:
1. You must call National Grid (800-322-3223) before XXXXXXXX to put the electric service in your name. If you don’t, it will be disconnected.
2. Call National Grid (800-322-3223) before XXXXXXX to put gas service in your name. If you don’t, it will be disconnected.
3. There is ample parking in the driveway for your cars so DO NOT park on the lawn. DO NOT PARK ON NEIGHBOR’S DRIVEWAY OR LAWN!
4. NO SMOKING IN THE HOUSE.
5. POSITIVELY NO PETS ALLOWED.
6. Respect the neighbors. THIS IS YOUR CUMMUNITY TOO! I would suggest that you introduce yourselves to your neighbors.
7. Please re-read your lease about parties and penalties/fees for them. I have posted the Town ordinances and fees on the front door.
8. Please keep shower curtain in the tub to avoid damage to floor tile and ceilings in the rooms below. We recommend that you use a towel or floor mat on the floor.
9. If you hang things on the walls, please use the ‘putty’ adhesive which can be easily removed.
10. Make sure you clean the area around the outside of the house and keep trash in the cans. Neighbors will call the town building inspector if the area becomes unsightly. This will result in a hefty fine to you.
11. Garbage pick-up will be on Tuesdays from your side yard. Keep the barrels in their corral, keep lids on and bag all garbage. DO NOT bring cans to the curb. Put the blue recycle bin out near the street so it will be picked up.
13. A cleaning woman will contact you to set up your monthly cleaning.
14. If you have any problems, please call your (property manager or owner if no property managers) at XXXXXXX.
Enjoy the House! – OWNER

APPENDIX 4
(Sample) End of Year Student Notice
IMPORTANT NOTICE-PLEASE POST
As the semester ends, here are things that you need to do before you leave in May.
1. If applicable, call National Grid (1-800-322-3223) to take the gas service out of your name. (If oil or propane service, fill the tanks).
2. Transfer electric service out of your name into owner’s name effective the last day you are there. National Grid (1-800-322-3223).
3. Cancel your cable/internet service and return all equipment.
4. Clean up ALL trash from the back and front yards and from between the bushes or you will be charged to have it cleaned up.
5. Start to throw away extra rubbish each week. This will minimize the last large rubbish bill which occurs when you throw everything away before you leave.
6. Remove ALL items that are yours; computer desks, bureaus, etc. If not, you will be charged for me to remove them and dispose of them. Return all beds, bureaus, etc. to their original place where they were in September. If not, you will be charged to move them back.
7. Return all house keys to [Property Manager].
8. After you leave, the house will be inspected. The following will be done and assessed against your damage deposit. You will be given a detail of these. The goal is to return the house to the condition it was in when you moved in less ‘normal’ wear and tear.
A. Replacement of missing light bulbs, broken/missing blinds, broken screens.
B. A complete professional house cleaning including cupboards, appliances, bathrooms, furniture, etc. to return the house to the condition it was in when you came in September. This will include cleaning any trash from the yard.
C. Carpet cleaning/repair if needed.
D. Repair/repaint any walls due to holes/marks occurring during your stay.
E. Additional cost of rubbish pick-up assessed by Narragansett Rubbish. (They charge for extra trash and charge $50 each to take computers, mini refrigerators, TVs, etc.)
F. All repairs required; i.e. replacement of damaged doors, repair car ruts in the yard, etc.
G. Repair/replacement of all furniture damaged or missing.

9. PARTIES
As you approach graduation weekend, just a reminder that the Town of Narragansett issues a $500 fine for the following ordinance violations…disturbing the peace, urinating in public, public consumption of alcohol, serving or providing alcohol (social hosting), transportation of alcohol by a minor OR with a minor in a vehicle, and being a public nuisance (This is defined as “a gathering of five or more persons in a manner which
constitutes a substantial disturbance of a neighborhood).
Good luck on exams