An Open Letter to Tenants of Rental Property

Dear Tenants,

I would love to discuss a couple of items before you rent from us at Ad Astra Realty, Inc here in the Kansas City area…and beyond.

  • We really do not want to keep your deposit.
  • We are not perfect but we are human beings.
  • Do not file an application, pay the fee and ask for your money back when you don’t rent with us.

We seem to have three kinds of tenants… and heck, I fell under one of these when I was a tenant many years ago.  In fact, I remember once that the landlord called and said they’d be keeping all of our deposit for damages.  And you know what, he was right.  We were not great tenants. I was young, single and didn’t fully respect the man’s property.  Here’s the thing; I didn’t blame him.  I took responsibility. Here are the three tenants we tend to work with…

  1. Get all their deposit back.
  2. Get most of their deposit back.
  3. Get none of their deposit back.

A great many of our tenants get all of their deposits back.  The house is reasonably in the same condition as when they leased the property the previous year, or two or three…save normal wear and tear.  Normal wear and tear includes, but is not limited to, the carpet being worn down by walking patterns or the walls getting a little dirtier or the blinds starting to sag.  Normal wear and tear does not include chunks of wall being torn out on move in or move out, or your pet urinating on the carpet in twenty different places, breaking stove tops, etc.

When we are required to keep some or all of a tenant’s deposit the owner is the one who almost always loses out.  Most deposits do not actually cover the damages done because what most people do not take in to account is that while the work has to be done to repair the damages the owner cannot rent the property.  Therefore, there is a time loss.  And, as we all know, time is money.

As for disputing your deposit, should we keep any, we are happy to discuss.  We do a very extensive move in- move out report that you have access to on your move in, and your move out.  We take pictures of everything.  This is to your advantage, and ours.

For me to sit here and tell you that we are perfect, well, that just wouldn’t be true.  We can miss things.  So if you have a challenge with us, let us know.  The best way is in writing, therefore we both have a record.  If you feel strongly about something, set up a time to discuss the matter.  Heck, you may be right!!!

Calling and immediately cussing at us because we kept your deposit because of damages, well, it is a non-starter. So is threatening to sue right off the bat.  Once you threaten to sue, our conversation is over.  We will simply advise you to contact your attorney and they will contact us.  Once that happens, we will forward it to our attorney.  There can be no more discussion between us.  Your attorney will advise the same.

When you submit an application you trigger a series of events that cost both time and money.  If you take the fees we pay for the credit and background checks and combine them with the time our employees take to sift, review and verify, we actually don’t even cover our costs.  So when we continually hear that our Application Fees are a scam, I know immediately this is someone who has never owned a business.  And that is fine.  Yet, on our listings, on our online application forms and before you hit APPROVE, you will see something very similar to this…

We never encourage anyone to apply for a home before seeing the inside of any property, as the $35 application fee is non-refundable. Without first touring the home, you truly will not know if it going to work for you. Applying for a property and paying a $35 non-refundable application fee before viewing it, is completely at your discretion.

Look, we know it is a super heated rental market and FOMO makes people make decisions they would not otherwise make.  Yet, if you choose several times to read this and move forward then how can it possibly be a scam on our part to get your $35.00?  Apply if would like to rent from us. However, we cannot incur the costs you initiate and then give you your money back if you don’t like the result.

Now, as with everything, there certainly may be a circumstance now and again where we will refund an application fee. Maybe it was a mistake on our part on the listing or maybe we told you a property was available then the owner reversed the decision.  We are happy to listen and examine.

Fundamentally, owning and renting housing is a business.  We are not the owners off the properties we manage.  Most of our owners are people hoping to retire one day and use owning income property as one of he vehicles to make sure they can retire.  The owners make money when they provide clean safe housing and the tenants pay their rent on time and don’t damage the house beyond normal living wear and tear.

And tenants, you want your deposits back, right?  Help us help you.  By signing the lease you are agreeing to the rules that the will govern our relationship.  Take care of the property.  Ask us to do the same when you have a maintenance concern.  Do that and we will got to bat for you, as we have in the past, if the owner doesn’t want to fix something or feels we should be keeping the deposit when they don’t rightfully have a leg to stand on.  The landlord-tenant relationship doesn’t have to be one of tension and controversy.  For most of our owners and tenants, especially when each party is looking to keep their end of the bargain, things go pretty darned smoothly.



Chris Lengquist
Ad Astra Realty, Inc

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