Whether you are new to the Washington metropolitan area or a life-long resident, Stuart & Maury can assist you in finding just the right property to lease.
First, we typically manage 80+ properties located in the prime neighborhoods of Bethesda, Chevy Chase, and Northwest, D.C. Our knowledge of these neighborhoods is unsurpassed. In fact, over 20 of our full-time real estate agents live in these close-in communities and are very knowledgeable and interested in these communities. Our company’s sales department is extremely active in these areas and we drive past these properties every day of our lives. This insight is invaluable when you are coming from another part of the country, or another part of the globe, and are unfamiliar with the area. Whether it’s information on the school system, recreation, transportation, culture or the arts, a Stuart and Maury’s property management team can provide you or direct you to the source of the information you need.
Overview of Leasing – Choosing an agent
Selecting the right property to lease is an important decision and one with many future ramifications. We encourage you to review the section in our web site on Agency and engage a professional Realtor with our firm. Not only will you be assisted by a knowledgeable agent who will assist you in finding a suitable property, but you will also know that you will be treated honestly and fairly. Stuart & Maury is committed to meeting both the letter and the spirit of the fair housing laws.
Selecting a Property
After an initial fact finding interview, our experienced staff will search the available properties for rent. We will not only review the properties we may have available in-house, but will also conduct a search of available properties in the Metropolitan Regional Information System (MRIS), the largest database of regional real estate information in the world, providing us with access to information on properties available from literally thousands of agents and hundreds of firms serving the Washington metropolitan area. Utility information, including the average expenditures during the past year on any given property are available by contacting the respective utility companies. A list of the most commonly requested utility numbers are listed at the end of this section.
Lead Based Paint
Many houses and apartments built before 1978 (which is most of the close-in Washington area) have paint that contains lead (called lead-based paint). Lead from paint, chips, and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly. As of December 6, 1996, federal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renting, buying, or renovating pre-1978 housing. Landlords have to disclose known information on lead-based paint hazards before leases take effect. Leases will include a federal form about lead based paint. The State of Maryland also has guidelines and regulation protecting tenants and affecting the leasing of residential housing. For further information on these requirements, call the National Lead Information Clearinghouse at 1-800-424-LEAD and see the information on Lead and Real Estate at this web site.
Submitting an Application
Once we have identified a suitable propert, your Stuart & Maury representative will assist you in submitting an application to the owner or property management company. Of course, the basic information on the terms of the proposed lease are submitted (i.e., the rent, length of stay, security deposit, etc.) as well as information on your employment and your financial background. Although terms vary from owner to owner and firm to firm, Stuart & Maury typically requires a security deposit of one and one-half month’s rent. Stuart & Maury’s application and credit report fee is $25 per applicant. Other firms may charge a higher processing fee. These separate checks are collected at the time of application. In the event an application is turned down the original security deposit check is promptly returned to the applicant. Applicants authorize a credit checks to be performed. If an applicant is turned down due to a financial issue, applicants will not receive a copy of the credit report received by the property management company. Fortunately, there are strict laws about the privacy of credit information. If you wish to have a copy of the credit report you must contact the credit agency directly to obtain a copy.
Signing a Lease
Once your application for rent has been approved the owner or property management company will prepare a lease for all applicants to sign. Until a lease is delivered to the applicant the property is technically available. The rental market in the Washington area changes very quickly and you are encouraged to move swiftly to secure a lease on the property you are interested in. Making a timely and complete application, followed by promptly returning the signed lease will make the process go smoothly. A lease is a legal contract. You are strongly encouraged to read the lease in detail to avoid confusion and misunderstandings about your and the landlord’s obligations.
On the day your lease begins you will typically submit to the owner or property manager any rent due for the upcoming month (or pro-rata portion) and receive the keys. We encourage you to inspect the property carefully and submit a written list to the owner or property manager of any deficiencies or damage that may exist. Also, before moving in, confirm that the utilities have been placed into your name. Please refer to the list of utility companies below for phone numbers. Please also remember to obtain renter’s insurance in order to insure your personal belongings from damage during your stay. This is often an overlooked requirement of the typical lease.
Communication between the tenant and the owner is vital. Small problems can mushroom very quickly if communication breaks down between the owner and the tenant. Problems encountered should be reported promptly to the owner, or in the case of a property management company, to the property manager. Clarify with the property manager when the rent is due and where payments are to be made. Periodically, issues will occur and if both parties have kept the lines of communication open resolving them quickly and smoothly will be possible.
Washington Metropolitan Area Utilities
If you are interested in what the average utility bills for any given property are, you can call the public utilities listed below and request the following information: Average, High, and Low bills for the previous 12 months.
Washington Gas (703) 750-1500
PEPCO (electric) (202) 833-7500
WSSC (water) (301) 206-4001