Rental FAQs

Application

How will the information on my application be used?

There are several main criteria looked at when evaluating a tenant application. The criteria are focused mainly on income, credit history, and rental history. The private personal information is not shared with any third party nor is it retained by Eau Claire Realty.


What is my security deposit for?

A security deposit is a deposit of money the landlord keeps on account which could be used to pay for damage caused by the tenant. A security deposit may be returned to a tenant in part or in full at the end of a lease.


What is your pet policy?

Each individual property has its own pet policy, please refer to your individual lease for specific details. Those properties that allow pets have guidelines and those guidelines may vary from property to property. In all cases when pets are allowed additional pet rent is likely to apply.


Do you require renters insurance?

Eau Claire Realty does not require renters insurance for tenants, but we highly encourage and recommend that tenants purchase renter’s insurance. If damage occurs to the property, the owner’s insurance policy does not include any coverage for the contents of the property and only for the structure itself. Renter’s insurance is affordable. It can be purchased easily online or from nearly any insurance agent. 


Can I rent from you without a good credit score?

Yes. A prospective renter without a good credit score may be asked for a co-signer or for a larger security deposit.


Moving In

I want to make changes to my apartment décor. How far can I go?

Please refer to your individual lease for the specific details on what modifications you can make, but the general rule is that no changes can be made to the surfaces themselves. This would include painting and mounting of shelves. Small nails and tacks are allowed. Damage or alterations to the space may result in forfeiture of your security deposit.


What are utilities and how are they paid for?

New renters may wonder what utilities are included, which utilities they are responsible for, and how to go about arranging service and paying bills. Please refer to your lease for the specific details for the property you are leasing.

Electricity: Most tenants are responsible for their unit’s electricity. This includes establishing new service prior to moving in and keeping current with monthly bills. At the time of lease execution, you will be sent Xcel forms to transfer utilities into your name upon lease start date. Xcel Energy is the most common electrical power provider for our properties. Visit their website for service transfer, start, and stop, as well as toll free numbers to call for help by phone.

Heat: Most tenants are responsible for their unit’s heat. This may be covered from your electricity provider due to electric heat or for natural gas. If you are not sure how your unit is heated, ask your property manager.

Garbage: Most tenants are responsible for their individual garbage pick up. The municipality where your unit is located will determine which garbage/recycling haulers serve your area. Your property manager can provide a list of providers for your property.

Water/Sewer: Most tenants are responsible for their individual water/sewer service. Your water and sewer service provider is the municipality where your property is located (City of Eau Claire, City of Altoona, etc.). At the time of lease execution, you will be sent water forms to transfer utilities into your name upon lease start date. If your property is located in a rural area and has a well and septic system you will not be subject to a municipal water and sewer bill, but you will be asked to sign an addendum to your lease with regard to the care of a septic system and your responsibilities as a tenant.

Internet: Tenants are responsible for their individual internet service, if they desire the service. Providers vary based upon location of the property.

Cable TV: Tenants are responsible for individual cable television service. Dish networks which require hardware to be attached to the building are not allowed in properties managed by Eau Claire Realty. Some properties have specific providers and your property manager will share information with you.

Common Area Maintenance: In general, residential tenants are not charged a separate fee for common area maintenance. If one is in effect for your property, it will be outlined in your lease.


Moving In/Moving Out Checklist

We recommend that tenants inspect their unit upon move in and move out. Use this top-down approach to inspect all aspects of your rental:

  • Ceiling – Inspect light fixtures, vents, and the finish of the ceiling for cleanliness and damage
  • Walls – Inspect for damage in all rooms, dust and wash walls, clean windows and window coverings, inspect all doors and windows for damage
  • Fixtures – Inspect all light fixtures, switches, vents, heating/air conditioning units, appliances, cupboards, sinks, counter tops, plumbing fixtures, appliances, and any other items affixed to the unit for damage and cleanliness.
  • Floors – Clean carpets and hard floors, clean floor vents, inspect for damage.

Upon move out tenants will want to be sure the property is left in the same condition it was in upon move in.

When a tenant moves into an Eau Claire Realty unit they will be provided with a check-in form where they can document any damages that are seen. The tenant will have 7 days from receipt of the form (provided on the date of occupancy) to review and return the form to the landlord.


Renter

What kind of exterior maintenance will I be responsible for?

Please refer to your individual lease for the specific details on your exterior maintenance responsibilities. Tenants always have the responsibility to alert the property manager of any maintenance issues, safety hazards, or new problems that occur on the exterior of the property. Tenants have the responsibility to keep their exterior areas free of garbage, pet waste, and personal property.


What interior maintenance is my landlord responsible for and what am I responsible for?

Smoke and/or Carbon Monoxide Detector
Tenant Responsibility: Checking and changing batteries
Property Manager Responsibility: Repairing or replacing malfunctioning units

Appliances
Tenant Responsibility: Clean exterior and interior, vacuum refrigerator coils if applicable, clean oven, keep dryer lint trap and exhaust clear, leave front-load washer open to avoid mildew
Property Manager Responsibility: Everything else

Plumbing
Tenant Responsibility: Minor toilet or drain clogs, regular cleaning
Property Manager Responsibility: Major drain clogs, plumbing leaks, plumbing hardware, and water heater issues.

Heating & Air Conditioning
Tenant Responsibility: Changing air filters monthly, if applicable, replacing thermostat batteries (if applicable), and keeping air vents clean and free from obstruction.
Property Manager Responsibility: Everything else

Light Fixtures
Tenant Responsibility: Changing light bulbs
Property Manager Responsibility: Repairing or replacing malfunctioning units

Other Interior Items
Tenant Responsibility: Regular cleaning, small hardware
Property Manager Responsibility: Structural issues

Pest Control
Tenant Responsibility: Regular pest control for common pests such as ants, spiders, and small rodents
Property Manager Responsibility: Large rodents, bee hives/wasp nests, birds, or common area pests.


How do I pay rent?

Your specific lease will outline how to pay your rent. Rent can be paid by mail or in person at the Eau Claire Realty office (3420 Mall Drive, Suite 4, Eau Claire, WI 54701), dropped at the lock box outside the Eau Claire Realty office door, or paid online through the Appfolio tenant portal. No cash will be accepted. Rent is due the first of the month for the month (January’s rent is due January 1). Review your lease for fees associated with late rent payments.


What is a maintenance emergency?

A maintenance emergency is one that is dangerous, threatens the habitability of the home, or could cause damage to the property.

  • Fire Call 911 immediately then contact us
  • Gas Leak If you small gas, please exit the home and immediately call the fire department. Once the home is safe please contact us.
  • Lack of Heat (only if it poses a documented health risk)
  • Lack of Air Conditioning (only if it poses a documented health risk)
  • Heavy Structural Damage (roof, foundation, or walls)
  • Plumbing (flooding or breakdown of fixtures)

What if my power goes out?

In case of power outage, contact your electrical service provider about the outage. If the outage is not due to the service provider, contact the property manager.


What if I lock myself out?

If you lock yourself out of your rental property you may call a locksmith at your expense or call the landlord and there will be a $50 service charge due at the time you are let in.


How soon can I expect maintenance?

Depending upon the severity of the need and the timing of the issue, the property manager maintenance response time may vary. Non-essential services will be repaired as soon as possible during normal business hours.


Moving Out

How do I get my security deposit back?

To increase your chances of getting your full security deposit back, take exceptional care of your property per your lease agreement. Going the extra mile to leave a place as good as or better than you received it is a good rule of thumb. Thoroughly clean the property when you move out. This includes cleaning appliances, windows, surfaces, and carpets. Most leases indicate that the tenant shall receive the security deposit, less any amounts legally withheld, mailed to their last known address within 21 days after tenant vacates the property.


How do I provide a Notice to Vacate?

A Notice to Vacate must be provided to your property manager in writing. A Notice to Vacate does not release you from your lease agreement. Contact your property manager with specific questions.


I need to move out early and break the terms of my lease. How does this work?

Please refer to your individual lease for the specific details of you lease agreement. We encourage you to contact your property manager as soon as possible when you become aware of a change.


Buyer Consultations

I want to buy a house, but I do not know where to start.

Sitting down with a real estate professional at Eau Claire Realty does not cost you anything! One of our real estate professionals will go through the steps of the home buying process, meeting with a lender, the inspection process and what to expect.


How much does it cost to work with a Real Estate Agent when buying a house?

At Eau Claire Realty we do not charge buyers to represent them and show them properties when purchasing a home through our Multiple Listing Service.


Do I have to sign a contract to work with a real estate agent when buying?

We do suggest signing a Buyers Agency Agreement. This agreement lets us work for you and your best interest. When you view a property with an agent you do not have this contract with, they are legally representing the seller as a sub-agent.


What If I do not like my real estate agent and want out of this Buyer’s Agency Agreement?

Our broker and real estate professionals want you to feel comfortable and will terminate this contract if you are unhappy with our service.


Do I have to be pre-approved to look at a house or can I do that after I find one?

With our current competitive market, you may be competing with other buyers who want to purchase the same house. Sometimes it may take a couple weeks for the lender to process all your information or for you to supply all the information they need. Having your pre-approval ready before beginning your search will put you in a better situation when looking and be a lot less stressful. Being pre-approved is an advantage, but not a requirement.


How much money do I need down to purchase a home?

Great question! This is a big detail your lender will go over with you depending on what loan program you qualify for!


What is Earnest Money?

Earnest Money is a deposit made to a seller that represents a buyer’s good faith to buy a home. Industry standard is about 1% of purchase price and is delivered and deposited with-in 5-7 days of an accepted offer.


Do I have to have a home inspection?

We strongly recommend buyers to have a home inspection done to protect your purchase. We have many great home inspectors in the Chippewa Valley. This is also a question for your lender as some loan programs require a home inspection.


How much does a home inspection cost?

All inspectors have different prices, but you will see roughly between $250 - $350.


What if I have to sell my current house before buying a new house?

This is normal for many buyers/sellers. There are multiple options to speak to a real estate professional about. One significant advantage of working with Eau Claire Realty is we have many rentals that could be an “in between” after you sell and before you buy a new home.


Once I find a house how long does it take to move in?

A typically closing, once an offer is agreed upon, takes 30-45 days depending on the contingencies in the offer to purchase.


How do I set up a buyers consultation with a Real Estate Agent?

Feel free to give us a call at 715.552.1818 Ext. 2 or email us at info@eauclairerealty.com


Still have questions? Send us an email and we'll be happy to get you the info you need!