Tenant screening is a crucial step in property management. We review many elements to determine if an applicant would make an ideal resident for our building. Applying to rent one of our properties includes the following criteria, and is always subject to national, state and local law:
Residents must make a monthly income of 3 times the rent, and be able to verify this source of income through our application system. If you do not have sufficient income but can show savings in excess of two years rent, then you may be accepted with payment of first and last month deposit. Rental assistance, if ongoing, serves to reduce the rents due for purposes of this calculation.
We accept co-signers, provided they can show income in excess of 6x the monthly rent or savings of four years rent.
Applicants must pay a $40 fee at the time of application to run a background check. In order to be approved, no criminal history or evictions may be documented, subject to local law.
Residents must be employed, unless disabled. Employment may be verified with 2 most recent paystubs, offer letter, or employer contact information.
We require a credit report as part of our application. Our minimum credit score is 650.
Applicants with credit scores between 550 and 650 will be considered on a case by case basis, with a qualified co-signer and last month rent deposit. The co-signer must complete a full application and have a credit score above 650, with income of 6x rent or savings of four years’ rent.
Applicants must have positive references from past landlords and no history of late payments, unpaid balances, or evictions. In compliance with Seattle law, we do not consider evictions that occurred during or within the six months following the city of Seattle’s COVID-19 State of Civil Emergency.
Residents must be ready to move-in within two weeks of applying, unless otherwise agreed upon between resident and landlord.
Our goal is provide you with a quiet, clean and high quality home. To do this, we need your help. The following are as summary of our community guidelines and lease terms.
Our building is a quiet residential community. You must not make excess noise at any time, and under no circumstances should make noise that can be heard by other residents between the hours of 10pm and 7am. If ANY noise is heard by your neighbors after 10pm, you will be issued a formal notice which can led to termination.
You may use the common areas as specified in your lease, but you must keep them clean and tidy at all times. There is no cleaning service to clean up after you. If you leave a mess, or trash, in common areas there will be a minimum $50 charge for cleaning. If you have a pet that leaves feces or urine in common areas there will be a minimum charge of $200.
Building entry doors
You are responsible for ensuring the building entry doors always remain closed, for the safety of all residents. Allowing an unauthorized person entry to the building is a serious safety violation and grounds for immediate termination of your lease.
You must not leave personal belongings in hallways, stairwells or common areas. Our staff is instructed to immediately remove and dispose of any personal items found.
You must place all of your trash in the designated dumpsters outside the building. Do not leave trash in the building anywhere. There is a $50 fee for us to remove trash that you have left in the building. You may not leave bulky items near the dumpsters, you must have them professionally hauled yourself. There will be a minimum charge of $200 if hauling has to be arranged, including at move out.
Smoking is not allowed at any times in or near any of our buildings, including in your apartment. There are prohibitions on smoking in your lease and also in the law. Smoking is a violation of this Lease and will lead to immediate termination and a minimum $250 cleaning fee.
Basic apartment maintenance
You must keep your apartment in a clean and hygenic state at all times. Unclogging toilets, replacing lightbulbs and smoke alarm batteries, and checking circuit breakers are your responsibility. We are happy to explain over the phone how to do these things. If you require in person assistance there will be a minimum charge of $50.
We take Seattle’s rental laws very seriously and always keep up to date with changing ordinances. This list is current as of May 2022. Please also refer to the Renting in Seattle web site for more information.
Rent is due on the 1st of each month. There is no grace period. On the 5th of the month there is a late charge of 20% of any unpaid balance, as permitted by local law. We reset rents annually based on market conditions. There is an interest charge of 12% per year on any unpaid balances. We do not raise rents more than 10% annually, other than rents which were set unusually low during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most of our apartments are efficient homes designed for one person. If you are in an apartment and want to have a roommate, we ask for an additional rental charge, generally $95. All residents must be on the lease. If a roommate joins you after you move in, that roommate must apply like any other resident. We will not unreasonably withhold approval of a roommate once they apply.
We use a proportional billing system for all utilities that are not individually metered. Twice a year, on January 1 and July 1st, we reset the utility charges based on actual past usage. Our utility charge is based on single occupancy. There is a 50% surcharge for each additional occupant. Actual utility bills are available for tenants to review at our office, or can be emailed on request.
Our utility charge varies by building and currently ranges from $79 to $115.
Tenant Benefit Package
We offer a mandatory tenant benefit package which is comprised of Internet, Insurance Waiver, and Positive Credit Reporting. These are items that many residents would otherwise buy on their own. Buy buying them together for the entire building, we lower costs and make things simpler. The Tenant Benefit Package is $39 per month for leases starting in 2023.
We aim to provide free wifi for all of our residents as part of our Tenant Benefit Package. We offer a base tier for free and allow residents to upgrade to higher speeds for a charge that you pay directly to the provider. Most of our residents are happy with the free base tier which works well for video calling and streaming videos. Most of our buildings also give you the option to have your own private internet from Comcast or CenturyLink. Please ask your property manager for more information.
We generally allow pets, but you must let us know so we can add it to your lease. If it’s not specified in your lease, you can’t bring a pet onto the property, not even for a visit. We don’t ask for a pet deposit, but we do charge pet rent. Pet rent is $24/month per cat and $44/month per dog. This is to cover the increased wear-and-tear that pets inevitably bring.
In general, we do not require renter’s insurance because have a insurance waiver program in which all of our residents are automatically enrolled as part of the Tenant Benefit Package. This program will cover the cost of any damage to the building based on common causes such as fire, leads, or electrical damage. It may also cover your belongings in such cases. Unlike most tenant-purchase renter’s insurance programs, it generally does not cover any of your items in case of theft. If you wish to have your own personal insurance policy, you may do so. You can learn more about our insurance waiver program at https://rllinsure.com/.
We have a $50 charge for lock outs during business hours, which will be added to your account. For lock outs after business hours, you must call a locksmith and pay the cost directly. If you have lost your keys, you must pay the cost of replacing your locks, generally $100.
Move out and cleaning
Your unit must be professionally cleaned at move-out. You may hire your own cleaner and give us the receipt, or we will clean the unit for you and pass the cost on. For an apartment in good condition, the cost is generally about $145.
Leases and month-to-month tenancy
We prefer to have all of our residents on leases. We may reach out to you prior to the end of your lease and offer you a new lease. If you do not accept the new lease or if we do not offer one, then your tenancy will become “month-to-month”. If you move to month-to-month, your rent will go up by an amount specified in your lease, generally 10%. Once you are month-to-month, then you may end your tenancy any time provided you give us notice by the 10th of the month at the end of which you wish to move out.
Early lease breaks
Our leases do not allow for early lease breaks. If you are a tenant in good standing, we may offer you the opportunity to buy your lease out. If we offer you a buy-out, the cost will be one-and-a-half month’s rent. Lease breaks can only happen on the last day of the month and you must give notice by the 10th of the month prior to when you want to move out.
We prefer all payments to be made through our online portal (http://arboreal.appfolio.com). If you cannot use our online portal, then you can pay in cash at a 7-Eleven or a CVS location with a code we will provide you. We do not accept cash for residents directly at any time for any payment.
There will be a $200 late fee for any payment on or after the 5th of the month, subject to local law.
There is a $100 for NSF (bounced checks). After one NSF check, you may no longer pay by check and must pay with money order or other certified funds. Checks are not accepted for any late amounts. “Check” here includes e-check payments made on our portal (also known as ACH payments).
We do not accept partial payments at any time, unless as part of an approved payment plan. Payments made after the first of the month must be made in certified funds, such as a cashier’s check or money order.
If you violate the terms of your lease or these policies, we may be compelled to post a legal notice to your apartment. In such case, there will be a $100 charge for each notice we post, unless such fees are disallowed by local law. This is an addition to any legal fees or penalties associated with the notice.
We strive to treat all of our residents with the utmost respect, and expect the same from our residents when it comes to interactions with our staff and neighbors. We have a zero tolerance policy for rude or harassing behavior. Rude behavior includes repeated unwanted communication, impolite language, offensive comments, and abuse of our emergency lines and email. Such behavior will lead to comply-or-vacate notices, which could lead to ending tenancy.
Standard maintenance charges
This is the list of standard charges for common maintenance items. We most commonly use these charges at move out, but if your apartment needs maintenance during your stay due to damage you accidentally cause, these charges would apply
These charges are in addition to unit cleaning. We do not charge to repaid standard wear and tear on the apartment, which generally we define as the first $100 of damage to the apartment.
These charges are for 2023. 2024 charges will be 5% higher unless otherwise posted.
|Touch Up Patching and Painting||$50 for small holes/spots, $100 for large|
|Full apartment repaint||$500 for standard studios, $600 for loft|
|Remounting bathroom hardware (towel rack, etc)||$50 per item|
|Repair LVT floor tiles||$35 per tile|
|Appliance replacement||Appliance cost plus $50|
|Smoke alarm replacement||$100|
|Door frame replacement||$250|
|Other work||$50/hour plus supplies|
1. What if I lost my keys or am locked out?
Residents will be charged for replacement cards, keys, and fobs if lost, stolen, or not returned at move-out. Our pricing changes from time to time, but as of now it is as follows:
- $50 per electronic key fob or key card
- $50 per mail key
- $100 per physical unit keys
- $100 additional charge for after hours service (between 5pm and 8am, or weekends). After hours lock out charges must be paid in cash at the time of service.
You may not call your own locksmith to enter the building or apartment without our permission.
If you have just locked yourself out of your apartment but have not lost the keys, you may call the emergency number at (206) 802-9677 to be let in. There is no charge for lock out calls during business hours. There is a minimum $100 charge for after-hours service calls.
2. How do I request maintenance in my apartment?
All maintenance requests must be made via the online portal. The online portal is the same one where you pay your rent. If it is an urgent issue such as a leak, please call the emergency line at (206) 802-9677. If it a non-urgent request, do not call or text us; if you do we will just direct you to the portal.
3. What do you report to credit bureaus?
We report all on-time rent payments to credit bureaus, using a service called CredHub. On time payments will boost your credit score and help you establish a credit history. We do not report negative items to credit except as part of our collections process.
4. What is the Insurance Waiver or Property Damage Liability Waiver (PDLW)?
The Property Damage Liability Waiver (PDLW) is a program we provide which protects you against any accidental damage which you cause to your building. Because we have this program, we do not require Renter’s Insurance for any leases starting June 2022.
The covered perils are fire, smoke, explosion, water discharge, and sewer backup. Accidental acts of residents and / or their guests are loss triggers. Damage to the building is always covered up to $100,000. Personal property coverage may be available if the $100,000 limit is not exhausted. See vimeo.com/358877642 for more info.
Theft, including package theft, is not covered by this program. You always have the option to secure your own insurance, which will cover theft and your personal belongings in the case of an accident. You can purchase your own insurance through our tenant portal or any other provider.
5. What am I responsible for in my apartment?
Consistent with the Seattle Renter’s Handbook, you have certain duties as a tenant. These include:
- Pay rent on time and follow the rules of the rental agreement
- Keep the rental unit clean and sanitary
- Maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (this means changing the batteries when low)
- Prevent illegal or hazardous activity in the rental unit
- Observe quiet hours
- Operating plumbing, electrical, and heating systems properly
- Dispose of garbage, recycle, and food waste properly
- Speak politely to all staff and neighbors and do not abuse our phone lines
In addition, our lease agreement specifies that you are responsible for changing light bulbs and leaving them in working condition when you leave the apartment.
Please consult the official Seattle Renter’s Handbook if you have questions: http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/RentingInSeattle/languages/English/RentersHandbook_English.pdf
6. What happens when I want to move out?
When you’re ready to move out, we will require notice in writing by signing an “intent to vacate” form. To start the process, contact your property manager or request a move out on your portal.
If you are a ‘month to month’ residency or in the last month of a fixed term lease, you must provide notice by the 10th of the month or you will be charged for the next month.
We do not allow early termination of fixed term leases except under certain legally required circumstances such as military deployment. If an early lease termination is required, we generally charge a 1.5 month penalty.
7. How will I get my security deposit back?
Within 21 days after your move out date you will receive check for any amount remaining of your security deposit after possible charges are deducted. We will then send you back your deposit in your specified format, less a cleaning fee and any repair fees. Cleaning fee is usually around $150, and repair fees will be charged at $50 / hour
Commitment to equity
We are a mission-driven company with a strong commitment to equity. Our goal is to go beyond the requirements of local and national law to set new standards for equity, inclusion and housing justice.
Lack of affordable housing is one of the major impediments to housing justice and equity in our society. Our company focus is on providing quality housing that is affordable to everyone in our community. We target our base units rents so as to be affordable to people earning minimum wage jobs.
We pay all of our employees and contractors a living wage.
We recognize the dangers of discrimination and unconscious bias and have set up policies and procedures to limit their damage. We embrace diversity in our staff and residents, and welcome all renters regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex/gender, disability, family status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and military veteran status. We do not discriminate against people who have histories with the criminal justice system.
Our commitment to anti-discrimination requires us to be very firm in the application of our rental criteria and community policies. We set fair criteria and policies and apply them strictly to everyone, for the benefit of all.
We are committed to avoiding economic eviction where ever possible. We are lucky to live in a community where there are many resources for people struggling with rent. We have staff who are experienced with working with these service providers who can help our residents. We always offer fair payment plans for residents who are being on rent.
We move very quickly to end tenancies for residents who do not support our goals of maintaining a safe, quiet and clean community and who violate our community standards. If a resident does not agree with or comply with our posted policies, we always offer a fair, voluntary termination first with no penalties or fees. If a resident does not accept this and continues to violate our community policies, we will use eviction if needed.
We have a zero tolerance policy for harassment, smoking, and criminal behavior. Such activities will lead to immediate termination of tenancies.