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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

I have some questions. Can you answer these before I schedule a showing?

Absolutely!

We want you to have many of your questions answered before you even see the home in person. We don't want to waste anyone's time so ask away!

Many of your questions may be answered right here in this FAQ such as:
- What should I bring to my appointment?,
- Do you accept my a Section 8 voucher?,
- Do you allow pets?
- Is there an application to fill out?

If you don't see the answer to your question call us at (412) 226-8989, text us at (412) 223-6653 or email us to listings@brandscapital.com and we will be happy to answer your questions.

What should I bring to my appointment?

It depends!

If you like the home you should be be prepared to pay the $30 application fee. We accept cash, check, and money order for this $30 payment. Remember, it is one $30 payment for the household, not per person.

Furthermore, the application will be asking for your landlord history so you want to make sure you have that, including the address of the property you lived at and the best number to reach your landlord.

You can also bring along anything else that you feel will help your application such as pay stubs, bank statements or background checks but those are not required.

To learn more about the approval process check the FAQ sections: Applying for the home and Approval requirements.

We encourage you complete the the rental application ahead of time in the comfort of your own space and at your own pace. Please download and print a blank application from Rental Application.

We recommend bringing the deposit with you and submitting it together with the rental application. That way you would be first in line once approved. Otherwise someone else could jump ahead of you and take your home.

I just want the home! Do I really need to come in person to see it?

We at Brands Capital strongly recommend that you come and view the home in person. Homes often look different in person than they do in ads.

When you move in to your new home, we want you to get everything you expect and more. We are looking for great tenants who love their new home and will be staying for many years so it helps no one if you sign a lease and then don't like the home for some reason.

What you can do is apply for the home before you come see it in person and that way you know you are approved and we can move ahead with the lease right away.

I really like the home can I get a head start?

Yes you can.

You can submit a completed application with fee to us early so we can start the approval process and thus significantly increase your odds on getting the home compared to people who applied later.

We recommend to submit the deposit with the application, that way you can commit the home to you as soon as your application is approved.

The home is occupied and looks messy and dingy! Are you guys gonna make it nice again?

Yes of course.

Sometimes we show homes that are either still occupied or being rehabbed. We would prefer to show you the home in its completed pristine condition but sometimes this is not yet possible. But do not worry we always fix up and clean the home for our new residents. Feel free to ask the rental agent on the detailed rehab and cleaning plans.

Do you accept my a Section 8 voucher?

Yes we do accept Section 8 and many other voucher programs. That said we only accept them on certain properties and typically the voucher needs to have a minimum number of bedrooms. Please check the ad for the home you are interested in to see if we can accept your voucher.

Make sure you read the FAQ section on Section 8 and other vouchers

Do you guys do a credit check?

Yes, we do a comprehensive background check including a credit check. That said the credit score has a very limited role in determining your approval. Please check the FAQ section on Approval requirements to get a better understanding on our approval process.

If you are interested in one of our homes we strongly encourage you to apply even if you have bad credit. We always try work with our applicants to get them approved, afterall we are in the business in getting our homes filled.

My credit is terrible, should I not bother?

Not at all!

If you are interested in the home you should definitely apply! Rental history has the highest weight in getting approved and credit only plays an important role if you have no rental history or references available. There is also an option to get a co-signer and/or pay a higher security deposit to get you qualified. You may contact us with your specific details to see if we could get you qualified.

I am running late, what should I do?

As soon as you know that you may be running late, please contact your rental agent and let him or her know about your possible delay. Rental agents can typically only wait for about 15 minutes. In some cases it would be better to just reschedule but let your rental agent know ASAP so you can work something out.

It's just common courtesy and you would appreciate this if you were in their shoes.

I am going to be there early, what should I do?

If you think you may arrive early contact your rental agent. You never know he or she may be able to meet you earlier. Worst case scenario you may have to wait.

I made the appointment but I don't feel like seeing it anymore, what should I do?

Whatever you do, please don't stand us up.

If you can't make it to the appointment for any reason just let us know - we understand. If you were showing a home, wouldn't you rather have someone be honest with you than to just not show up? On a side note, our computer system keeps track of all showings and the history so your no-show will be in our system forever and could negatively effect your chances to be approved or even get a future appointment.

I don't think this home works for me. What should I do?

That's quite alright! Not a problem! Everyone has different preferences and requirements.

I know we all like to be nice but we do appreciate honest feedback - what did you like, what did you not like and anything else that made you pass on this home. This feedback will help us adjust our ads, price or even make real changes to the home. If something isn't advertised correctly your fellow home hunters considering this home would be happy you pointed this out to us.

I like the home but there is one thing I don't like. Would you guys change or fix that?

Yes maybe. This is your chance to ask for an improvement. Some things just can't be changed but if there is something that would make this home work for you, let us know. You never know - maybe that was something we were planning to do in the future anyway!

I really like the home and want it. What is the next step?

The first step is to fill out a rental application and pay the $30 per household application fee. To learn more about the application process, check out the section about [LINK].Once you are approved we will require a deposit to take the home off the market and tell everyone else that it is rented. This can be done in most cases by putting down half of the security deposit. We would recommend putting a deposit down with the application - that way you would be first in line for the home once approved. To give you the keys to your new home, we require payment for any remaining security deposit, first month's rent, and a signed lease. Check out [LINK] for other move-in requirements.

Why is there someone else looking at the home at the same time?

In some rare instances we will double-book appointments at the property. This simply cannot be avoided at times due to high demand and busy schedules. We will give you all the attention you require, answer all of your questions, and show you everything you want to see before you leave!

I like the home. How much money do I need to move in?

Our policy here is pretty standard. We require you to pay your entire security deposit, pet deposit, and first month's rent before you can move in. We do not offer any type of payment plans for these deposits

I don't like the colors. Can I repaint the home?

Yes, you can repaint the home to a color more satisfying to you but two conditions must be met. It must be 1) a neutral color so that we don't have to be concerned about having to paint over for our next tenant and 2) done in a professional manner, again for the same reason.

My roommate couldn't make it today, can we come back to see it again?

We understand that schedules don't always line up and we can do additional showings if need be. If your roommate needs to be come see the place, or you have a parent or friend whose opinion you would like to get before closing the deal, give us a heads up and we will work with you.

I am looking to move in 2 month, or maybe later. Is that ok?

Yes, we can hold an apartment for up to two months. Sometimes we require an additional security deposit or both months' rent up front. Anything longer than that can be a tricky, but please contact us and we will address your case specifically in that instance.

Do you allow pets?

Yes, we allow pets. Many of us are pet owners and would be heartbroken to leave our furry companions behind. We do require an extra security deposit deposit though - see Is there a pet deposit?

What is your pet policy?

We are a pet friendly company, we love pets and love residents that love pets. That being said, we do have a few very simple rules.
1) Your pets are your responsibility 100%.
2) Your pet can not disturb the other residents or neighbors.
3) We have a required additional security deposit that is based on the type of animal and the number of animals that you have. Consult Is there a pet deposit? below for the details on this.

Do you have a breed or weight restriction?

We have not come across a pet that we have turned down yet, but we do make considerations on the type of animal in the type of home. Confirm with us before you move in.

Is there a monthly fee my pet?

There is not. Our additional security deposit for your pet is paid up front in a single installment and is refundable along your regular security deposit upon move out.

Is there a "pet deposit"?

Yes there is. The amount of the deposit varies by household, dependent on the type and number of animals that you have. A single dog requires a $300 deposit, or in the case of a single-family home, $400. Additional dogs after the first requires another $100 deposit for each dog. A cat requires a $100 deposit, and $50 for each additional cat. Cage or tank animals that do not leave their habitats do not require a deposit. If your animal is not listed here, please call us and ask us for further information.

What is the difference between the security deposit and the pet deposit?

In actuality, there is no difference. The "pet deposit" is actually just additional security deposit required to cover the added risk that a pet brings. If your home is in good standing when you move out, this deposit is returned to you along with the rest of your security deposit. It is not a separate deposit exclusive to your pet, meaning that it CAN be applied to pay for other damages caused even if they were not pet-related and vise-versa.

I am already one of your tenants. What do I do if I want to get a pet now?

Not an issue. You must pay the additional security deposit required for your pet once you decide to get the animal. Failure to notify management that you have gotten a pet can lead to a hefty penalty in additional to paying the required additional deposit.

Is there an application to fill out?

Yes, anyone who will be living in the home who is 18 years of age or older MUST fill out an application. Our relatively short, 2-page application can be found here. Please make sure to provide as much information as possible to ensure that we are able to process it quickly and thoroughly. Additionally - and this is very important - do not forget to SIGN it before you submit it.

You can fill out the application ahead of time and bring it with you (always recommended), fill one out at the home when you get there, or take an application with you to fill out later. The first two options will allow us to process your application much more quickly, so if you know you want to apply for the home, use one of them!

Where can I get an application?

Our rental agents carry copies of the application on them, but you can easily download and print the application from here. You can fill out an application ahead of time and bring it with you to the showing, or e-mail a completed application to office@brandscapital.com. We do not recommend mailing an application in, as it can take several days for us to receive it that way.

What is the application fee?

Our application fee is a flat fee of $30 per household. If one person is applying, it's $30. If 4 people are applying, it's $30. Each person needs to fill out an application, but only $30 needs to be paid, regardless of how many people you plan to have living there.

This fee covers some of the administrative costs of paying for a credit report, doing a criminal background check, and trying to track down your former landlords.

What are ways to pay the application fee?

We accept many different payment methods. Cash can be paid, but must be paid in person. Checks and money orders are also accepted. We can handle credit card payments, and you can directly deposit the fee into our PNC account. Additionally, we accept a variety of virtual payment methods as well, such as PayPal, Venmo, Google Wallet, and even Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin! Get more details on each by visiting our Payment Options page.

Is the application fee refundable?

The only circumstances by which the application fee is refundable is if we have accepted someone else before we run your application, or if you withdraw your application before we have a chance to run it. Once we start on your application, we cannot refund the application fee.

Can I give you the deposit with the application?

Absolutely. You can pay any or all of your required deposit with your application, HOWEVER, this does not change your application status. We will still run your application and you will go through the same approval process as everyone else. If your application is not approved for any reason, the deposit will be returned to you in full. If you are approved, the money paid goes toward your security deposit and your first month's rent, in that order.

Who all needs to fill out an application?

Anyone who is over the age of 18 and will be living there MUST fill out an application. In addition, any roommates who may want to move in with you after your lease signing must also fill out an application and be approved. These new additions after the lease signing will be required to pay the $30 application fee to have their application run.

The application seems long. Do I really need to fill this all out?

Come on, it's not that bad!

The questions in our application are standard to most property management companies. Renting a home is a major decision, and both sides need to ensure that the fit is right. Providing us with this information allows us to make sure you will be happy in the home as well as allows us to make sure you can afford it long term.

Are there other people applying for the home?

Many times there are. Ask your rental agent if he or she is aware whether there are any other applicants so that you know exactly what the circumstances are. We run applications on a first-come, first-serve basis, but that does not mean we accept the first application we run. We always advise paying a deposit when you submit your application to ensure that once we approve your application you are first in line for the home, so this way you don't have someone swoop in and get the home while we're waiting for your deposit.

Can I take an application with me?

Yes you can. We strongly recommend filling one out ahead of time, or completing it with the rental agent at the home to get the application processed more quickly, but we aren't going to pressure anyone. If you want time to think about it, or you need to discuss it with someone else, or want to take additional time for any reason, take an application with you. You can always fill it out and get it to us later. Please see How can I get the completed application(s) back to you guys? for the best ways to ensure we receive your application as quickly as possible.

How can I get the completed application(s) back to you guys?

The best way to do it is to give it to us in person at the showing, either by completing it ahead of time or at the showing. We get it directly and can receive your payment then. The next best option would be to send it via e-mail. There are a variety of payment methods that can be taken electronically, or you can pay directly into our PNC account at the branch most convenient to you. Check out our Payment Options page for all the different options you offer. Please note: Any fees quoted on that page are waived when paying for applications.

There are other, more traditional ways of doing it, but we would recommend against them if you can do it another way. You can bring your completed application to our office, but our staff is often off-site so you would have to coordinate with our staff to ensure that someone is there to receive your application fee payment. Our office is located at 5828 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217 in Squirrel Hill.

Lastly, you can mail in an application, but it could take as long as 5-7 days for us to receive that, depending on when someone is in the office and how long it takes to go through the mail. By then, the home may no longer be available so we don't recommend that.

I want the home and got cash now. Do I really need to fill out an application?

The application process cannot be skipped. This is a major financial decision and risk is always involved with major financial decisions. We want to know as much information as possible about our applicants. The more information you provide us, the more comfortable we will feel renting to you.

I don't have the application fee now. What can I do?

The application fee can always be paid later, but we WILL NOT run any applications until we have received payment. If you don't have the application fee now, let the rental agent know when you expect to have it so we can be prepared to run your application as soon as you are able to give us the fee.

See What types of payments do you accept for the application fee? on how to pay your application fee.
What types of payments do you accept for the application fee?

We have several ways you can pay your application fee. If you are filing out the application at on site you can always had your payment to the agent with your application. This is also true if you mail it. If you submit the application by e-mail may people feel it is convenient to pay by card over the phone. Check out our Payment Options page for all the different options you offer. Please note: Any fees quoted on that page are waived when paying for applications.

I don't remember my previous landlord's contact information. What should I do?

Trying Googling their company or individual name, ask former roommates, anything you can think of to find the information. Landlord references are an integral part of the application screening, and hold a tremendous amount of weight for us. Typically not having your landlord information may be worse than if you never had a landlord. We may try to find your previous landlord ourselves so you should share as much information as you can. Information such as: The address where you lived. Was the landlord a private landlord or a management company? Male or Female? Approximate age? First name, last name, nick name? Office location? Other locations the landlord managed? etc.

I would like to see a sample copy of a lease. Where can I get one?

We have one posted here. While we try to keep the most recent version posted to our website, our lease goes through periodic updates, so make sure you read yours carefully before you sign it.

I heared about ways to earn free rent. Can you tell me more about it?

We have a Resident All-Star Program in which tenants are able to earn rent discounts by paying their rent on time on a consistent basis. Paying on time (by the 1st or earlier) for 12 month in a row earns you a 10% discount after the 13th month. Paying on time 24 month in a row earns you a 25% discount in the 25th month. Paying on time 36 month in a row earns you a 50% discount in the 37th month, or free rent for the 37th month IF you signed a 3-year lease or longer. You may pay within the grace period 2 times per year and still qualify but if you are late at any time the clock re-starts at 1 month on the next on-time payment.

For more details on the program please see our flyer.

Do you guys accept Section 8 vouchers?

Yes, we do, but not on all rental units and we are specific about voucher requirements. Your voucher must at least be equal to the number of bedrooms advertised (for example, please do not ask us to accept a 2-bedroom voucher for a 3-bedroom apartment) and it must be valid for the specific housing authority that oversees the property (we only accept Allegheny County Housing Authority and Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh vouchers) or be portable to the appropriate housing authority.

I am a Section 8 participant. Is the approval process different?

No except that you do not have a minimum income requirement with us but that you do have voucher for the appropriate number of bedrooms and for the correct jurisdiction such as a City of Pittsburgh voucher for a home in the City of Pittsburgh.

Your home has more bedrooms than I am approved on my voucher. Can I still get this home?

Unfortunately, we will not accept any vouchers below the number of bedrooms specified in our ads. Section 8 housing counselors will try to convince you that your voucher might be worth what we are asking for, but by the time utilities and other costs are taken into account, they will pay us considerably less than the advertised price. We do not make exceptions to this rule.

Section 8 is paying for my security deposit, right?

Section 8 does not pay security deposits. That is your responsibility. Make sure you are saving money up to pay the deposit if you are interested in applying for a home.

What will my monthly rent be?

Section 8, will determine your monthly portion and unfortunately they will not tell us until about 1 month after you moved in. So we will estimate your portion and you will pay that to us as your first month rent. After we know your actual portion we will make the adjustment retroactively to your account. So if you overpaid you will get a credit or refund and if you underpaid you are responsible for the difference immediately.

Generally speaking your portion is based on your income and number of dependants. To make it easy you can just assume your portion will be 30% of your income. So if you make $1000 per month your portion will probably be around $300. If you have dependents you can subtract $480 from you gross income for each dependant before you calculate the 30% but your potion will be at least 10% of your gross income. So let's say you make $1000 in income and have 2 children your adjusted income would be $1000 - 2*$480 = $40. 30% of $40 would be $12 but since your minimum is 10% of gross income your portion would be $100.

Your home is in the city but I have a county voucher (or vise versa). Is this a problem?

That depends. If your voucher is portable, it is not a problem. Please ensure with the Housing Authority that your voucher is portable.

Typically, you must have lived for the past 1 year in the jurisdiction from which you are porting your voucher from. So, for example, if you have a City of Pittsburgh Section 8 voucher and want to port it to Allegheny County, you must be living in the City of Pittsburgh now and had been living there for the past 1 year. Please do not rely on this and verify with your counselor that your voucher is in fact portable. Also, please be aware porting your voucher will add at least 2 weeks to your approval process with Section 8 so expect a 6 week wait until you can actually move into your new home.

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I don't have a Section 8 voucher but I have another organization helping me. Will you accept that?

Typically, yes. We evaluate each organization on a case-by-case basis. Give us the name of the group helping you out and we'll verify that we will accept them.

I am on the waiting list for Section 8, can I get this home and just pay cash until I get my voucher?

Unfortunately, this is probably not going to work because you would have to qualify under our non Section 8 requirements which requires you to have income of at least 3 times the rent (plus utilities). As a potential Section 8 participant you are probably going to be under this minimum requirement therefore you can not qualify.

Can I move-in early?

Unfortunately you can not move in until your home passed Section 8 inspection, you paid your deposit and first month rent, and you signed the lease. Once all these conditions are met we can give you the keys and you can start moving in. We will often give you the keys even though your lease terms has not started. For example, let's say you lease starts on the 1st of next month but the home passed on the 20th of this month if all conditions are met we will let you move in early and typically without charging you for any of those extra days.

What happens if the home fails inspection?

Section 8 inspectors often find items that fail the initial inspection. Most landlords will tell you it is a rare for them to pass the initial inspection. But very rarely do they find anything in major need of repair - we have already taken care of anything like that before they come out for their inspection. They will give us a list of the items that they want address, and we will handle them immediately. Often time these are small fixes that can be done in a single afternoon. After we make the fixes, they will come back out and re-inspect and we will be able to move forward with the rental process. If you ever received a letter from Section 8 informing you that the unit failed inspection make sure you check with us and not just go off looking for a new home, as the items are likely already fixed and you would still be responsible for your lease.

Do I get my deposit back if Section 8 can't get this unit approved?

It often happens that Section 8 does not approve your home the first time. In the history of this company we have always been able to repair the requested items and have the home pass. So you should not be worried this would happen to you. In the very unlikely event that we can not accommodate the requests from Section 8 of course your deposit would be returned to you. But again, in more than a dozen years of business, this has NEVER happened to us.

The home passed Section 8 inspection but I don't have all the required funds yet. What can we do?

Without the funds, you cannot move into the apartment. By the time the inspection is completed, you should have had plenty of time to gather the necessary funds, but if not, you will need to do so before we can give you your keys. Even worse, you will probably be responsible for the rent even tough you do not have possession of the home yet. This is really a bad situation for everyone so please make sure you can perform on the lease you signed.

What is required for me to get approved?

You must complete your application and pay the application fee to begin the process. From there, we look to see what kind of credit you have, what your criminal background looks like, and what your previous landlords have to say about you. We will also look at your income and available funds to make sure you can afford the apartment. All of these factors will play a part in getting you approved.

What is the most important factor in approving me?

This varies by application.
We feel most comfortable with applicants who have a good rental history with positive references from the current and all previous landlords so if you have that you will probably get approved.
Of course we also need to assure that you have sufficient household income to afford the home so our requirement is that you make at least 3 times the rent(plus responsible utilities) in income. Please note: this is not a requirement for voucher holders of Section 8 or other programs.
Other requiremants include:
- Having no eviction or magerterial landlord tenant complaints on your record.
- Having no criminal background.
- Having a favorable credit score. The actual minimum score depends on the rental property you are applying to and the credit rating agency we use.
Keep in mind we will do an extensive background check to get a full picture of your application and those findings can influence our decision.

My past landlord(s) will not give me a good reference. What should I do?

Give us their information anyway. It is best to be honest and upfront with us. We have thorough employees who will find the information anyway, and it certainly will not look good for you if we think you tried to hide a bad reference. Also, make sure you tell us your side of the story if you think the landlord won't give you a good reference and we will try our best to give a fair evaluation.

I don't have any credit. Will this be a problem?

Not necessarily. Nobody is born with a credit score. It is only one of several factors that we look at. The most important thing we look for are good landlord references from all your current and past landlords. If they were all happy with you, having no credit won't be a problem. If you don't have references or credit it may cause us to ask for a co-signer or extra security deposit.

My credit is bad. Will this be a problem?

Typically No! We look way beyond a credit score when evaluating applications, in fact it's one of the less important factors. The most important thing we look for are good landlord references from all your current and past landlords. If they were all happy with you your credit score should not matter. If we don't have any or many references we will need to rely more on your credit score. If you know why your score is low, give us the story. The more information we have, the better we can make a determination on whether to rent to you. There are certain factors, such as paying extra security deposit or using a co-signer, that can be used to mitigate low credit scores.

This is my first home so I don't have any past landlord references. What can I do?

Everyone has to start somewhere. We won't deny you just because you've never rented before but rental references are a very important part of our application process and if you don't have any it will make things more difficult. Depending on what we find, we may ask you to have a good co-signer such as your parents and/or pay an additional security deposit.

I have a criminal background. Does that automatically disqualify me?

No! It will NOT automatically disqualify you. We will look at each criminal offense on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, only criminal offenses that can potentially affect other residents, neighbors or the community, or the performance of the lease would get you denied.

I am not 18 yet. What can I do?

There must be someone 18 years or older on the lease with you. That person must also qualify on their own for the home.

I didn't get approved but I can put more security deposit down. Would that help?

Yes, in many cases. Additional security deposit can get a previously denied application approved. That said, if that is an option for you, we will let you know! Some denied applicants may not have this option regardless of how much you offer to put down.

If I needed I can get a cosigner, would that really help my chances?

Yes. In most cases, having a co-signer with good credit can get a questionable application approved. Having a good co-signer puts another financially responsible person on the lease which can significantly improve an application and can often be the difference between being approved and being denied.

I am slightly short on the income requirement. Can I still qualify?

To qualify for our homes we require our residents to have at least 3 times the rent(plus responsible utilities) in income. Life happens and we all want to make sure you have enough of a cushion to still be able to pay your required obligations. If you are slighty short on the income requirement you may want to ask yourself first if you really want to pay such a large portion of your income on just housing alone. If you are just slightly below our income requirement we will take look at your application and sometimes make exceptions if your other factors are strong.

I am a student and don't have your required amount of income. What can we do?

Whoever is paying your rent would have to be on your lease as a co-signer as well. We must be able to verify that you will have the necessary funds to pay your rent each and every month.

I am self employed and don't have any proof of income. What can I do?

In those cases we need to be move creative. We may need to see some or all of the following:
- Your tax returns for the last 3 years.
- Your personal and business bank account statements.
- A reference letter from your bank and/or CPA.
- Trade references from suppliers.
- Proof or total business revenue.
- Proof of high networth and/or cash balance.
- Other proofs of income.

None of us make enough income to qualify but together we make enough money. Would that be ok?

As long as the entire household combined can make enough money to qualify, you can be approved. But be careful: each person on the lease is 100% responsible for the rent. If one of your roommates moves out, or if you and your girlfriend/boyfriend break up, then those remaining in the home must make up the difference. Similarly, if you leave the apartment but your roommates decide to stay, you are still responsible until your lease term is up.

I got approved and want the home. What do I do next?

Approval does not guarantee that the home is yours. Other people may also have been approved. To secure the home, you need to make a deposit to take the home off the market. In many cases we can accept a smaller deposit, but we must receive your entire security deposit, plus your first month's rent before you can get your keys. In addition, we must have a signed lease from you before you can move in as well.

How much money do I need to move in?

You must pay your entire security deposit, as well as your first month's rent before you can move in. For Section 8 tenants, an estimated portion will be calculated for your first month's rent, but you are still responsible for paying your entire security deposit.

In some circumstances we may require an additional month worth of security deposit. This would be the case if your application is not strong enough to qualify under our guidlines, but is close.

I want to move in the middle of the month will you prorate my rent?

Yes. We will divide the monthly rent in half if you move in during the middle of the month, or prorate the rent daily if you move in at any other point. Please note though: you will be charged a full month's rent during your first month. It is the SECOND month's rent that is prorated based on your first month usage. This is because we do require a full month rent up front but rents are due on the 1st of each month.

Can I make payments over time on the security deposit after I moved in?

No, this is against our policy and we do not make exceptions. Paying a security deposit is partly about demonstrating for us that you have the necessary funds, and have done the requisite planning, to rent a house or apartment. We can give you a short period of time to gather up the entirety of your security deposit, but under no circumstances will anyone be allowed in a home without having paid their full security deposit and first month rent first.

How much money do I have to give you to hold the home?

The minimum of deposit to hold depends on how long we require to hold your new home. Typically if we are holding the home for half a month we would need half a month worth of deposit if we hold your home for one full month we ask for a full month worth of deposit. We encourage our new residents to be to put all the deposit and even the first month rent down right away because if you can't come up with all the funds we may need to charge you rent but can't give you the keys and nobody wants that!

For Section 8 participants we require a MINIMUM of half of the security deposit to hold the home regardless on how long we need to hold it.

Please be aware we do not hold our homes for more than 1 month unless we approved this initially.

Paying that deposit will take the home off the market, meaning you are now the only one who is eligible to rent it from us at that time. Please note: if we take the home off the market and you change your mind or fail to come up with the funds, you will lose your deposit.

I have an agency that will help me with the security deposit and first month rent. Is that ok?

Yes, that is fine but please note: We've had previously had issues with some organizations, so in most cases we can not accept a promise from the organization in lieu of payments. Unless we have the payments in hand we can not commit the home to you or give you the keys. We highly recommend that you source the funds for the deposit to hold and/or rent from another place. If you do we will of course refund your money once the other payment comes in.

When do I sign the lease?

You will receive a copy of your lease shortly after you have been approved, typically by e-mail. Once you have paid your security deposit and first month's rent, we will arrange to meet so that we can sign the lease as well, and oftentimes this will be when you receive your keys and can move in. In most cased the lease signing will be at your new home or in our office.

If you wander what the lease will look like take a look at our Sample Lease.

I heard there is a video I have to watch. What's that all about?

While it may have gotten snubbed at the Oscars, our orientation video provides you with a lot of important information, including your responsibilities as a tenant, how best to contact us, all our different payment options, and a lot of other info. We require all of our new residents to watch it, because the information really is important to you and clearly outlines our and your responsibilities and expectations.

To see the video click here.

After you self watched the video you may self certify using this document.

Will the deposit to hold become security deposit once I sign the lease?

Yes. Technically, the deposit to hold will convert into a security deposit once the lease agreement is execute. We first apply the money to your security deposit, and anything beyond that goes towards rent.

Do I get a refund on my deposit if I change my mind?

Deposits to hold a home are non-refundable. When your application was approved and you place a deposit to hold a home we in term commit to you. We will tell all pending applicants and currently scheduled showings that the home is no longer available. So if you change your mind there are real losses and your deposit is to cover these loses. You should make sure that you are certain of your decision before putting any money down.

Can I move in early?

Yes, you can potentially move in early assuming everything is ready to go. If you paid all your required security deposit and rent, signed the lease and the home is ready we can give you the keys and you can move in. Often even if your lease term hasn't quite started yet.

When do I get my keys?

Keys are the last piece of the puzzle. Once you've been approved, paid your security deposit and first month's rent, signed a lease, and the home is move-in ready on our end, you will get your keys. Once you have your keys, you can move in immediately.

So I signed the lease, paid all the money and got the keys, now what else do I need to do?

Now you go about the process of moving in and making the place your home. While it's always exciting to have a new place to call your own, there are some important things you need to remember to do as well.

Very important, you need to transfer the utilities that you are responsible for into your name. This should have already been done before you take possession of your new home so if you haven't done so do it now. Your utilities are likely already scheduled for turn of.

We recommend you fill out your move-in checklist. This is to protect you and needs to be done within the first few days of you moving in. A late move-in checklist may not be accepted.

Another vital item you need to take care of is getting renter's insurance. All of our buildings are insured, but that does not include any of your property inside the building. Renter's insurance protects you in the unlikely event of any damages that may be caused to your possessions during your time with us.

You should also check all your smoke detectors and make copies of your keys.

Is filling out the move-in checklist required?

It is not but the move-in checklist is actually for your protection, not ours, so you really should. There may be some minor cosmetic defects that we have not fixed between residents, and you will want to document them before you move in. This way, when it comes time to move-out, we can consult the checklist you submitted to us and determine if any damages we find were caused by you, or were already there. Filling it out will help you get more of your security deposit back when you move out.

What utilities am I responsible for and how do I go about getting those transferred?

Your lease will tell you which utilities you are responsible for, and you will receive a move-in handbook that specifies which companies provide those utilities for the home. Their contact information is included in the handbook as well. You simply call them up (some even allow you to do it online) and explain to them that you are the new tenant at the address and would like to have the utility placed in your name. Most of these companies are well aware that we are a property management company and they will not ask you for anything more. Some might require a signed lease.

Please make sure that you take care of this responsibility before you even move in.

Where can I get renters insurance?

You can obtain Renter's Insurance from most insurance companies. I would recommend starting with your current insurance agent or company. If you still can't find anyone, try:
Mary Darkmoor
Allstate Insurance Company, Ralph Family Insurance
724-450-0400
marydarkmoor@allstate.com

What repairs and maintenance am I responsible for?

If you are handy and know how to do basic repairs, feel free to take care of them yourself. Make sure to contact Brands Capital before you buy any materials, and if we approve the purchases, we will reimburse you for them (usually through a discount on your next month's rent). Please note that we expect these to be done in a professional manner so that we do not have to re-do them after you leave (which you would end up being charged for when you move out).

Even if you are not skilled with tools, there are basic repairs you are responsible for. The replacement of light bulbs is your responsibility. Smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries are also your responsibility. And please don't ignore them - they are there to keep you safe. You will be charged for the batteries and replacement of the detector if you remove it.

Furnace filters are also your responsibility if that applies to your home. These need changed regularly in the winter months.

If your unit has a yard or walkway, grass cutting and snow shoveling in the winter are your responsibilities too. Eye sores will get cited by the local code inspectors, and hazards can be harmful to your neighbors. Please keep up with your responsibilities.

Lastly, there are several repairs are almost always the responsibility of the tenant (as in these cases, they are either caused by the tenant or guests of the tenant). Carpet stains, clogged drains, and damages caused by pets will always incur charges to our tenants. Please be careful to avoid any of these damages as best as you can.

What repairs are you guys responsible for? Which are you not?

We will take care of all property repairs related to mechanical failure due normal wear and tear. Those may include things like plumbing, appliances, roof, furnace, electrical, etc.
Please keep in mind that in cases where we provide the refrigerator we are responsible for the repair but unfortunately we are NOT responsible to any damaged food if the appliance fails. If your refrigerator stops cooling let us know right away so we try to get you service quickly.
Things that the resident is responsible for are:
- Consumables such as furnace filters, smoke detector batteries and light bulbs
- Damages from misuse such as busted door or a warped floor from extended standing water.
- Damages beyond normal wear and tear such as a carpet stain from a spillage, a repeatedly broken faucet handle or excessive dirt/scratches on wall paint.
- Clogged drains and toilets.

I have a maintenance/repair request. What do I do?

Call the office at (412) 226-8998, contact your property manager, or send an e-mail to service@brandscapital.com. We will get back to you quickly with a plan of action for your repairs.

Do I need to be home for the service technician?

For our in-house maintenance staff, you do not. Our trusted and dependable contractor has been with us for more than a decade, and they know the insides of every one of our homes well. They have keys and are able to perform the repairs when you are not home. That being said, if you wish to be home when our staff enters your home do let us know and we make sure to give you ample notice. We do hire outside contractors for service on things such as furnace and appliances and in those cases someone must be at home to let the tech in. We typically provide them your phone number so they can directly coordinate with you.

Is the rent due on the 1st or the 5th?

The due date for your rent is the 1st. This is important if you are trying to earn rent discounts for the Resident All-Star program. Payments received between the 2nd and the 5th will not be charged a late fee even though they are received past the due date. We do this because we understand that the Post Office is not always the most reliable, and because things always come up in life that throw our schedules off. Always give yourself a few extra days to make sure your rent payment is received on time. And remember, rent is logged in on the day we RECEIVE it, not when you mail it. If you put it in the mail on the 5th, it won't arrive in time to avoid a late fee.

What payment methods do you have?

We have several ways you can pay the rent or any other fees. Check out our Payment Options page.

I paid my rent on time why did I get a late fee?

If you earned a late fee, there are several reasons. Every month that you have an outstanding balance, you earn a late fee. Let's say you owe $700 a month in rent. In May you spent too much money on snazzy clothes for wedding season, and only had $500 to pay your rent. That will earn you a $50 late fee. You're still a little light on money in June, but you manage to pay your full $700 for June. Because you still owed us $200 from May (plus a $50 late fee, so it's really $250), you will earn another late fee because we still have not received all the money you owe us. If you do fall behind, make sure you catch up quickly to avoid accruing late fees each month.

A simpler explanation is that your payment went into the mail too late and we received it late. Payments must be RECEIVED before the 5th, not mailed by then. Delays in the mail are not our responsibility.

If you got a late fee and you know you sent your check in early and don't have a balance from a prior month, contact us. We'll be happy to explain to you what happened and why you were charged the late fee.

I am going to be late, what should I do?

Contact us and explain the situation. We're not unreasonable people here. But if you are late and dodge our calls and texts, how do we have any idea that you are planning on paying? If you go MIA on us, we've got no choice but to file with the magistrate on the 15th of the month, as per your lease. Let us know what's up and when you expect to be able to pay your rent, and we'll come up with a plan together from there.

I would like to change my ceiling fan and carpet. Can I do that?

Typically, all structural improvements need to be approved by us. Generally, improvements must be done in a professional manner and they must be considered and actual improvement to a typical resident. This means that your new neon pink walls, black ceiling and purple polka dot carpet may be an improvement to you but we would have replace it at your cost when you move out. That being said, we welcome you to make your home your own and make it better. In some cases we subsidize or even full out reimburse you for materials used in the property improvement.
Keep in mind, any fixtures need to remain with the property when you move out or it needs to put into it original condition.

I think my toilet is running, should I tell someone?

Absolutely, and as soon as you notice the problem, contact us!! Would you believe that a running toilet can cost as much as an extra $30 per day in water usage?! Isn't that insane?! If you let us know quickly, we can address the problem before costs get out of control. Even if you are unsure, let us know anyway. It's better safe than sorry in these situations. Letting us know as soon as possible will likely prevent you from being charged for the excess water consumption, which can be brutal if the problem goes weeks without being reported. It could cost more than your rent! Contact us immediately!

My lease anniversary is coming up do I need to do anything?

Your lease will automatically renew on a month-to-month basis after your initial term is up, so if you are planning to stay, you don't have to sign anything extra. That being said, if you want to stick around for a while, you can contact us about signing a lease renewal. Why sign a renewal as opposed to staying month-to-month? A renewal locks in your rent rate for the duration of the renewal term, meaning that you will be protected from rent increases. Please note that a renewal does not necessarily lock your rent in at the CURRENT rate you are paying. Depending on how long you've been paying your current rate, we may need to raise it for your renewal.

If you are planning to leave when you lease is up, however, you need to make sure you notify us at least 60 days in advance. This allows us to ensure we have proper time to advertise the home and schedule any inspections so that we can get a new tenant in as soon as you are ready to move out. Failure to give proper notice is considered a lease violation and could potentially effect how much of your security deposit you get back.

My required term on my lease is up and I am thinking of moving out. What do I need to do?

If you are unsure if you want to move out or not, contact us and let us know what you are thinking. If you like your home but wish something about it was different, maybe we can find some common ground.

If you are certain that you will no longer be renewing your lease, please let us know at least 60 days in advance. This would also be a good time to make sure the home is good order, making any small repairs that you need the place needs before we do our final inspection. We will send you a move-out package that gives you a lot of information regarding the move-out process, including lots of information you'll want to read to make sure you get as much of your security deposit back as possible.

How much notice do I need to give if I want to move out?

All of our leases specify you give us at least 60 days notice. While this may seem like a lot of time, it is necessary for us so that we can get the place advertised, conduct showings, and get a new lease signed before you move out. If you fail to give us proper notice, you may be subject to penalties when you move out, which could affect your security deposit return. That said, sometimes we will accept a 30-day notice but in those cases you will need to let us know 60-90 days prior to your expected move out that you are considering moving out in the upcoming months but you don't know exactly when.

Do you have any move-out bonuses?

Yes we do! Up to $350.00 Cash!
It seems counter intuitive, why would we pay you to move out? Well we don't want you to move out but sometimes it just can't be avoided. Replacing a tenant is very costly but if you help us decrease the cost we'll pass along the savings. The bonuses are as follows:
No Vacancy Bonus $150.00 - If we can fill your apartment with a new tenant the day after your lease ends, you will earn $150! If we have a written agreement with a new tenant, but we are unable to move them in the next day, you will still earn a $50 bonus as long as they agree to terms with us before your lease ends.
Mint Condition Bonus $100.00 - We'll give you $100 if your apartment is completely cleaned and free of any defects. If we don't use any contractors or a cleaning crew, and you will earn $100!
Tenant Referral Bonus $100.00 - If you refer someone to us and they take your vacant apartment, you will earn $100!
Please see page 4 of the Move-Out Package for more details.

Why are you showing my home while I still live here?

Unfortunately, this is part of the process and is required. You actually agreed on this when you signed the lease. We understand that this is inconvenient and awkward at times, but it is a necessary aspect of our business. Our agents typically try to be accommodating to your schedule and also give you 24 hours notice. We really just ask for your cooperation. If we have trouble showing your home while because you are making it difficult for us, you may be charged for the losses that we have while the home sits vacant. The good news is that we are actually paying you a bonus if we find a tenant. Please see Do you have any move-out bonuses? for details.

I know someone who may be interested in renting my home after me. What should I do?

Have them give us a call - and make sure they mention that you referred them. We do offer referral bonuses, but they must go through the application process just like everyone else.

Can I use my security deposit as my last month rent?

No, this is not permitted. Your security deposit is paid in part to ensure that we have funds available to make repairs and conduct cleaning that may be necessary between tenants. If we allowed you to use your security deposit as your last month's rent, there would be no money left to cover those costs.

When will I get my security deposit back?

We will process your security deposit return within 30 days of your lease end date, providing that you have given us a forwarding address to send the refund to.