1. Can I paint?
The rules on painting are as follows: You cannot paint without permission. Any stained wood cannot be painted. Any previously painted wood (baseboards, window frames, door frames, etc.) can only be painted white. If you get permission to paint a room or wall, you are incurring a minimum cost of $150 per room.
2. Are pets allowed?
We have a strict NO DOGS policy, not even to visit. Dogs are not allowed on the property. Other pets are generally allowed with permission. Permission is granted based on an agreement to follow five rules:
1. Must be 100% indoors.
2. Must be spayed or neutered.
3. Must not destruct the property.
4. Must not be noisy.
5. Must keep litter clean.
No more than two cats are allowed. If it is a pet other than a cat, it must have its OWN home (cage, terrarium, tank, etc.) and must not be taken out, except to play with it. These pets cannot run free in the apartment. If maintenance finds that any of the rules are not being followed, we will ask you to get rid of the pet, and you will be responsible for any damages.
3. Can I install my own window A/C?
NO. For the apartments with all utilities included, the studios and one bedrooms include one window A/C. Two bedroom apartments include two A/C units. One window unit is not really enough to cool an entire one bedroom apartment. It is meant to cool the bedroom (and possibly a little bit more). We can move the unit to a different room/window if you request it. The Byron Company will install a second (or third) unit for an additional increase in rent (currently $30 per month). This charge is year round, not just in the summer months. Adding an additional A/C unit requires signing an additional one year lease with the new rental amount. Our maintenance people must do the installation work—we want to make sure the job is done correctly, to our specifications. Improperly installed A/C’s can cause extensive water damage to the building, as well as create a dangerous situation.
4. What kind of tenants do you have?
Laws on fair housing prohibit us from answering that question.
5. Do you pro-rate rent?
Yes. Rent is pro-rated according to the day you take possession of the keys. However, there may be some situations that are caveats. If we hold an apartment for you as of a specific date, your rent will start that date whether you occupy it or not. Also, if the apartment is an August 1st availability and you rent it before July 1st, we do not pro-rate past August 1st. If you rent the apartment after July 1st, we will pro-rate up to August 15.
6. How long will you hold an apartment after the date of availability?
Generally we set our apartment available date two weeks after it is vacated to build in time to work on the unit. If you want to move in (and rent begin) after that date, you will have to inquire with the office.
7. How loud is too loud? How many people qualify as a party?
Anything heard beyond the bounds of your immediate apartment, especially if it is bothering someone else, is too loud. Keep in mind that noises tend to sound much louder at night than they do in the day. There is no set number of people that qualifies as a party. A party exists when you do not have direct control over your guests’ noise. The more people you have, the more difficult it is to keep the noise in your apartment at a level that won’t be heard by your neighbors.
8. What is the neighborhood like? Is it safe?
You can obtain crime statistics by contacting the local police department. It IS city living, and as such does require some common sense. We tell everyone in all neighborhoods don’t walk alone late at night, don’t leave anything in your vehicles, and use your deadbolt locks. Common sense goes a long way.
9. Can I have a new floor/refrig/sink/etc.?
These kinds of improvements are done on a case by case basis. However we MIGHT be able to replace it as “winter work”. This would be done sometime in the winter when we are slower, as our schedule allows. Nothing will be replaced if it looks good and works properly, even if it is older. If you have an old appliance and would like a new one, it may be possible, only if: 1) you pay a percentage of the cost, or 2) there is an increase in rent.
10. Can I have a satellite dish?
No. We don’t want anything attached to our buildings that may cause damage. However, for your convenience, all apartments are cable ready.
11. Are outlets grounded?
Two prong outlets are not grounded. GFI’s are also not grounded, but they do have three prongs and will shut off if they sense a surge. If there are not regular three prong receptacles in a room, we MIGHT be able to put in a GFI. Ask management.
12. Do I have to be here for maintenance to fix something?
No, and please note we do not call ahead to make appointments. Our maintenance people do follow a strict procedure to enter every apartment. They will knock loudly several times. If there is no response, they will open the door slightly and yell “maintenance” several times to see if someone is home. If they hear a shower running, they will close the door and return later. After it has been established that no one is home, they will enter the apartment and do the work. When they are finished, they will ALWAYS leave a yellow ticket. This yellow ticket tells what work was done, who did the work, the date, and whether or not they will have to return.
13. Will I get a call before maintenance comes?
Not usually. We have many job tickets throughout the course of a day and several people who do the work. Many jobs take a longer/shorter amount of time to fix, making it very difficult to tell exactly when they might arrive at any specific apartment.
14. Is there 24 hour maintenance?
There is 24-hr maintenance for emergencies only. Otherwise, our normal crew’s work day is 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., M – F. If a work order is called in or received in the morning, we can often get to it the same day. If not, we get to it the next day. To report an emergency, call our office number and press #3. This pages our maintenance foreman. The problem has to qualify as a real emergency for him to come out. Please see the maintenance requests page for more information about what qualifies as an emergency.
15. What if I can’t move something through the rear entry when moving?
If a piece of furniture will not fit through the rear door, then special permission is given for that one piece only to be moved through the front. Please be careful, however, because we really do try to keep our front halls looking nice. Also, if others see you moving in/out through the front, they may think it’s okay for them.
16. What are the utility costs on this apartment?
Utility costs vary from one apartment to the next. If you call Laclede Gas and Ameren Electric and give them the exact address, they will tell you what the average utility costs were on this apartment for the last year (realize that you do not know how warm or cold the previous tenant liked it).
17. Can I control the heat (in a building with all utilities included)?
Short answer = no. Long answer = yes, but control is limited to opening and closing the valves on the radiators, affecting the heat only when the boiler happens to be running. To open a radiator valve, twist the valve knob all the way counterclockwise (you’re not really turning it on–you are allowing steam to come in when the boiler is on). When the boiler kicks on the radiator will heat up. To close a valve, twist the valve knob all the way clockwise. DO NOT leave the valve in the middle, as this will cause the radiator to fill with water and leak, causing expensive damage. The heating system works based on a thermostat for the entire building. When the temperature drops, the boiler is activated and sends steam heat to all radiators. If anything, it sometimes gets too warm, but you should never be too cold. If for any reason you are too cold, please let us know. There are a lot of things we can do to make sure the apartment doesn’t cool down faster than others.
18. What about parking permits/street sweeping?
You should always be aware of street sweeping days, because you may be ticketed if you park on a particular side of the street on the sweeping day. Signs are posted. As far as parking permits, tenants at Chouteau are required to have one to park on the street. Click the link for a Forest Park Southeast Parking Permit Application. Tenants on Ethel Ave. should have a permit to park on the street in front of the building, which they can get from city hall (they must show proof of address). Both are free with proof of residency.
19. How does the intercom work?
Most buildings have a combined intercom and door entry system to the building front door. Guests simply push the corresponding apartment button on the box by the front building door to “ring” the person in the apartment (like a doorbell). You can then talk to the guest at the front door and press a button that will release the door latch momentarily to allow the guest into the building.
The systems on Waterman are different. They operate through your telephone. Whether it is a local or long distance number, a land line or a cell phone, the Byron Company can program it into the entry system next to the building front door. Guests press a two digit code on the box to call you. You can open the door by pressing and holding “9” on your phone. This will release the latch momentarily. The phone must be able to hold a tone to open the door (some cell phones do not hold a tone, but that setting can usually be changed.)
20. Do you have recycling?
Each municipality has its own policy on recycling. If you wish to recycle, please call the office and we can tell you your options. Normally, you will be responsible for putting out the recycling container and bringing it in.
21. Do you go month-to-month or do you have shorter term leases?
No. All leases end July 31st. If The Byron Company is not notified in writing by the end of June that you are not renewing your lease, the lease will automatically renew for another year, to the next July 31st.
22. Do you have storage?
Some apartments have a storage locker available, some do not. Some building lockers (like Oakland) are assigned only if you request one. Otherwise, as a courtesy, we will allow long-term storage in the locked portion of a building’s basement. Long-term storage means seasonal storage for items that are not needed frequently. You must call the office to make an appointment to gain access. Stipulations include: Everything must be in boxes labeled with your name, apartment number and date. No furniture. We are not responsible for any damages to the property—basements are dirty and are subject to moisture.
23. Why is the deposit more than the rent?
We want to distinguish it from rent. It is not the same thing as rent. It is not to be used as the last month’s rent. It is held to cover any damages that occur to the apartment during the lease. It is fully refundable at the end of the lease term as long as the apartment is given back the way it was received—clean and without any new damage. (Legally, security deposits in Missouri can be twice the amount of rent.) Regular wear and tear is acceptable.
24. When will I receive my deposit refund check?
All deposit refunds are mailed within thirty days after the July 31st expiration of the lease. Usually they go out in the last day or two in August. You can NOT pick up your check—they MUST be mailed, no exceptions. We mail all over the world. This is why it’s important to get your forwarding address when you move out.
25. What if I don’t have any credit? What if I don’t have good credit?
We require excellent credit history. We do not go by a score, we look at payment history. Sometimes students have not yet established any credit, but if they meet the other requirements and can show proof of their full-time student status (12 credit hours or more), it is usually okay.
26. Do you accept cosigners?
No. We want the person who is living in the apartment to be the responsible party. We understand that students have other sources of income, so income is not relevant when we process their applications AS LONG AS they can document that they are full-time (12 credit hours or more).
27. What happens if I’m not approved?
If you are not approved, we will contact you and tell you why. The $25 credit check fee will be deposited and the security deposit check will be destroyed. This is why we want two separate checks for the security deposit and the credit check fee when you apply.
28. Can the person who signs the lease be different from the person living there?
No. This is similar to the question about cosigners. The person who lives in the apartment has to be the one responsible for signing the lease.
29. How do you determine who pays a deposit when roommates move in and/or out mid-term?
Anyone who moves in mid-lease must pay a half-deposit. In the case of two roommates who are both on the lease and one of them moves out, any new person moving in must pay a half-deposit to have a financial stake in the apartment. The deposit must be paid to our office, not to the person moving out. The lessee who moves out will not receive his/her deposit refund until the normal time (after July 31st). For all intents and purposes, the new person is taking the place of the lessee who moved out. However, nothing about the lease will change—the leaving tenant is still on the lease. A new lease can be rewritten to include them for August 1st of the next year.
The following questions pertain to subleasing.
30. Why does the sublessee have to provide a second deposit if the current lessee has already given one? Also, why do the lessees not get their deposits returned until August?
We will make an inspection of the apartment after the current lessee leaves and before the new sublessee moves in. If the sublessee causes any damage while living in the apartment, that damage is paid for by his/her deposit, not the deposit from the original lessee. (If the sublessee damages the apartment and that damage exceeds their deposit, we will try to collect from the sublessee. If unable to collect, the difference may come out of the original lessee’s deposit.) We want everyone under lease/sublease to have a financial stake in making sure the apartment is returned to us in good condition. The original lessee’s lease is still in effect until July 31st. This does not change, so the lessee’s deposit will get refunded when all deposits get refunded—in August. Deposit refunds are not processed until that time.
31. If I’m subleasing this apartment, why are you raising the rent?
Subleasing is something we give permission to do—you cannot sublease his or her apartment without our approval. We give permission based on your acceptance of a few simple rules, and one of them is that the rent may be raised to our new base amount. We try to keep our rents as stable as possible for current tenants, which means that oftentimes current tenants are paying a lower rent amount than new people coming in renting the same style apartment. If a sublessee stays long enough, the same will be true for him/her. The lower rent is the benefit of being a good long-term tenant of ours. New tenants/sublessees do not get this advantage immediately.
32. How does it work if I want to sublease my apartment and then come back to it?
We do allow this. The rent amount will stay the same in this case. We do require written notice of your plans–we have a form for this. Typically, in the past, we did not need to inspect the apartment after you leave—this was your responsibility. However, in cases in which the sublessee does not have a chance to view the apartment beforehand (in other words, the sublessee takes the apartment sight-unseen), we may inspect your apartment to ensure a certain level of cleanliness, etc. We reserve the right to reject a request to sublease given the state of the apartment. The sublessee must be approved and give us a full deposit, so that if any damage is done to the apartment while he/she is living there, we can deduct it from his/her deposit. We will not typically make an inspection of the apartment when the sublessee vacates. It is your responsiblity to make sure no damage was done. If there is damage, we will come and inspect. The sublessee gets his/her deposit back when you write us a letter stating that the sublessee did no damage and should receive the deposit back in full. We cannot release a deposit until we get that letter. If the sublease end date is past July 31st, we will require you to sign a new one year lease when you sign the sublease agreement.
33. Can I advertise and show the apartment myself (rather than TBC) and not pay the $100 sublease fee?
No. The $100 fee is a one-time fee charged to allow you to sublease your apartment. We are more than happy to help with the process, and will do all of the advertising and showing in order to rent the unit. You may advertise as well (but it must be approved through our office), and you can show your apartment to prospects if you want to (after checking with our office to ensure your information is correct). However, you must pay the $100 fee regardless.