Landlord FAQ

Landlord Information Center

Frequently asked questions for landlords

When do I get my money each month?

The rental funds must clear tenants bank account before we can begin disbursing funds. It usually takes five business days for such clearance. We begin the payment of all bills, if landlords account has a positive balance and money is available, immediately. Owner ACH rental income distributions go out on the 10th 20th and 30th of each month depending on when the tenant pays their rent. The landlord statement will show all detail activity on the account for that month. Full detailed Landlord statements are generated on the last day of every month.

What are the initial rental fees and how are they collected?

It is generally preferred to collect first and last month’ rent plus a security deposit. We normally take a non-refundable cleaning fee sufficient to have the property cleaned after it is vacanted, plus a refundable security deposit totaling  one month’s rent. The property is automatically professionally cleaned between each tenant.

The security deposit is held by the Clients, as mandated by the state of Pennsylvania’s Real Estate Agency to be returned with in 30 days of lease termination.

How will TCS Management find tenants for my house? How long will it take?

Your home will immediately be put on our list of available properties utilizing all avenues of advertising: web site,  MLS, external signs, internet, open houses, newspapers, etc.

We are in frequent contact with many real estate brokers in the Philadelphia metro area and suburbs, relocation offices of major companies, and a large pool of tenants-in-need.

It normally takes two to four weeks to rent a home. It sometimes takes longer in the winter. A home goes on the list of available properties as soon as we receive notice from the existing tenant and permission from the owner to re-rent.

Many factors affect the speed with which a property rents including supply/demand, time of year, location, and condition. Our property manager will recommend a market rent based on these factors.

How is the property protected if the tenant cause damage?

In most cases, the security deposit collected upon move-in is more than adequate to repair the minor damages caused by tenants. Tenants with excellent credit and references seldom cause much damage and almost never in excess of the security deposit. Our screening company checks criminal, credit and eviction records as well as job history and landlords.

Should the tenants leave the property owing more than is covered by the security deposit, they will be billed. If they do not pay, it will be turned over to a collection agency.

Can I use my own service personnel to make repairs to my property?

We are more than happy to work with your service personnel. However, we do require that you allow us to schedule our own appointments for service at your property.

How do I get my house ready to rent?

Your home must be left in professionally cleaned condition, because the tenants will be paying a non-refundable cleaning fee. Your property manager prefers to arrange this cleaning to ensure that the cleaning guidelines are strictly followed. The carpets must be freshly cleaned and all debris and personal belonging removed from the house.

You should consider painting any room that has dirty or marred walls. A neutral color is best. Your property manager will be happy to discuss any necessary repairs or painting with you. Neutral window coverings such as blinds should be left, but not curtains that match a particular bedspread or couch.

Whether or not the washer, dryer, or refrigerator should be left depends on the property. You should discuss these questions with your Property Manager.

The tenants are requested to maintain the yard in the condition it is provided to them. Therefore, the yard should be freshly mowed, weeded, trimmed and the leaves and debris removed

What does TCS Management do if the tenant does not pay rent on time?

The rent is due on the first of each month and considered late after the fifth. If payment is not received by this date a “72-Hour Notice” to pay the rent or vacate will be delivered to the tenant. If they have not paid by the end of the notice period, we will notify the owner and file at the courthouse for a FED (eviction) hearing, which will be within ten to fourteen days. Tcs Management uses an eviction service this saves time and aggravation the flat fee is $400. The faster we get rid of a bad situation the quicker we can get a more qualified tenant in place.

Will I get called in the middle of the night with emergencies?

Our property managers get the emergency calls. You will never be called in the middle of the night! You will be notified via your online owners portal with what is going on with you property.

All non-emergency repairs come to us as a work order request submitted by the tenant. If it is a repair essential to the maintenance of the property and less than $350, the repair will be ordered and you will see an entry for the payment of that bill in your next statement. If the cost is more than $350, or if there is a question of what should be done, the property manager will call you for direction.

Do you require deposit reserves at the onset of our agreement?

Each situation is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Under normal circumstances we do not require reserves to be deposited at the onset of a property management agreement, but may if your property requires extensive make-ready repairs.

Who will I be dealing with regarding the management of my property?

Your properties will be assigned to our Client Services team who ensures all management departments are diligently getting the results you are aspiring to achieve.

If I decided to sell my property, can you help?

Yes, TCS Management is a full service real estate brokerage who specializes in Leasing and Sales of investments properties.

What happens if the tenant leaves before the end of the lease?

The tenant is responsible for the rent for the term of the lease. If they are forced to or choose to leave prior to the termination date, they will be charged for the rent until the property is re-rented to acceptable persons under the same terms and conditions of the original lease. The owner is responsible for attempting to re-rent the property as soon as possible in order to minimize the tenant’s costs.

My property manager has suggested that I paint, replace a few rooms of carpet, and have the house power washed before placing it on the rental market. I’m not selling - why should I go to all this trouble and expense for tenants?

A well-maintained property attracts better tenants, leases in a shorter time, and generally brings higher rents. Well-qualified tenants realize they are sought after and shop homes that are in good condition and offer the best value for their rent dollars. The money you “save” by not having the property in top condition will be spent on longer vacancies and the problems associated with attracting lesser qualified tenants.

What if I already have a tenant in my property?

We would take over the management of the property where you or the previous property management left off.

If I decided to purchase more rental properties, can you help?

Of course. Allow one our investment specialists to assist you in locating, purchasing, financing, and insuring a new property.

When do you need a rental license?

Any property owner who rents his/her property to others needs to have a current rental license. The license is issued by The Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections.

In order to get a rental license, property owners need the following: an active Business Privilege License number, an active Business Privilege Tax Identification number, and knowledge of the property and what type of license is needed. Owners will need a license for each rental property they have.

What is a Certificate of Rental Suitability and when is it required?

All owners that rent property are required to obtain a Certificate of Suitability issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections no more than sixty (60) days prior to a tenant moving in. The certificate can be issued for properties that do not have critical code violations. The printed certificate will include the required owner’s attestations.

“Property owners after October 1, 2011 will be required to obtain a “Certificate of Rental Suitability” at the beginning of every new tenancy. The certificate, which is available on line, must be obtained no more that 60 days prior to the commencement of the lease. The owner is also required to provide the new tenant with a copy of the “City of Philadelphia Partners for Good Housing Handbook”.

In order to obtain the Certificate, the owner will be required to confirm:

  • that the owner has a current annual Housing Inspection license;
  • that the property is fit for human habitation;
  • that fire/smoke detection equipment for the premises is in proper operating condition;
  • that the property will be maintained during the term of the lease in a condition fit for human habitation, and that fire/smoke detection equipment will be maintained as otherwise required by existing law.

Pursuant to the PA Commonwealth Court Order, no fee will be charged for issuance of the Rental Suitability Certificate. The Rental Suitability License can be obtained at On the left hand side of the page a link appears for Permits and Certificates, and then a link to Rental Suitability Certificate.

Violation appeals can be initiated with the Board Administrator at the Municipal Services Building, 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard.”

What is a Business Privilege Tax (BPT) Identification Number?

The Business Privilege Tax (BPT) is required of every person who wants to engage in business in Philadelphia. This includes the generation of rental income. The BPT Identification number and license are issued on a lifetime basis for the fee of $300 (as of Jan.1, 2009). Once obtained, the BPT license can be uses for all business within the city. Applications and requirements can be downloaded from the city’s web site.

What are the essential documents to have for a residential lease in Philadelphia?

  1. Pennsylvania Residential lease.
  2. ‘Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home’ pamphlet.
  3. ‘Mold, Moisture and Your Home’ pamphlet.
  4. ‘Partners for Good Housing’ handbook.
  5. PGW Landlord/Tenant cooperation addendum.

What is PGW's Landlord Cooperation Program (LCP)?

Landlords can be held liable for tenants’ unpaid gas bills. To help protect owners against the placement of liens on their rental properties for unpaid tenant gas bills, the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors, the Homeowners Association of Philadelphia, Bob Elfant (Elfant Wissahickon Realtors), Mark Seidman, Greg Damis (2006 President, Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors), Paul Cohen (Cohen & Wilwerth) and Philadelphia Gas Works set up the Landlord Cooperation Program in 2006.

Owners can visit PGW’s LCP site to register for the program. Once owners are registered and remain in a cooperative status, their residential rental property will not be liened during the term of the LCP. If owners are not registered, they can be liened for unpaid gas bills beginning Sept. 1, 2009.

(UPDATE: April 2010)… Various organizations are monitoring LCP registered properties and the L&I landlord database to make sure everyone is in compliance with the terms and conditions of LCP.  If a landlord is not in compliance, he/she will be removed from LCP and its protections. PGW has the legal right to file liens against all properties, including residential rental properties, for unpaid gas bills.  However, if a property owner registers for and fully cooperates in our LCP, he or she can receive lien protection for eligible tenant-occupied, residential rental property(s). In order to take advantage of the program, or for more information, please visit the PGW’s website at  Property owners are not eligible to register their own residences, properties for which the owner is or is legally required to be the customer of record, or non-residential properties. If you have questions, we’re here to help you, so email us at

What should I know about Philadelphia Trash Regulations?

Philadelphia SWEEPS officers are becoming increasingly active and are issuing more and more tickets. Take note of the following:

  1. If your trash is collected by the City of Philadelphia, trash cannot be put out until 7pm the night before trash day. There is now a $300 annual fee for all commercial properties utilizing the city for trash pickup. For more information on this fee, please contact the Streets Department Solid Resources Unit at 215-686-5090 or email .
  2. If your business has contracted with a licensed trash/recycling hauler, you must have a Dumpster License for all waste and recycling containers used by the business AND an RFI Medallion attached to each dumpster or trash container. Call the Department of License and Inspections at 215-686-8686 for more information.

Dumpster License Application
Dumpster Medallion FAQs
 Medallion Attachment Instructions

What are the city's requirements for smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors?

Philadelphia Code (Bill No. 192) states that smoke detectors are required in one- & two-family dwellings. It also establishes that the owners and occupants/tenants are responsible for upkeep and testing. Owner certifications of installation and operation are mandatory upon application and renewal of rental property licenses.

Upon the sale of a one- or two- family dwelling, the Seller needs to certify in writing to the Buyer that the required smoke detectors have been installed according to code. For the sale of a 3-plus unit building, there must be a system for the common area that operates on a secondary power source. For more information, please consult the Philadelphia Fire Code.

Philadelphia also recently passed an ordinance requiring carbon monoxide detectors in all one- & two-family dwellings. The law took effect Jan. 1, 2009, and it states that the alarms must be made by a nationally recognized laboratory and include detection and alarm devices. Owners and occupants/tenants are responsible for upkeep and testing.

How do I get a better understanding on the latest security deposit laws?

A security deposit is money which actually belongs to the tenant, but is held by the landlord for protection against damages or unpaid rent. The Pennsylvania Landlord Tenant Act places a limit on the amount of a security deposit that a landlord may charge.

After five years the landlord cannot increase a security deposit even though the monthly rent is increased. Problems and disputes can be directed to the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555.

I received a letter from the Streets Department that states I have to file a Commercial Solid Waste and Recycling plan. What's that?

A security deposit is money which actually belongs to the tenant, but is held A businesss located in Philadelphia must recycle, and you must prepare a plan for recycling to file with the Streets Department. The plan may be prepared and submitted online at the city’s website. In order to file a plan, you must have ”

  1. A BRT number.
  2. Recycling vendor’s information.
  3. Information about the owner or manager of your property’s business,.
  4. The types of material that will be recycled.

Violations or failure to implement the plan could result in a $500 fine.

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