Answers to your questions

About Darwin

Are you licensed?

Yes! We are fully compliant with local and state regulations. Our Texas operation operates under a Broker License and is registered with TREC (Texas Real Estate Commission). Anyone involved with leasing and/or the collection of payments holds at least a salesperson license.

Darwinis a member of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), and is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Are you insured?

Yes! We are insured with liability, errors and omissions, and workers comp insurance.

What types of properties and leases do you manage?

We manage residential properties of all types, including single-family homes (SFH), condos, townhomes, duplexes, and small apartment buildings (up to 100 units).

We are unable to service furnished units, properties in which the owner lives onsite, short-term or vacation rentals, units with actively contested evictions, individual rooms, or properties that are not code-compliant.

Leasing

How do you price my rental property?

We use a combination of technology and local market expertise to optimize your rental property pricing.

  • Local Rent Comparables
    ⁠We tap into our extensive database of local lease transactions over the past 30-90 days. This allows us to develop an in-depth understanding of the market clearing price for similar sized and appointed rentals.
  • Local Market Conditions
    ⁠Are we seeing a pick-up or slow-down? Are units currently sitting on the market for more days than average? Our local teams have real-time knowledge of what’s happening today ensuring that we can offer a competitive price.
  • Minimizing Vacant Days
    While collecting high rent is desirable, pricing too high will leave your home vacant longer than expected. Every day vacant means fewer dollars in your pocket. We strike a balance between achieving top dollar rent and minimizing days on market.

How does Darwin determine my rental estimate and who decides the final price?

Ultimately, the rent price is up to you. We will provide recommendations and help you maximize rents and minimize days on market. An estimate can be provided early but a more thorough report will delivered after inspection.

Can I use my own lease agreement or added addendums?

The only time owners are permitted to user their own lease is if the resident signs that agreement and moves in before Darwin assumes management. Our standard lease agreement does allow for some customization, but owners are not permitted to add addendums.

What is the allowed lease term?

Lease duration is up to you. 12-18 month leases are the most common. We can also support multi-year leases, though such leasing fees range from 125-150% of the first month’s rent.

Should I allow pets?

In some markets, pet-friendly homes can lease much faster. It’s up to you whether or not to allow pets, and you can find details on our pet policy at residents resources. If you opt to allow pets, you may specify the species and number allowed (up to four). We will require a refundable $300 deposit per pet from the resident.

What appliances am I required to furnish?

Owners are only required to provide a range, or stove. All other appliances including washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, and microwave are optional.

How does Darwin list and show homes?

We list available rentals on many of the most common listing website and the MLS. We utilize self-showings, which is a process in which prospective residents receive a one-time access code to self-tour the property. This increases the number of tours we can facilitate and minimizes the days on market.

How do you screen Residents?

We conduct extensive screenings of all applicants. We run background and credit checks, as well as gather references from prior landlords on payment and behavior history.

We process multiple applications at once and homes are available to qualified applicants on a first-come-first-served basis. To ensure compliance with fair housing and nondiscrimination laws, owners are not involved in the resident selection process. For more information, please visit hud.gov/fairhousing.

Management

Can the resident pay rent directly to me?

We require that all rent payments and deposits be made directly to Darwin. We ensure that appropriate funds are available to the resident after a move-out inspection is completed.

Is a security deposit required?

Darwin requires either a refundable security deposit (the amount depends on screening score) or a nonrefundable surety bond that is provided through Rhino. All qualified Darwin applicants may choose either option for security deposit.

Maintenance

How do you fulfill maintenance requests?

Residents submit maintenance requests through their online portal, where they can also attach photos/videos to help us better diagnose the issue and dispatch out the correct vendor the first time!

We work with the highest performing, responsive, licensed and insured local vendors to ensure issues are resolved in a timely manner.

Do you handle maintenance issues which happen late at night?

Yes! Our call center handles maintenance issues whenever they occur 24/7/365.

How do I pay for maintenance?

Owners with less than 4 properties under our care must maintain a minimum maintenance reserve account of $500 per property, and $350 with more than 4 properties. Service requests costing below this amount will be authorized automatically and the account reloaded.

You will always have visibility into property activity via your online Darwin portal and you will be notified before proceeding with any work over $500.

What kind of inspections does Darwin perform?
  • Initial inspection and turns
    This inspection is conducted when a vacant home is being onboarded to Darwin or when an existing Darwin home becomes a vacant. If a resident recently vacated, we document signs of damage caused by the resident and withhold applicable funds from the security deposit.
  • Pre move-in walkthrough
    ⁠If your property has been vacant for some time or was subject to a larger turn, we will conduct a final walkthrough to ensure that it is resident ready

What are components of an inspection?
  • Required fixes
    All properties must adhere to state and local codes for habitability. Darwin may require additional improvements to meet company standards. Appliances and utilities must be on and in working order.
  • Recommended fixes
    Detailed, optional recommendations that we hope you’ll authorize, since well-maintained properties fetch higher rents, receive fewer maintenance requests, and are more likely to foster responsible, long-term residents.
  • Preventative fixes
    We keep an eye on aging appliances and look for signs of long-term property damage, such as water damage, infestations, and foundation settling.

What is Darwin’s maintenance process?

All maintenance and repair work, including turns and renovations, must go through Darwin while we are serving as property manager. If you have preferred providers, we will screen them for liability insurance and licensing, and they need to agree to be dispatched through our vendor portal.

Our maintenance and repair flow is as follows:

  1. Residents submit routine maintenance requests through their online portal, including photos or videos to help us diagnose the problem. Our call center handles emergencies 24/7 all year round.
  2. Based on the nature of the request, Darwin will dispatch the most appropriate vendor. When available, our in-house handyman services help provide predictable pricing, accurate repair times, and a guarantee on the work. For specialized work, we partner with the highest performing, responsive, licensed, and insured local vendors.
  3. Darwin does not charge fees for receiving service requests, nor do we charge markups for work performed by third-party vendors. Service requests fulfilled by Darwin are always priced according to a prescribed maintenance cost schedule and hourly rate.

Payment

How much security deposit do you charge the Resident?

We will typically hold the equivalent of one month’s rent. Certain circumstances may necessitate that we hold a higher deposit.

When do Residents pay rent?

Rent payments are due on the 1st of every month. Rent is considered late after the 4th of the month, incurring an initial $50 late fee and a $10 a day thereafter.

How do we handle late payments and evictions?

Generally, if rent is still unpaid by the 10th day of the month, we begin issuing a notice to vacate in accordance with local law. In most cases, there is a three-day notice before an eviction can be filed.

We can facilitate evictions without an attorney. In such cases, there is not cost for our assistance beyond administrative costs. Darwin will always pursue reimbursement for unpaid rent and court/attorney fees from the resident.

When is rent disbursed?

Depending on when residents pay the rent, Darwin disburses funds on the 5th of the month, 10th of the month, and each Tuesday thereafter.

Do you handle all outstanding bills related to my investment property?

Yes! We handle all day-to-day operations, which includes taking care of monthly bills and expenses incurred to repair and maintain your investment.