Resident Frequently Asked Questions


After my application is approved, what do I do?

We will contact you as soon as possible to let you know that you have been approved. If you have chosen a location you will need to sign the lease within 48 hours. If you have not chosen a location your application is approved for up to 30 days while you choose a home that fits your needs and budget. We do not hold any unit without the applicaiton and deposit.


Can I apply my security deposit to my last month's rent?

No. Your security deposit can only be used for outstanding charges after you vacate the property – NOT for your last month’s rent. This is in the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act and part of your lease agreement.


Can I change the locks on my home?

Generally, NO. Most of our properties are keyed on a key system and any changes can affect the ability of our staff to respond to calls, lock outs, or maintenance requests in a timely manner. If you would like your unit re-keyed prior to move in or at anytime during your residency you may request this at your cost. To ensure consistency and proper re-keying you are required to use the approved locksmith for that property. Please contact the office and we can schedule.


Can I paint my home a different color?

YES, with a few stipulations. Unless agreed to in writing by the next tenants to move into your property, the property must be painted back to the original color by the tenant prior to vacating the property. This specific paint color needed can be received from the property manager. We recommend not painting but use other means of decorating to personalize your rental.


Can I withhold my rent for items not being corrected to my satisfaction?

No. Under the VRLTA it is prohibited for a resident to withhold rent for failure to fix items submitted. Please contact our office to discuss your specific situation immediately. Non-emergency maintenance Issues are handled in 24-48 hours M-F.


Do I have to be present for a service technician to perform work?

No, you do not have to be present when work is being performed.


Do I need Renters Insurance?

Yes, our residents are solely responsible for insuring their own personal property that is located or stored upon the property leased. Any loss from the risks of damage, destruction or loss resulting from theft, fire, storm and other hazards and casualties are your sole responsibility. Proof of Renter's Insurance (Declaration Page)  is required prior to move in. D.M. Rothwell, Inc and the owner should be listed as interested parties on the policy. 


Do you accept pets?

We accept pets on a case by case basis as determined by the individual owner of each property (many of our rentals do NOT accept pets). If pets are allowed, all pets must be listed in the Pet Addendum. There is typically an additional pet deposit of $350. Some owners also require additional pet rent on a monthly basis that is non-refundable. Again, each situation can be different based on the wishes of our owners. Any damage done by the pet is the responsibility of the resident. All pets must be registered and immunized in accordance with local ordinances. No pets can be tied on the property. Several breeds of dominant or aggressive dogs will not be accepted. Each tenant in the dwelling unit must agree that the pet may be on the premises before pet addendum is signed. Unauthorized pet(s) is a serious lease violation.


How can I pay rent after I move in?

All rent payments are through the RentCafe resident portal with a .95 fee to the tenant for ACH or EFT transfers. Debit or Credit Card fees are larger and charged back to the tenant. 


How do I qualify to lease a property?

Each Prospect will qualify by meeting 1 of 2 standards below:

  1. Have suitable credit history, rental history, and income that meets or exceeds 3 times the monthly rent for the property that you are trying to qualify for.
  2. Have suitable credit history, rental history, and obtain another lease holder with suitable credit history, rental/ownership history, and income that meets or exceeds 5 times the monthly rent for the property that you are trying to qualify for to guarantee your obligations.


How do I submit routine maintenance requests?

All routine maintenance requests must be submitted through the RentCafe resident portal. 

If your maintenance request is an emergency situation, please call the office for the on call emergency contact number. Someone is available 24-hours a day should you need specific assistance.  Please leave a message and someone will return your call.

If you have a fire please call 911 immediately. If your CO detector is going off exit the building and call the fire department immediately. Please make sure it is not a battery issue. Notify us after calling the appropriate departments.


How do I take a look at an available property?

We allow prospective tenants to view our properties by setting up an appointment with our office.  Please note that every attempt will be made to work with your schedule, but any current residents must be notified and given notice of at least 48 hours that their home will be shown. We typically offer showings Monday- Friday. Occasional Saturday showings are available with 48 hour notice. We do not show on Sunday’s. If you are working with a realtor and the property is vacant they can show it anytime with the lockbox.


How do I turn on utilities?

The resident is responsible for placing all utilities in their name and pay all utility bills due for services to the premises for which resident is responsible (unless otherwise agreed to in the lease). Utilities must be kept on through the entire term of the lease. Keys to a property cannot be issued until utilities are transferred or turned on in resident’s name. A fee could be assessed for any violation of the utility requirement.


How does the application process work?

  1. Each adult (anyone over 18 years old) planning to occupy the property must fill out a Virginia Association of Realtors application and return all required information, allowing D.M. Rothwell, Inc. to inquire and verify information provided. If applicant is a full time student or not employed, an additional lease holder , may be required or they must qualify on their own. Any additional lease holders must also fill out an application and sign the lease contract.

  2. Once your completed application, fee and required documents are received, your information will be processed and within 1-2 business days you will be notified as to whether or not you have been approved for the property. During this time frame, we will review your credit report, verify current employment, and check your rental references. If you are approved for the property we will contact you and the leasing process will follow.

  3. When signing a lease, the security deposit is due in full. The first month’s rent or prorated rent  will be due when you come to pick up your keys.

  4. In order to remove a property from the available market we will need the security deposit, application and lease signed within 48 hours of your application being approved.

Please contact D.M. Rothwell, Inc. with any questions that you may have about the application or leasing process.

Once you have completed your application, please drop it off at our office located 675 Berkmar Circle #103 Charlottesville, Va 22901 or e-mail it to us at


How is Rent Credited?

Rent is credited to the longest outstanding balance first. If you have an outstanding balance of $100 on the last day of the month and pay your normal rent for the following month the next day, your payment will be credited toward the $100 delinquent rent first before being credited toward the following month’s rent. If you do not ‘catch up’ on this outstanding balance, your account will be subject to Late Fees each month. Late fees that are not paid become overdue rent.


How long are your leases?

Most of our leases are for a minimum of 12 months; however, we do lease some properties for shorter or longer terms as determined by each of our individual owners. At the end of the initial term, the lease will revert to a year to year tenancy unless otherwise agreed to or proper notice of non-renewal given.


How long does it take to process my application?

Typically, once an application is filled out and dropped off, emailed, or received at our office, we can process your application within 1-2 business days and call you to let you know the outcome.


How much can I qualify for?

Typically, we require monthly household income of applicants to be 3 times the total of the monthly rent amount. This may vary depending on what utilities are included in a particular property.


How much security deposit is required?

We require a security deposit on EVERY property leased. Usually the security deposit is the same as one month's rent. It may be more or less but in no case shall exceed two month’s rent (the security deposit required will be detailed in your lease).


How quickly can I expect my maintenance request to be performed?

There are many factors that go into each request and we cannot set give an exact day and time. However, we begin the process on the same day we receive the request. We assess the situation and determine the proper course of action. Our goal is typically no more than a 5 business days to completion. Most are completed within 24-48 hours. Each maintenance request is handled by our contractors in the order that they are received, unless the request is deemed to be an emergency situation that may cause harm to health or property. In this case, these requests will receive priority.


I am a student or do not have enough income to qualify for a property, can I still lease one of your properties?

Yes, however we may require you to secure a suitable person to guarantee the lease. Or process through our normal rental application process. We do allow student loans and other financial support be counted as income for full time students.


I do not like the way a repair was done, what should I do?

Please contact our office immediately so we may investigate the issue. We can contact our contractor to address any issues with them directly.


My water bill was high. What do I do?

The number one reason a water bill is very high is due to a toilet running frequently or constantly. A toilet can consume 25,000 gallons or more a month. If you can identify the problem such as a toilet or leaking sink, we will have it repaired for you, and upon completion of the work we will provide you with any required documentation for your utility provider. Documentation of the repair is usually required for an adjustment to your bill from your water service provider. Also be aware if there are wet areas in the yard as lines can also break.   

If you require an adjustment you will need to call and discuss with your water provider. You are responsible for reporting any and all water issues immediately to our office. Check under sinks weekly. Reminder that outside faucets must be winterized to avoid freezing.


What am I responsible for as a resident?

Typically, all residents are responsible for:

  • Securing all utilities for housing, unless otherwise provided
  • Lawn care, unless otherwise provided
  • Changing the furnace/air conditioning filters monthly
  • Minor repairs to your home, including, but not limited to, replacing light bulbs, clogged drains, etc.
  • Changing the smoke detector batteries during tenancy (these are new when you move in)
  • Pest control
  • Complying with all Homeowners Association Rules (if applicable)
  • Following all of the terms of your lease



What do I do if I disagree with the refunded amount of my security deposit?

You must submit your dispute to D.M. Rothwell, Inc.  in writing within 30 days from the date of your security deposit return.


What do I do in a maintenance emergency?

If your emergency is life threatening or could have serious consequences, DIAL 911 IMMEDIATELY. For other maintenance emergencies, please call our 24-hour emergency line at 434-882-1014. This line is for maintenance emergencies only and is monitored after hours and on weekends. Please leave a message and someone will return your call immediately. Emergencies usually involve active water situations. It is your responsibility to know where your water shut offs are located and turn the water off to avoid additional damage. 


What do I have to pay prior to moving in?

You are responsible for paying all deposits, pro-rated rent and first month’s rent if moving in after the 16th. All monies must be received prior to keys being issued.


What do I need to do when I move out?

The property should be properly cleaned including carpets. All personal items removed. Lawn should be in good condition. Required professional flea and tick treatments on the unit if you have a pet. All keys returned etc.

Refer to your lease agreement and our move out procedures form for more details.


What do you do with my security deposit after I move out?

Immediately after you vacate the property, we visit the property and perform a move-out inspection to assess the condition of the property in comparison to your move-in inspection report. We then process your security deposit in strict accordance with the VRLTA and your signed lease agreement. You will receive a Security Deposit Disposition and the deposit refund at the forwarding address you provide.  We are happy to conduct the move out inspection with you. Please contact the office at least 48 hours prior to your move out to schedule a walk through. We offer walk throughs Monday through Friday between 9am and 4pm. This is not a "pre-inspection" and can only be completed if everything is done and you are ready to return the keys.  


What do you do with my security deposit?

All security deposits are held in strict accordance with the VRLTA by the OWNER of the property.


What factors do you use in determining if my application is approved?

We operate in strict compliance with all Fair Housing Guidelines. After receiving an application we inquire about rental and/or ownership history, review your credit report, and verify income and employment history.


What happens if I bring in an application for a property that already has one or more applications submitted?

All applications are accepted and processed on a first come-first served basis. Due to our fiduciary relationship to the owner, if more than one application is submitted before approval of an application we are required to select the highest rated application.


What happens if I do not pay my last month's rent?

You will be responsible for the late fee associated with the non-payment and be subject to the Warrant in Debt/Unlawful Detainer process if your account has an outstanding balance after all amounts due are processed.


What happens if I do not pay my rent?

If your rent is not received on or before 5pm on the 5th of the month, you will receive a letter notifying you that you are in breach of your lease and payment must be made promptly. If you do not make payment in a timely manner then we will file an Unlawful Detainer or Warrant in Debt against you in the local court of jurisdiction in order to collect the debt due. All rent collected in our office is done so with reservation.


What happens if my check is returned?

We will notify you and expect immediate payment in certified funds to avoid further legal action. There is a $50 NSF fee and late fees apply. Additionally, you will be charged with a NSF Check Fee and may be charged an additional fee from our office of up to $250 as a civil recovery fee.


What if I do not pay my outstanding charges?

Any outstanding charges 10 days from the date of invoice will become rent per you lease and will become part of your Unlawful Detainer/Warrant-In- Debt proceedings.


What if my application is denied?

In the event your application is denied, we make every effort to contact you promptly regarding the denial.  All deposit monies are held until the application is approved and returned immediately if the application is denied.


What if my security deposit does not cover my charges?

We will send you a security deposit disposition notifying you of a balance due that could not be covered by your deposit. Payment or payment arrangements will be expected promptly to prevent further legal action to collect the debt.


What is an Unlawful Detainer filing?

An Unlawful Detainer filing is the first step in the eviction process and should be taken seriously. A decision in favor of the Plaintiff (landlord) can stay on your record for years and might make it difficult to obtain future housing and credit. An Unlawful Detainer filing is also expensive and will be the responsibility of the resident it is filed against.


What is the difference between a Sublease and an Assignment of a Lease?

A sublease is a lease from one tenant (lessee) to another (called subtenant or sub-lessee). The agreement between the landlord (the lessor) and the first lessee remains in effect and governs the terms of the sublease. An assignment of a lease is a complete transfer of the right to be the tenant under the lease from one tenant to another. The landlord no longer holds the first tenant liable under the original lease. A fee usually applies to process paperwork in this case. We do not allow sub-leasing on any of our properties but we can work with you on an "assignment" to a qualified replacement tenant.


What is your application fee?

The application fee is $45 per person payable to D.M. Rothwell, Inc in cash, certified check or money order. Applications cannot be accepted or processed without the application fee.


When are Late Fees charged?

Rent is due on the 1st of each month. If rent is not received in our office by 5pm on the 5th of the month, a late fee will be charged immediately equal to 10% of the monthly rent amount payable to the owner of the property.


When are new properties posted?

Our website is updated continually to reflect our current inventory of properties.


When can I get my security deposit back?

Under VRLTA your deposit will be returned within 45 days from the date in which you move-out. Please make sure you provide us with your forwarding address. We cannot return any deposit without a forwarding address.


When do I have to return the keys after I move out?

Keys must be returned immediately at move out. You are not officially moved out until the keys are returned and you may be responsible for charges until the keys are returned. Make sure you provide us with your forwarding address when you return your keys. There is a minimum $175 (or actual cost)  re-keying fee if all keys are not returned.


When is rent due?

Rent is due on the 1st of the month and considered late on the 2nd. After 5pm on the 5th of the month you will be assessed a late fee. Rent must be paid by 5pm on the 5th of the month. If you pay rent after 5pm on the 5th of the month there is a late fee that is assessed per your lease agreement at 10% of the total monthly rent amount.


Where can I get information on your available properties?

Information on our properties can be found on our website 24 hours a day.  You can also contact our office by phone at 434-977-7676 or stop by our office anytime to pick up an available list. We are located at 675 Berkmar Circle #103 Charlottesville, VA 22901  Our office is open Monday through Friday by appointment.


Who must fill out an application?

Each adult (person over 18 years of age) planning to occupy the property must fill out an application.


Why must all prospective tenants fill out an application?

Every adult who resides in the property must be listed on the lease to have a legal right to occupy the property. We must verify and approve of everyone on the lease.