Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently during your tenancy, you may have questions regarding parking, noise, pets, roommates, vacating the unit early, etc.  Below is a list of the various issues most faced by tenants and the related policies or frequently asked questions.

Tenant Parking Policy

Most parking at Windermere properties is by permit parking only, and parking is preassigned. Be sure to read your lease.  In some complexes, no guest parking is available and unreserved parking spots are for permitted vehicles only.

If a vehicle is parked without a permit visible, or is parked in the wrong space, blocking the garbage area, or is taking up more than one parking space, the vehicle may be towed at your or the vehicle owner’s expense.

Please contact us properties@rentalsbywindermere.com if you are unsure where you should park.

Getting a parking permit:

  • Permits are issued when keys are picked up at the office at the beginning of a lease.
  • In some complexes, permits are replaced annually in the summertime with a new color.  Windermere will notify you of this change and set a time to pick up a new permit.  Old permits MUST be returned in order to get a new one or a lost permit fee of $25 will apply.
  • Each unit is issued a certain number of permits, usually one per bedroom and only to registered vehicles.  If you are allotted two parking spaces and have only one registered vehicle,  you will only receive one permit.  You need to provide vehicle information during leasing.
  • Broken permits need to be returned to the office and a new permit will be issued.  Do not throw the broken pieces away or you will be charged for a lost permit.
  • Lost permits cost $25 per permit.
  • In a sublease, the new tenants need to make sure they receive all keys and permits from the old tenants.

If someone is parked in my parking spot:

  • Do not park in someone else’s spot if yours is taken.
  • Report the make, model, license plate, and permit number (if displayed) to the Windermere office.

If I have guests:

  • If your lot has been designated a permit only lot, no guest parking is available. Guests will need to park offsite, on the street, or another legally available location.
  • Extra vehicles must be parked offsite, on the street, or other location as legally available.  None of our parking lots can accommodate more vehicles than the number of bedrooms.
  • Oversized vehicles that do not fit in the parking spots are not allowed to park in the parking lot.

If I have a motorcycle or scooter:

  • Each scooter or motorcycle is considered a separate vehicle requiring a separate parking spot and a sticker-style permit to be placed on the left fork or front windshield of the motorcycle or scooter.

Things that will get you towed:

  • Vehicles without a properly displayed permit (on the rear view mirror) in a permit lot
  • Being parked improperly
  • Parking in someone else’s assigned spot
  • Being double-parked or blocking the dumpsters
  • Parking on the grass or other ‘non-parking lot” spot
  • Vehicles that are inoperable or have expired tags

 Receiving a parking violation sticker:

  • Make sure your parking permit is visible from the windshield.  If it is, call Windermere to report the make/model of the car, permit number, and where the permit was located on the car when you were tagged.
  • If you do not have a permit, contact the office to see if you are able to get one.  If you are unable to receive a permit, the vehicle will not be allowed to park in the parking lot and could be subject to towing.
  • If your parking violation is not for a “no permit” issue, please report the infraction to the office and verify that it has been corrected.
  • We only tag once. The next time we tow.  It is important to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
  • To remove the sticker, lightly apply a solvent like rubbing alcohol, acetone, nail polish remover, or “Goo Gone.”  When the solvent soaks in, the sticker will come off.

Pet Policy

Be aware that not all Windermere properties allow pets.  If you want a pet in an allowed unit, please submit a “request for a pet” form, along with a picture of the pet, proof of vaccination for rabies (Cats and Dogs) and a copy of your city license (Dogs only).

If approved, Windermere may ask for a NON-REFUNDABLE Pet Fee, and an additional deposit.  The amount is specific for each individual property.  For an approved small caged animal, Windermere will still need the “request for a pet”, however the “Pet Fee” will not apply.  If a pet adoption agency or pet store requires written landlord authorization as proof the you are authorized to have a pet, ask for a obtain written notice from Windermere.

Windermere Property Management may amend the Pet Policy without notice.  Please follow our tenant rules.

What to know before getting a pet:

  • Where pets are allowed, tenants are limited to one pet per unit.  At a few select properties, two pets may be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Cats must stay indoors at all times.
  • Dogs are allowed in only a few of our units and cannot exceed 50 pounds. They must be least one year of age (no puppies please).

Some pets are prohibited from our properties:

  • Windermere Property Management forbids these dog breeds on our properties, including German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Terriers, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, Dalmatians, Boxers, Presa Canarios, Alaskan Malamutes, Huskies, Rottweilers, Akitas, Mastiffs and/or any mixed breed of such.  Some Terriers like Boston, Scottish, Yorkshire or Jack Russell are OK, but please ask specifically.
  • Please no wild animals, farm animals, rabbits, mice and rats, large reptiles, ferrets, all birds, all snakes, poisonous spiders, and poisonous reptiles.
  • If a Tenant has an illegal pet (i.e. a pet that has not been approved to be in the unit, or the required documents to get a legal pet have not been completed), he/she will receive a $200 fine.  Additional charges related to the cost of an ultraviolet test to detect urine and a flea spray will also apply.  The Tenant will be given a 10-day notice to remove the pet and be charged a $40 posting fee for this notice.  Tenants who fail to comply will be subject to further fines or eviction.

Some small animals and fish are permitted:

  • Small animals are allowed (only when caged), including guinea pigs, hedgehogs, gerbils, hamsters, and small lizards.
  • Goldfish and other small-aquarium fish are permitted (not to exceed 30 gallons) and do not require special permission or pet deposit.

Service pet;

Applicants or residents requesting to live with a service animal as a reasonable accommodation are advised to provide a letter “Request for Reasonable Accommodation” so they have a documented request in writing.

Tenant cost for a pet:

Once a pet is approved, a Pet Fee (when applicable) must be paid in full, and a Pet Addendum will be provided by Windermere.  The Pet Addendum must signed by all Tenants and the landlord.  Please do NOT move the pet in first.

  • The fee is not an additional security deposit and is not used to cover any damages the pet may cause.
  • At the end of the lease the Landlord may conduct an ultraviolet light (UV) test on the carpet to detect urine presence at a cost range of $30 – $60. The Landlord may also perform a flea spray from a licensed exterminator.  This cost ranges from $110 – $140.  These expenses are separate from the Pet Fee and other general costs. The UV test and the flea spray are not applicable to small caged animals unless the pet is a guinea pig or something similar.

Roommates and Lease Takeovers

Roommate disagreements: Windermere does not mediate roommate disputes.  Try to work things out or agree for one person to move out.  The easiest and most inexpensive thing is to stay and finish out your lease.

To add or change a roommate:

  • To add a roommate, the new potential tenant must fill out an application and pay all application/co-signer fees, then submit the application to our office and go through the normal application and approval process.  Additional roommates are not allowed if your account is not in good standing and outstanding charges unpaid.
  • If approved, the new roommate must pay a $250 administrative fee, and pick up and read all lease documents associated with the unit.  The new roommate and all current tenants must sign a “Change of Resident Form.”  The new roommate should get the keys and parking permit (if applicable) from the exiting tenant.

If roommates can’t get along:

The easiest option is to find someone to take over the roommate’s lease.

  • Before any change can take place, your account must be in good standing (i.e. no outstanding balances due).
  • If one tenant decides to leave, a new tenant may be found to take the outgoing tenant’s spot.
  • Once someone is approved, the outgoing tenant must pay the “Break Lease Fee” as described by the lease.
  • The incoming tenant must come to the Windermere office to pick up and review all documents associated with the lease.
  • The deposit stays with the unit.  The tenants are responsible for determining how to reimburse each other for the deposit.
  • All parties must sign a one-page document that transfers the lease from the outgoing tenant (and related co-signer) into the name of the incoming tenant.  Windermere is not involved in finding new tenants and transactions occur with all tenants’ consent.

If the remaining roommate doesn’t want a new roommate:

  • When only one tenant is leaving and the remaining tenant is not allowing the outgoing tenant to find someone to take over the lease, then the remaining tenant can agree to let the outgoing tenant out of the lease by signing a “Lease Takeover” with those involved.
    • The account must be in good standing with no outstanding balances.
    • The remaining tenant will need to submit a new Co-signer Application Form prepared with the name of only the remaining tenant.  This notifies the Co-signers that a change is taking place and fewer people are now involved in the rent pool.
    • These Co-signers must be submitted to us before we prepare documents for a “lease transfer”.
    • The outgoing tenant must pay the “break lease” fee as defined by the lease.
    • The Security Deposit stays with unit.
    • Once all steps have been followed, all parties must sign a “Change of Residence Form” for the outgoing tenant and their related cosigner to be removed from the lease.

If one roommate leaves, all others are still liable for the lease!

If tenants cannot get along and someone wants to leave but not find someone to take over their lease, any party can leave but needs to understand all tenants are still equally responsible for rent, damages, etc. whether they live in the unit or not.   At the end of the lease, the deposit is released as one check written in the name of the designated tenant representative.

Don’t move a new roommate in unless they have been approved:

If you have an unauthorized roommate (i.e. an adult living in the premises who is not on the lease), you will be sent a “10-Day Notice to Comply,” be charged a $40 posting fee, and may be subject to Eviction.

Utilities transfer:

  • If utilities are in the name of a tenant that will remain in the unit after the takeover, nothing is required.
  • If utilities are in the name of the tenant that is leaving, the outgoing tenant should contact the related utility company to have the utilities turned off in their name as of the date the lease takeover is effective.
  • The new tenant should call the utility companies and have the utilities turned on as of the day after the effective date.
  • Because the utilities should be transferred directly from one tenant’s name into the other tenant’s name, Windermere should not receive a bill for the owner.
  • If tenants fail to coordinate the transfer of utilities and Windermere receives a bill, tenants will be charged a billing fee of $25.00 per billing cycle per the “Utility Billing Agreement” in your lease.

If everyone wants to move:

All roommates can vacate and release the unit back to Windermere, and Windermere finds new tenants for the unit.  But, everyone still remains responsible for rent, utilities, etc. until new tenants are found.

  • Tenants will be charged for finding new tenants as described in their lease.
  • Charges include but are not limited to advertising fees, “break lease” fees, etc.
  • Once keys are returned, the Landlord will issue a statement within 21 days to show all the outstanding charges on the account.  This will include rent through the end of the lease term.  This will be adjusted if/when new tenants are found.  Once a tenant is found, Windermere will issue a new statement.

Early Vacate Policy

If you plan to vacate your apartment before the end of your lease term, you and related roommates will be responsible for rent until you find someone to take over your lease.  Vacating the unit and returning the keys does NOT mean you are released from the Lease terms and conditions.  Tenants who vacate their unit prior to the end of the lease term remain responsible for all the duties and conditions of the lease until the unit is re-rented or until the lease term expires.

Windermere will not allow a lease takeover if your account is delinquent.  All outstanding balances owed must be paid.

There is a $250 charge for any change of tenant/roommate as defined in your lease.  If all tenants vacate the unit, a non-refundable administrative fee of ½ one month’s rent will be charged with the move out notice.

Finding someone to take over your lease:

  • Advertise on Craigslist
  • Advertise in local media sources
  • Word of mouth through friends
  • Post flyers where allowed

What is involved with a “Lease Takeover:”

  • Lease takeovers will not be allowed if Windermere feels the unit is damaged well beyond normal wear and tear which would create a financial burden for a new tenant to assume the lease.
  • Windermere may also deny any lease takeovers when a lease has already been assigned more than twice or the original lease is more than four years old.
  • You, the tenant, should take calls regarding your unit and show it to prospective tenants.
  • Once you find an interested person, she/he must fill out an application, pay the related application fees, and be approved through our office.
  • Applications can be submitted on our website at www.rentalsbywindermere.com, listed under the available rentals as “Change of Residence/Lease Takeover.”  If the person you find does not qualify, you are responsible for finding another person.
  • Don’t stop advertising or showing your unit until you know the paperwork is completed and the lease transferred.

When someone is approved:

  • Both you and the applicant will be notified of the specific instructions regarding the approval.
  • Once those tasks are completed, the lease transfer documents will be prepared for everyone’s signature.  All documents must be signed before the transfer can take place.
  • If some tenants are staying on the lease, they will need to sign the “lease transfer” documents as well.  If roommates that are staying refuse to sign, we cannot allow the transfer to take place.
  • You must coordinate transferring keys and parking permits with the new tenants.

The Security Deposit:

The Security Deposit and Last Month’s Rent remain with the unit.  You and the new tenant must negotiate that transfer.

If you can’t find someone to take over your lease:

  • When you give your keys to Windermere, all amounts that would be due through the end of the lease will become due and payable as of the vacate date.
  • Windermere will begin advertising your unit as available to rent immediately.
  • You will be charged any costs associated with re-renting your unit as described in the Cleaning/Damage/Security Deposit Agreement.
    • These charges include but are not limited to advertising fees, re-rent fees, normal break lease fees, carpet cleaning, general cleaning, and any other tenant repairs as detailed in the Cleaning/Damage/Security Deposit Agreement.

About unauthorized pets and a “lease takeover”:

If an unauthorized pet lived in the unit, any takeover of the lease will require:

  • The outgoing tenant must pay for a UV test on the carpet (performed by a Windermere approved vendor) before we will allow the takeover to take place.  The receipt and results of this test must be given to Windermere to review.
  • If the test results indicate any pet damage exists, the outgoing tenant will be required to resolve these issues in a manner approved by Windermere before we will allow the lease takeover to move forward.

Neighbor Complaints

Our goal is for all Windermere tenants to enjoy a quiet, peaceful and safe place to live, so we try to respond to all complaints.  If you need to report an issue to us, such as parking violations, loud noise, neighbors smoking, etc. please submit them in writing to our office so we can accurately handle the situation.  Windermere cannot take an action against a tenant without written documentation.  Please try to work out disputes before filing a complaint.

Criminal activity:

You should immediately report any crime or threatening information to the Bellingham Police Department.  After contacting the police, or necessary authorities, please notify your property manager to document the incident or file a complaint.

Filing a neighbor complaint:

Tenants can come to the Windermere office and file a complaint in person or send us an email with the complaint to properties@rentalsbywindermere.com.

Anonymity:

Windermere makes every effort not to reveal the identity of tenants who submit complaints, but we cannot guarantee anonymity.

After filing a complaint:

  • If it is the first complaint, Windermere will call the tenant involved and speak to them about the issue.  We will then follow up with a letter to them.
  • Windermere will make a judgment based on this discussion as to whether a “Notice To Comply” will be issued or if a verbal warning is sufficient.
  • Windermere will NOT call the complaining tenant back regarding the problem or how it was handled.
  • If the problem still persists, please contact the office again so we can take further action.

After hours noise or parking issues:

  • Please report it to our office the next business day at (360) 733-7944.

 “10-Day Notice” or “Notice to Comply”

If you receive a “10-Day Notice” or sometimes known as a “Notice to Comply or Vacate”, read it carefully and comply right away.  They are only sent if a tenant is not in compliance with their lease.  If your rental agreement has been violated, it could result in eviction.

  • Notices come with instructions on how to resolve the problem issue
  • Follow the instructions carefully
  • Provide a written statement to our office verifying that the violation has been resolved.  It may be mailed or emailed to the related Windermere Property Manager that sent the notice, (contact will be shown on the notice), or drop off the statement at the office.  Please don’t verify by phone.  Keep a copy for yourself.
  • Fines associated with the notice must be paid within 30 days to avoid further fees.