Jump to: Getting Started, Finding Tenants, Rent Payment, Maintenance, Evictions

Getting Started
What information do I need to get started?

To get started with Castle, we’ll need some basic information about your property, including details about tenants, maintenance issues, and utilities. A full list of the information we need is below:

Basic Information

  • Property address and type of building
  • Who has the keys


  • Contact information for any current tenant(s)
  • Status of security deposit and most recent rent payment for any current tenant(s)
  • Current tenant’s lease (if you have it)

Maintenance and Utilities

  • For each utility (heat, electric, water, and sewage): name on the bill and name of utility provider
  • Information about current maintenance issues, if any
  • Information about unpaid utility bills and/or shutoffs, if any

We may be able to manage your property even if you’re missing some of this information. However, the more details you’re able to provide up front, the faster we’re able to get started!

What areas does Castle serve?

We currently cover the Detroit metro area. See if Castle is available in your area.

Want Castle in your city? Join our mailing list to be notified when we launch in new areas.

Finding, Screening, and Placing Tenants
Do you charge anything to place a tenant?

Absolutely not! We don’t charge anything extra to place a tenant—the service is included in our $79/unit monthly fee.

We also offer a guarantee that we’ll place a tenant in under a month. If the search takes longer, we’ll waive our fee until a tenant is found.

Read more about why tenant placement fees are a perverse incentive on our blog.

How much will my property rent for?

The only way to know for sure how much your property will rent for is to put it on the market and find out. However, we can generally make an estimate by looking at comps of other, similar properties in the area. Contact us and we’ll happily provide an estimate for your property.

When listing your property, we’ll generally start at the high end of our estimated rental range and adjust downward if we’re not getting enough interest. Our team will work with you throughout the process to ensure we get the best possible price for your property.

How long does it take to find a tenant?

Assuming your property is rent-ready, we can generally find a tenant within six weeks. All else being equal, it’s easier to find tenants during the warmer months.

How does the tenant application process work?

Our application process has four stages:

  • Application: Interested tenants submit an application for the property.
  • Pre-screen: Before moving any further, we make sure interested tenants meet our basic criteria. (See below for more detail on how we screen tenants.)
  • Showing: Tenants who pass our pre-screen are invited to attend a showing at the property.
  • Reference: Tenants who have attended a screening and are still interested must submit a previous landlord reference. We contact the reference to get their impressions of the tenant.

The first tenant or group to make it through all stages of the application process is invited to sign a lease for the property.

How do you screen tenants?

We look at a few key factors when screening tenants:

  • Income: We require that a tenant’s income be at least 3x monthly rent.
  • Eviction History: If the tenant has ever been evicted before, we’ll reject them right away.
  • Lease Breaking: If a tenant would be breaking their current lease to move in, we won’t rent to them. If they’ll do it to their current landlord, they’re likely to do it to you next.
  • Reference from a Previous Landlord: If a past landlord doesn’t speak highly of a tenant, we won’t rent to them.

We also consider a number of other smaller factors, like whether or not the tenant has pets or a bank account. These criteria aren’t dealbreakers, but we do factor them in to our decision. For example, all else being equal, we’ll prefer a tenant who has a bank account.

One thing we don’t do is run a credit check. Although credit checks are still fairly common in the industry, there’s actually no significant correlation between a person’s credit and whether or not they’ll be a reliable tenant. Many people have imperfect credit but always pay rent on time.

Where do listings appear?

Our listings are syndicated across a wide variety of sites, including (but not limited to): Zillow, Craigslist, Yahoo Homes, Trulia, Hotpads, and WalkScore.

Rent Payment
How does prorated rent work?

When a tenant moves in mid-month, we prorate rent based on the move-in date. For example, if a tenant moves in on September 16 and their rent is $1,000, they would be living in the property for half the month and would owe half the normal rent amount ($500).

To ensure incoming tenants have the ability to pay, we always charge full rent on the first month, and prorate the next month’s rent. In the situation above, the tenant would owe $1,000 for September rent, then owe prorated rent of $500 in October.

What do you do when rent is late?

We do everything we can to ensure that rent is paid on time, including offering tenants multiple payment options and sending them reminders a few days before and on the day rent is due. While these steps lead to the vast majority of our tenants paying rent on time, there’s no avoiding the fact that late payments do sometimes happen.

Under state law, tenants have a grace period of five days from the due date during which they can pay rent with no consequences. During this period, we continue to send reminders. Many tenants wait for a paycheck on the 1st of the month before paying rent, so receiving rent on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th is fairly common and nothing to worry about.

After the fifth day, a late fee applies. The late fee in our standard lease is $35, but if you come to us with a preexisting lease, we’ll continue to enforce the terms of that lease (assuming they comply with state law).

If a tenant still hasn’t paid by the 5th, we’ll file a seven-day notice to evict. In the vast majority of cases, the letter is just a precautionary measure, and we don’t need to move forward with an actual eviction.

On rare occasions, however, legal action may become necessary. We offer a recommendation, but leave the decision about whether or not to evict up to you. Read more about evictions below.

What happens if my property has a maintenance issue?

There’s no getting around it: houses need maintenance. We work with a wide network of contractors to ensure that your home is kept in the best condition possible. And because we bring our contractors a lot of work, we’re often able to get better prices than you’re able to as an individual.

For maintenance under $350, or emergencies, we’ll handle the repair right away; for anything over $350, we’ll check with you first. In most cases, Castle will front the money necessary for the repair, then deduct it from the next month’s rent.

For every repair, your Castle account shows you the cost, service provider, date of repair, invoice, and photos where applicable. The Castle Experience to learn more.

Who pays the utility bills at my property?

Tenants are responsible for paying utility bills. When we move a new tenant in, we’ll guide them through the process of getting the gas, electric, water, and sewer in their name.

How do evictions work?

We do everything in our power to avoid having to evict a tenant, but on rare occasions an eviction may be necessary. We work with a law firm that handles evictions for a flat fee of $150 per (plus court costs).

Before filing any legal orders, however, we’ll offer a tenant what we call “cash for keys”. Basically, we’ll pay the tenant $100 to move out right away. This is better for everyone: you save on the costs of an eviction, and the tenant avoids a black mark on their record.

Broadly speaking, the eviction process works as follows:

  1. File notice
  2. Get a court date
  3. Go to court (handled by our lawyers)
  4. Receive judgment

Oftentimes, the process will end here. For example, the tenant might receive a judgment ordering them to pay all late rent, late fees, and legal fees.

If the tenant doesn’t pay what they owe, or a judgment can’t be reached, additional steps can be taken:

  1. File for order of eviction
  2. Receive order of eviction
  3. Meet with bailiff to move tenant out (if necessary)

Although the process is fairly simple, the wheels of justice turn slowly, and it can take a few months for the whole thing to work its way through the courts.

If it does become necessary for us to meet with the bailiff, additional costs are incurred. You have to pay the bailiff for his time (usually around $300), and the bailiff’s office requires that you order a dumpster for the property as well (also around $300).

Got a question that isn’t answered here? Contact us. We’d love to talk!