Summer Heat and Air Conditioners
The extreme, record-breaking summer temps have been on a long streak. We discussed these items in the last post, so if you missed that or want a refresher you can see that here.
Watering the Trees at Your Rental Property
The recent record-breaking heat in Texas is rapidly depriving trees of much-needed water to sustain life and prevent disease, so it is critical that you make sure yours are being watered. Established trees do not need daily watering but will still benefit from weekly watering if the rains continue to hold off. A small windbreak tree, one planted a year or two ago, still needs about 2 or 3 gallons of water a week. A 2-inch diameter tree (measured at 6 inches above the ground) should receive about 20 gallons of water a week during drought periods. The best means of applying this water for landscape trees is slowly with a soaker hose placed near the tree. While tree roots typically extend out as far as the tree is tall, the critical watering zone is a distance out about 2/3’s the height. As an example, if the tree is about 12 feet tall, the watering should be done within 9 feet of the trunk. The water should be placed on the soil, not the foliage.
After long periods without rain and excessive heat, like we are currently experiencing, the water within the soil around your home evaporates, causing soil shrinkage. Over time, gravity will push the weight of your home down to fit into the new gaps, causing uneven foundation settling and possibly damage. While some settling is normal, a drought can make these changes happen much faster and negatively affect your foundation without proper support. If soil compaction is severe, this can result in a noticeable slope on one side of the structure, which can make a huge impact on the stability of your home and its foundation.
The best way to ensure that your slab is getting sufficient moisture is to install a soaker hose around your foundation, or else make use of a sprinkler system. In the summer, be sure to turn these systems on every day for 15-20 minutes. Because you don’t want the area under your slab to become excessively wet, place the soaker hose about 18-20” away from your foundation.
Watering Your Rental Home's Landscaping
Many properties fall within an HOA that requires the lawn and landscaping to be kept green without weeds. The lawn is typically maintained by the tenant, save for some multi-family properties or HOAs that have shared common areas. In order to avoid HOA violations or getting charged for dead landscaping at move out make sure to maintain the landscaping so it is in similar condition to when you moved in. This is required with or without the convenience of a sprinkler system
Watering Restrictions at Your Rental Property
With the ongoing summer heat comes a lack of rain. While we recommend the above items please make sure to take into consideration any restrictions in your area. These are usually published by the city/county government or your water service provider. As of the time this is being written, Austin is at stage 1 while a portion of Georgetown is at stage 3.
Did You Know - Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center
Austin Resource Recovery runs a site that accepts hazardous household waste like cleaning chemicals, auto fluids, paint, etc. They take the unused paint that is dropped off, reblend it, and make it available free for pick up. They offer free mulch, and other ReUse items for pick up like art supplies, cleaning products, household chemicals, and automotive fluids. Other items accepted there are better off being reused or recycled rather than ending up in a landfill like electronics, appliances, clothing, and housewares. A very handy list of what to do with various materials along with a comprehensive list of what they do and do not accept is posted here. The site is by appointment only for City of Austin customers, but similar programs for other cities and counties are linked on their website.
Nature Is Bringing Two Spectacular Shows to Central Texas
In October 2023 and April 2024, there will be two solar events that aren’t to be missed. If you’ve never witnessed a solar eclipse then you should certainly make it a point to try to catch one, if not both of these.
In October there will be an annular solar eclipse, which is where the moon is slightly smaller than the sun thus creating a “ring of fire” at the peak of the event. This link provides more info about the October event along with a map of the path. In April 2024 there will be a full solar eclipse, and here is a link to the event info and path. If you’re going to try to watch one or both of these we strongly suggest going to a location as close to the center of the path as possible to enjoy the best, and longest view. Make sure to track the weather around that time to see where the best place to go will be for clear skies. Here is another link to some info about these events, and there is a lot of info out there as Central Texas gears up for these.
Real Estate Scams are Prominent - Stay Vigilant
We just want to remind you that we will never call you to ask for your bank info, social security number, or other personal information on the phone or by email. We will also never ask you to pay for anything with gift cards, cryptocurrency, etc. All of our emails will come from our domain, www.stoneoakmgmt.com, or through our software as a long string of letters/numbers from the domain @stoneoak.mailer.appfolio.us. Our property management software includes a texting service that will not match our office number, but if you try to call that number it will go directly to our main office phone line.
Please stay vigilant, maintain a healthy amount of skepticism, and contact us directly with the number on our website or our direct emails if anything looks questionable.
Thank you for being a resident of a Stone Oak rental property! Please don't hesitate to contact our staff if we can help with anything.
Routine Maintenance Reminders
- Maintenance Requests: We still receive a lot of maintenance requests that state something vague like "washer" or "AC" without any other info about the actual issue. We cannot act on requests like this and will require that you provide more info, so any request like this will only delay a resolution to the issue. Make sure you provide as much info as possible in your request including pics if possible.
- Maintenance Portal: Please make a list of any items you want to submit, and then list all issues together as one request including as much info as possible and attach photos if applicable. We will then evaluate whether they should be split up or not.
- Smoke and CO Alarms: As a reminder don't ever unplug and remove smoke detectors because they are beeping. Change the batteries and if that doesn't work please notify us. We find a lot of tenants unplug them and bury them in a closet or drawer instead of replacing batteries.
- A/C Filters: Make sure to check and change every month or as required by the type of filter. If any HVAC systems in your home have a reusable filter you are still required to clean them periodically, so please make sure they are kept clean.
- Toilets: "Flushable" Wipes CANNOT be flushed. Do not put anything down the drain except water, human waste, and regular toilet paper. Food, toys, feminine products, wipes, towels, wrappers, condoms, and other objects do not break apart and go down the drain. Clogs of the plumbing system may be charged back to you, so it is best to avoid this by not putting anything down any of the drains aside from water and human waste.
- Disposal Systems: This includes using the sink disposal as a garbage chute. These appliances are not meant to dispose of large quantities of food and should only be used as a last resort after all food items are scraped off dishes into a compost bin or trash can.
- Drainage: Shower, bath, and sink drains can get clogged up over time with hair and other organic matter. Do not use Draino-type products as they are extremely acidic and will do more harm than good by damaging the pipes while usually failing to fix the drainage issue. The best way to address this is to use a disposable drain snake that can be obtained from any hardware store for a couple of dollars. Please note that if we send out a vendor for this and it turns out to be this very issue you may be charged back for the cost. Here is a video on how to use those - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOb4MJ6widg
- Emergency Maintenance: this extension should not be called unless you have an issue involving Flood, Blood, or Fire. Do not call the emergency line to follow up on existing work orders or submit a new request that is not an emergency. In case of an emergency call 911 if needed and then contact us after everyone is safe. Remember that we do not monitor emails after hours, so if you submit something considered an emergency online and do not call we may not know until the next business day.
Other Maintenance Notes:
If you'd like to inquire about, or update an existing request, submit the form at stoneoakmgmt.com/maintenance or call 512-617-6766 ext-5.
Maintenance time frames continue to be extended due to the pandemic. Please allow at least 5 business days before requesting an update from our team unless it is an emergency.
For basic DIY tips and tricks to solve some issues quickly, visit our DIY rental property maintenance page.
Your Tenant Portal & Electronic Statements
The system will generate a statement even if you're moving out, so there is no need to contact us if you receive this and are moving. All charges, including any prorated rent, will be adjusted as needed when the deposit is processed.
If you are not using the portal app that keeps you logged in please take a look at the linked flyer for more info. This can eliminate forgotten passwords, and help with easy updates/access to maintenance requests and all other account details.
AppFolio Tenant Portal Information