Frequently Asked Questions

Troubleshooting tips:


    Turn off the water at the main water cut-off. The main water cut-off is usually found in the basement near the hook-up for the washer and dryer, or on the wall near the furnace area. You would look for a straight handle on a large copper pipe, or sometimes a round handle, and it may be labeled “water cut-off.” If you are not sure where it is, please call and we’ll come out and show it to you.

    Where is the breaker panel? Like the water cut-off, the breaker panel box is usually found in the basement. It should be on a wall and can be on a finished wall or in an unfinished area of the basement. It may also be in the garage. Always check the switches in the breaker box if you have electrical outlets that do not seem to work -flip all to the “off” position and then back to “on”. If they will not stay on, call us immediately.

    Find and test all of your Ground Fault Interrupt outlets. Almost all electrical outlets near running water sources (sinks, tubs) and most garbage disposals run on a circuit that ties into a GFI electrical outlet. If your hair-dryer suddenly does not work, or your garbage disposal doesn’t run, check these first! They look like a regular electrical outlet, except that in the middle you will see two buttons – “test” and “reset.” Press “reset” and then try your hair dryer again. If that does not solve it, then check the switches in the breaker box. Make sure to check EVERY GFI in your house! Sometimes they’re in odd places and not right next to the sink. If we have to send an electrician to reset a GFI for you, unfortunately you will pay that bill!

    A wall outlet doesn’t seem to work – have you tried the light switch by the door? It’s common in this area, especially in newer homes, to find that a wall outlet is controlled fully or in part by a light switch by the room’s door. If that fails, try all the GFIs in the house, and then the breaker panel switches.

    This is USUALLY caused by a flapper which is stuck in the up position or not seated well. First, make sure there is no water on the floor around the toilet (that’s an emergency – turn the water valve off below the tank and call us immediately!). Then lift the lid off the back of the toilet tank (behind the seat). Look at the flapper – press it down. Does this stop the water from leaking into the bowl? You may need a new flapper – they’re cheap and easy to install.

    This is usually not a big problem. It’s often caused by hair or other residue getting stuck on the drain plug. If the drain plug can be removed by twisting and pulling it up, just clean it and reinstall. If not, give us a call and we’ll get it cleaned (note, clogged drains are a tenant expense repair).
  • FURNACE DOESN’T TURN ON (gas heat).

    Run through this quick checklist before calling us:

    1. Check the “light switch” by the furnace – it must be kept “ON”.
    2. Check your thermostat – is it switched to HEAT, On or Auto, and set at a temperature above the current room temperature? Try moving it all the way down to the lowest temp, turning it to OFF, then back to HEAT, to see if it resets.
    3. Check the removable main panel on the furnace – pull it off and put it back on. Is it installed properly?
    4. Check the breaker panel – has a breaker switch tripped off?

    If none of these work, give us a call. PLEASE REMEMBER TO CHANGE YOUR FURNACE FILTERS on a regular basis! Dirty filters will keep your home colder, run up your utility bills, and damage the furnace!


    Call us immediately! Pull the fridge out and see if there is an ice-maker hose attached in the back. If this seems to be the source of the leak, turn the water valve on the wall behind the fridge (sometimes it’s under the sink) OFF. It probably needs repair.

    Doesn’t run? If the garbage disposal makes a humming noise but doesn’t turn, chances are it’s jammed. First, make sure it is turned OFF at the switch. Then, remove anything inside the disposal that could be jamming it (bottle caps, coins, bones, anything hard that can’t be chopped up small enough to drain away). Then, hit the reset button on the bottom, and turn the switch on (with water running) and try again. If this doesn’t work, find the disposal allen wrench (in a drawer by the sink usually). This fits in the bottom center of the disposal – give it about 1/2 to 1 turn – this should free it up. Repeat all the above – it should work now. If not, find ALL GFIs in the house and reset them before calling us.

    Please report ALL maintenance and repair items to us, even if you have fixed them yourself! To report a problem or make a repair request, you may email us or click on the Tenant Repair Request Link on this website. Please report problems by phone ONLY IN EMERGENCIES. All other reports or requests need to be in writing.

Tenant FAQs

  • Q: Can you hold a place before I apply?

    A: No. Our owners want their properties to be fully exposed to the market until an acceptable application is received.
  • Q: Do I pay first month’s rent and last month’s rent with my security deposit?

    A: The first month’s rent and application fee are collected at the time you apply for the rental property. If you are approved and the lease is signed for the rental property, then the first month’s rental check will be cashed and applied to your first full month’s rent. The application fee is non-refundable. The lease must be signed within 3 days of application approval and the security deposit is due upon signing the lease.

    It is crucial that the first month’s rent and security deposit are paid to remove the owner’s property from the market.
  • Q: Are there any other fees?

    A: Your landlord may charge fees or deposits for other items, which may be refundable to you when your lease expires. For instance, you might be allowed to keep a pet in your rental unit if you pay a pet deposit, which is typically $500 per pet. Such a deposit is aimed at helping the landlord pay for a situation where your pet causes damage. If there are no pet damages this pet deposit will be refunded to you.

    Condo buildings occasionally may charge the tenant an elevator fee, move-in fee, monthly pet fee or deposit. These fees vary depending on the condo complex. Movers never set out to damage walls, floors, ceilings or elevators when they're hauling your boxes and furniture from curb to condo unit—it just happens. That's the reason why condo buildings charge new residents a few hundred dollars or more to cover the cost of wear and tear. Consult with your realtor who is representing you when viewing condo properties to rent.

  • Q: How old must you be to apply?

    A: You must be 18 years of age to apply for one of our properties.
  • Q: Is the deposit refundable?

    A: Yes, however, if the tenant fails to comply with provisions of the lease, the landlord may use part of or retain all of the security deposit for the payment of the following: rent, any unpaid administrative or other charges, utilities, or any amount the landlord may expend because of tenant’s noncompliance with the lease, including any damages or deficiency in the releasing of the premises, whether accruing before or after re-entry by the landlord.

    Other fees. Your landlord may charge fees or deposits for other items, which may be refundable to you when your lease expires. For instance, you might be allowed to keep a pet in your rental unit if you pay a pet deposit, which is typically $500 per pet. Such a deposit is aimed at helping the landlord pay for a situation where your pet causes damage. If there are no pet damages this pet deposit will be refunded to you.
  • Q: Who needs a cosigner?

    A: What is a co-signer? A co-signer is a third party who is responsible if you are unable to pay rent. This person does not typically live in the rental unit with you, but he or she is equally liable for your lease.

    A co-signer is often a family member or friend with a strong credit history and a solid financial standing. In many cases, landlords prefer co-signers who earn a significant amount of money relative to the cost of the monthly rent. Landlords commonly require a guarantor to make at least 80 times the monthly rent rate, but this can vary.

    If you fall short of the lease requirements for any reason, a co-signer can help reduce the stress of applying. Using a co-signer acts as insurance for your potential landlord if you do not meet the income level, credit score or other requirement.
  • Q: You have a property I want to rent. How do I apply?

    A: We need one complete rental application for each adult living at the property (age 18 and up). The application must be signed to give us the authority to run background reports and credit checks. There is room on the rental application for two applicants to apply.

    • The application fee is $60 per adult (18 and up). Please make this check payable to T & C Home Management. We will cash this check if we process your application, and once cashed, it is non-refundable. The check must be a cashier’s check or money order.

    • A Check for one FULL MONTH'S RENT must be attached to the application package. Please make this check payable to Long & Foster. We will not cash this check unless you sign a lease with us. The check should reflect “1st month’s rent” in the memo column- NOT security deposit.  This check must be a cashier’s check or money order.

    • Any children and pets must be noted on the application.

    • Please attach the following:  Proof of current income is required. For example: most recent Leave & Earning (LES) statement, copy of military orders, most recent pay stubs, and last 2 years W-2 Forms for hourly or weekly pay persons, and if qualifying based on self-employment or tip income we need copies of last 2 years tax returns with all schedules. There may be additional documentation required.

    • We will check your credit, rental history, verify employment, and our check may also include criminal/sex offender/eviction searches.

    • Determination of recommendation is made after careful evaluation of the COMPLETE results of your application.  We apply consistent criteria in recommending accepting or rejecting an applicant.  We do not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), disability, familial status, marital status, or national origin.  Final decision is made by the landlord.

    • We will promptly inform you and your real estate agent of the decision to either accept or reject your application.  We are not permitted to disclose any specific results of the credit or background check.  Rejected applicants are entitled to a copy of their credit report from the service bureau that provides this information to us.

    • A Security Deposit and any Pet Deposits are due when the lease is signed.

    • Please drop off your complete application package at our Tom & Cindy and Associates Long & Foster office.  Note:  we will accept applications by e-mail but will not process or consider them until all checks have been received in our office.

    Office address to deliver package is:

    7027-A Manchester Blvd
    Alexandria VA, 22310
    Hours: Open every day from 9 Am to 5 PM except for major holidays.
  • Q: How do I pay rent?

    A: Our preferred payment is ACH debit. What’s that? It’s an electronic transfer that lets you pay rent directly from your bank account. So much better than an actual checkbook. Simply complete our direct debit authorization form and we do the rest.

    Deliver your rental check in person at our conveniently located office.

    Mail the check to our office; however, it must be in our office by the 5th of the month or a late fee will be assessed.
  • Q: I want to get a pet. What do I do?

    A: Before considering a pet, be sure to check with us whether the owner will allow a pet and if you live in a condo, you need to check on the pet restrictions for that building. If it is approved by everyone, you will need to submit information on the pet, a photo and a pet deposit. You will need to sign a pet addendum to the lease.
  • Q: I want to move out, but my roommate wants to stay. What do I do?

    A: If you can find someone to take your place, that person will have to apply and qualify just like you did. If they are approved, a new lease will be written with the new tenants. If you cannot find anyone, you are still obligated to pay under the lease terms.
  • Q: My lease expiration is coming and I want to move out. What do I do?

    A: Our office will contact you approximately 90 days prior to the end of the lease to remind you that you must give us your notice to vacate by 60 days before the lease ends. You can simply email us with your intent and we will move forward with getting the property re-rented. The tenant may refer to their lease regarding the move out obligations.
  • Q: Who is responsible for paying for repairs & maintenance requests?

    A: The landlord is responsible for repairs not due to the fault or negligence of the tenant.

    The tenant shall pay for any repairs or replacements made necessary due to deliberate, accidental or negligent acts of omission of the tenant, tenant’s family, guests, employees or pet(s).

    The tenant is responsible for paying the cost of any unnecessary service call and any cost incurred because of the tenant failing to keep appointments with service persons that require access to make scheduled repairs.

    Whenever we send a contractor to perform maintenance on a home, we always ask them if the needed repair was caused by tenant neglect or abuse. If that professional states that tenant neglect or abuse was the root cause of the problem, then the tenant will be charged for the repair.

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