What happens with utilities?
The situation is more complex than with a typical rental (where you would just sign up with NYSEG and be done). In our case, your energy may be coming from solar panels on your property, solar panels on another property of ours (through the wonders of remote net metering), commercial renewable power (if usage is higher than we anticipate), and biofuels such as wood pellets or biodiesel heating oil. To manage all this, we keep the bills in our name, and then bill you each month. Your bill consists of an estimate for the next month’s usage, and a correction for the last month where your actual usage disappeared for the estimate (this way you don’t owe us a large sum when it comes to the end of the lease). At the outset of each rental year, we will give you our best estimate of what the bills might look like, but then it will be more or less if you use more or less energy than we expect. So you still have a financial incentive to conserve.
Can I have pets in my housing unit?
Generally yes, if they are reasonably well behaved. We charge $25/pet/month to cover extra insurance and wear costs. If you know your pet is going to cause serious damage, we suggest you don’t rent from us as we will be obliged to charge you for making good the damage.
Who do I call if there's a problem with the property?
For non-urgent maintenance requests, contact Katherine at the office at 607-220-3222 or Katherine@viridiusproperty.com. For urgent maintenance requests, contact Facilities Coordinator Chris Edwards 24/7 at 607-220-3686. For emergencies which require immediate police, fire, or medical personnel, dial 911 and follow all emergency personnel instructions.
Can I manage my lease and make payments online?
Yes! We use an online tenant portal called cozy.co to create your lease, maintain your ledger, and securely process rent payments. Electronic ACH bank deposits are free. Cozy charges a 2.75% convenience fee for credit card payments.
Can I pay by credit card?
Yes. Please be aware that cozy.co charges a 2.75% credit card convenience fee for all transactions.
Where should I send my check?
317 N Aurora St.
Box 2/Suite 200B
Ithaca, NY 14850
Can I pay in person?
Yes, you may either drop off a check during business hours at our office or leave it in the dropbox in front of our office building located at 317 N Aurora Street, Ithaca, NY 14850.
What's your late policy on rent?
Rent payments not received within 5 days of the due date will incur a 3% late fee.
So, are you going to treat me like dirt, like all those other landlords?
We start from the assumption that all our tenants are wonderful human beings who should be treated with courtesy and respect. We were tenants ourselves for many years. If you start to prove us wrong on the “wonderful” part, our fall back position will be “civil but firm”. In rental decisions and operations, we do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or religion.
Do you maintain the landscaping or do we?
By default, we expect to maintain the landscaping. We like our properties to look welcoming to everyone and we know you are busy. If you are a passionate gardener and would like to express yourself, let us know and we can work something out — many of our properties have flower beds and additional space for composting. As long as we think changes/improvements you want to make will enhance the experience for future tenants, we will probably be ok with it!
When you remodel, do you source building materials locally?
We are conscious of the issue. Where we can source things locally at reasonable cost, we will. Failing that, we source things regionally from the northeastern US and the closer parts of Canada. Failing that, the eastern half of the continent.
However, there are severe limitations on what can be sourced locally; we can get locally sawn lumber, landscaping materials like gravel, stone from Finger Lakes Stone, etc. We can get native plants from Plantsman nursery. For tile, we have to go further afield; we like Crossville out of Tennessee. We generally get cabinetry from Innermost manufactured in North Carolina. However, some things we pretty much have to get from further afield; for example, the only pellet boilers we have easy access to are European. The best mini-split heat pumps are Japanese. The embedded carbon in transporting materials is an issue we’re trying to raise more awareness of!
Are your buildings LEED certified?
No, LEED is a standard for new buildings, or gut rehabs. We are committed to taking existing buildings and updating them to be as near carbon-neutral/fossil-fuel free as we can make them without throwing away more of the existing building fabric than we can help. LEED can’t be applied to this.
If you want to know if we are for real, walk around the building and try to find the place where the fossil fuels come in. You won’t.
When you tear things out, do you make sure they are re-used/recycled?
Where possible, yes. If something is valuable, we will sell it to defray remodel costs. For example, we sell fossil fuel boilers/furnaces that we take out. We reason that most people are going to continue using fossil fuels for the time being, and at least this way we displace demand for a new unit to be manufactured. We sometimes have Finger Lakes Reuse or Historic Ithaca come take materials away for reuse. If all else fails, almost anything will disappear with a free sign on the side of the road. We try to send as little as possible to the landfill.
Are your own business operations fossil-fuel free?
We are working on it. We work with Sustainable Tompkins to do annual carbon offsets. We try to use machinery and vehicles that can run on biodiesel or electricity where possible. Our truck and van run on biodiesel except during the winter when biodiesel doesn’t work in our climate. We have a diesel mower that we hope to convert to biodiesel shortly. Some things are tough though – we have a small riding mower for when the big diesel would get stuck on wet ground, and that can only be gasoline powered.
Some of your units are expensive, do you plan to do more affordable ones?
We charge what it costs us to do this, plus a small profit margin. Houses in downtown Ithaca have recently become more expensive, and this is reflected in our pricing. The only way for us to offer this kind of housing experience at a lower price is to buy property further out of the city.
Do your units contain toxic materials like lead paint or asbestos?
Most pre-1978 buildings have at least some lead paint in, quite possibly including ours. Many also have asbestos in. For the most part, these materials are not a serious hazard as long as they aren’t disturbed or abraded, and are in good condition (for example, old lead paint will generally be covered with newer paint, sealing it in place). We have EPA certification to deal with lead paint safely. We haven’t had to disturb any asbestos yet, but if we did, we would use a certified contractor for that too.
Who do I call if I want to complain?
The company president’s cellphone is 415-613-4497. Call Stuart if you haven’t managed to resolve an issue to your satisfaction through the normal channels – he wants to hear about that and resolve your issue as best he can.