What kind of lease does Brindledorf offer?
Every resident at Brindledorf must sign a Montgomery County Lease for at least one year, although we happily offer two year leases. In general we do not offer short term leases because every move in and out of the community comes with a little disruption. Leases for the Cabin and Cottage go to month-to-month at the end of their term, unless the resident asks for a new lease. The Farm House lease always runs summer to summer. (Back)
Why is there just one lease for the Farm House?
Montgomery County requires that there be a single lease for any single family dwelling. Otherwise, it is considered a boarding house and is not in compliance with current codes. (Back)
Why does the lease have to run summer-to-summer?
Brindledorf was created with the goal of providing high quality housing for teachers. Over the years, we have had residents with many interesting professions (several artists, a film producer, mathematition, speech pathologist, grad students, congressional aide) but having a summer-to-summer lease keeps Brindledorf in sync with the academic year. (Back)
Why can’t I share a suite with another person? I only need one room.
Montgomery County only permits up to five unrelated adults to live in a single family dwelling. The Left Wing can accommodate two adults. The Library can accommodate an adult and one child. If smaller suites are also shared, there will be too many adults in the house. (Back)
Can I get reduced rent for doing work around the property?
No. We welcome participation from Brindledorf residents who want to help on the grounds. In the past, that has helped to build community cohesiveness and makes Brindledorf a prettier place to live. We have found that rent reductions for specific work tends to breed misunderstandings and hurt feelings, with the potential to damage relationships. (Back)
Can I have over-night guests?
Yes. You may have guests stay in the Pine and Brick Suite for a small fee with prior notice and approval. There is no charge if your guest stays in your sprivate space. The county places a two week limit on guests. Guests should understand the layout of the house, be considerate of residents, not smoke, and not bring pets with them. Children must be under adult supervision at all times. Guests who need to do laundry should consider using a Laundromat in order to avoid inconveniencing residents. They should also be careful not to crowd the parking lot and park on the street if parking becomes difficult for residents. (Back)
Is parking assigned?
No. Parking is available on a first come, first served basis. There are 9 proper parking spots: 2 in front of the cabin, and 7 in the main parking area. Each suite in the farm house is entitled to one space, except the Left Wing, which is entitled to two. The Cottage and the Cabin also get two spots. We prefer that cars not be routinely parked in front of the Left Wing, and that cars never be parked on or driven across the lawn. Street parking is never a problem. (Back)
How does the hot tub work?
Children may never use it without an adult within 10 feet. People who use it, must take care of it. Sue and Nancy don’t touch it. If it is not used or cared for over a long period of time, it will probably be removed. (Back)
Who does snow removal at Brindledorf?
People who live at Brindledorf. (Back)
Can I paint my walls?
Maybe. Tenants must either use a neutral color, or leave an extra deposit to cover the cost of returning the walls to a neutral color at the end of the lease. (Back)
Who takes out the trash?
Sue and Nancy are responsible for getting all the trash and recycling bins back and forth to the street. There is a trash area with large containers for trash, a recycling bin with a lid for paper and cardboard, and smaller bins for plastic, cans and bottles. Please do not put anything but paper in the big blue bin with the lid. Please break down boxes so that they fit into the bin and are not piled up on the ground. If you have something to throw away that will not fit into a bin, please bag it, or box it and take it down to the street. (Back)
Can I have a garden?
Yes, as long as you take care of it. If it becomes overgrown, some one might mow it down. (Back)
Can I keep my things in the shed?
Each person may keep one bicycle in the shed. There are hooks to hang them from. The top floor of the shed is for general community use. Everything stored in the shed should be labeled with your name, or it might get thrown out. The bottom floor of the shed is for Brindledorf equipment only. If you leave anything there, it might get moved to another one of our properties by a worker who wouldn’t know the difference. If something is in Sue’s way, she might get rid of it. Leave things in the shed at your own risk. It is not locked and we will not replace things that are stolen or walk away. (Back)
When is rent due?
On the first of the month. Rent checks can be mailed, left in the kitchen drawer, or you may give us post-dated checks for several months at a time. Late payments cause us considerable inconvenience, and while we don’t impose a late fee until the 5th day, a payment that is even one day late means at the very least an extra trip to the bank for us and possibly a delay in covering Brindledorf expenses. (Back)
What does the rent cover?
Full use of your suite or house, and complete access to the common areas in the house and on the grounds. (Back)
What does the utility fee cover?
For Farm House residents only: Use of the house phone, including domestic long distance. Use of the cable with premium channels, but not pay-per-view. Use of the wireless internet access. Use of the laundry room. Heavy cleaning in the common areas. Upkeep of the grounds. Heat. Electricity. Water. Wear and tear in common areas. Rental license. Extermination fees. People who live in the Cottage and Cabin pay for their own cable, phone, heat and electricity, so do not pay an additional utility fee. Water is included in the rent for the Cabin and Cottage.(Back)
What personal items may I leave in common areas?
We encourage all prospective applicants to consider their space needs carefully when choosing a suite. You must be sure that all of your personal belongings will fit in your personal space. There is an unfortunate history of flea-market buildup at Brindledorf. It has made it necessary to be somewhat rigid about common space. Leaving a book that you are reading on the coffee table is no problem. Keeping your favorite tea kettle or other kitcheny things in the kitchen is no problem, as long as you don’t mind other people using it and there is space for it. A pair of shoes left to dry by the wood stove, no problem. We can not make space for any personal furniture, boxes, appliances or other things even on a temporary basis. Storage space is limited and it may mean that moving to Brindledorf requires finding other homes for some of your things. You may also negotiate with other residents who do have a lot of storage space. The Attic Suite has loads of space. Christina, a film producer who lived here for two years after her divorce, fit almost all the contents of a three-bedroom house into the Attic. (Back)
Is the Pine and Brick Suite part of the common area?
No. It used to be rented out like all the other suites. Now we keep it for our own use. We hang out there when we come to Brindledorf to manage repairs, cleaning and yard work. We use it for out-of-town company. If you would like to use it for your company, just give us a couple of days notice and it will probably be okay. We also don’t mind if people use it occasionally when we are not here, but ask that you treat it as you would any of the other private suites. (Back)
How do you choose Brindledorf residents?
A few months before the end of the current lease, current residents let us know if they will be renewing for another year. If there are going to be open spaces, we start advertising right away. Brindledorf has a litmited market, so we want as many people as possible to know about it.
About 6 weeks after we start advertising, we have a tour of Brindledorf with as many residents on hand as possible. Tours are generally well attended, both by the actively house-hunting and the simply curious. People who are seriously interested in living at Brindledorf come back later for dinner. The dinners are always a lot of fun, and give everyone a chance to get to know each other a little. At some point, we’ll go off for a walk so people can talk freely about landlord concerns without worrying about what we will think.
After dinner, people who are still seriously interested fill out a short questionnaire and application. We go through them that night and eliminate any applicants who smoke indoors, have tons of pets, or otherwise would not be a good fit for Brindledorf.
In the next day or so after that, the entire Brindledorf community meets. As a group, we select what we hope will be the best combination of people for the coming year. As soon as we can, we email those people and make an offer. After the offer is accepted, we take a deposit, check credit and references. Assuming no problems come up, we then let the rest of the applicants know the outcome. This year (2007) the tour, dinner and selection process were completed within 48 hours. We do the best we can to minimize the waiting.
We wish that we could provide a space for everyone who wants one. We often have to turn away people who would be a good fit, however, some times unforeseen things happen and we are able to offer a space later. (Back)
Is Brindledorf non-profit?
That depends on your definition of non-profit. Our initial investment, publicly available through the Montgomery County Website, was $720,000 to buy the property. In the first 6 weeks, we spent $150,000 replacing floors and the roof and a lot of stuff in the middle. Since then, we bought a hot tub ($5,000) put on one addition ($40,000), central heat ($28,000) through the entire Farm House, updated the kitchen ($6,000), had new gas tanks buried in the yard ($2,000) replaced lots of the appliances in the Farm House, Cabin and Cottage ($5,000), replaced flooring, added a laundry room and a new side walk to the cottage ($15,000). Routine maintenance, things like painting, tree work, Terminex, driveway gravel, broken pipes, and minor repairs averages out to about $830 per month. Utilities average $2,000 per month. The monthly cost of financing the original purchase with the capital improvements is $4,700. Taxes and insurance are currently $1,500 per month. At the moment, our monthly expenses are $8,915 if nothing goes wrong. Our monthly income from rents and the utility fees is $7,900 if there are no vacancies. The negative cash flow used to be even higher.
However, Brindledorf has appreciated almost 100% with all the improvements, and assuming a modest yearly appreciation of 3%, some years less, some years more, our profit on paper is about $2,500 a month. It's too bad we don't get to spend any of it. We are fortunate to have a healthy positive cash flow from our other investments. We consider Brindledorf to be mission driven, rather than profit driven. In 2009 we will be raising the utility fee to $125, but have not raised rents since Brindledorf first opened in 2002. (Back)
Can I bring my dog?
Maybe. Suites with outside entrances and private houses may have pets. Pets are never allowed in common areas. We really mean it. Occasionally it has been a problem. In cases of persistent disregard for pet policies, we do not renew leases. (Back)