Trying to request a problem get resolved or issue be taken care of by a landlord, property manager, or property management company, can be a difficult and time-consuming enterprise, even for emergency situations. What is an emergency for you is likely a hassle for the property management company, and rarely are these companies empathetic, sympathetic, or eager to fix much of anything, as problems cost money and take up resources. It isn’t uncommon for property management companies to ignore requests, as they hope, and often succeed, in waiting so long that the tenant gives up. PLEASE do not do that, if tenants give up or ignore the issue, property management companies win, as it allows them to continue the poor behavior.
Below is a path to try and persuade property managers to take care of the problem(s). It might not always work quickly, but the more you are persistent, the better your chances are for success. In my experience in investigating these companies, they largely care less about tenants, make promises and commitments they don’t keep, and are perfectly fine in that space. It is truly shocking, but a reality that many renters face. To be sure, there are less than reasonable tenants as well, and property managers do deal with unruly folks themselves, but this piece is about property management companies (PMC’s) and how tenants can facilitate getting things done.
Directly Contact the Company
First, contact the property management company directly. If the local manager isn’t helpful, take the grip upwards. Sometimes miscommunications happen, so continue upward until you reach the top. Ensure that you are nice, but set expectations and make requests, simply complaining might not get you very far. Document all calls, emails, texts, and other communications, this is important if legal action is necessary. Take photos and videos if it is something that can be visually documented. Use a time-stamp app on your phone to prove the date and time the images and video were taken.
For issues like mold, damage to the property, backed up sinks, etc., visual proof of the issue goes a long way when articulating what the problem is. If it is financial, or contractual, keep copies of documents, PMC’s are notorious for over-billing and making promises and guarantees they do not stick to. If you are in a state that allows recording over the phone, do it, or when you are in their office, and it is in the public sphere, and no expectation of privacy is warranted, record the conversation (check local laws on this, we are not attorneys, and don’t give legal advice, but just providing some ideas).
Share your Concerns Online and Honestly
Next, hit social media. If all attempts have failed to request assistance from the property manager and property management company, provide constructive feedback on related websites. It is important to be factual and to the point. Remember that whatever you post could come back on you if you are not honest, so do not exaggerate or lie, be respectful to the process. You do not want the management company to lie or be deceitful, though if you are at this point, they probably did both, but take the high road, even though it can be time consuming.
Where to Leave Feedback 💬
- Better Business Bureau for your area
Where to File Complaints 💬
- State Attorney General Office
- State Real estate Board (most states have licensing requirements for property managers)
- For more information visit: www.justice.gov/crt/fair-housing-act-2
Court is the Last Resort
Finally, if all else fails, take them to court. Before doing so you can try to organize a group of others to join you, tape a flyer to each of the other tenant’s doors, or place a flyer on a message board, or in mailboxes, to see if anyone else has had the same issues. Getting corroborating witnesses can be extremely helpful, it is likely the management company has several detractors, finding those to help your cause is the smart thing to do. And even further, by finding past employees, can also be beneficial, the majority of maintenance crews are well aware of the manager and management company’s policies and what they were asked to do.
In the end, this is a time-consuming process, but it can be rewarding for those willing to hold the PMC accountable. They are betting against you, as usually their contracts are written to where you will essentially be required to enter into a legal battle, but please do so, someone MUST hold them accountable, it might as well be you. And if all this info and processes do not work, of if you have any questions, we can probably up the game a bit, give us a call.
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