15
Oct
Real Estate

Managing a Bad Property Management Company: Tips and Strategies

Blaine Annett
I
October 15, 2021

When a property management company is down on its luck, the tenants living in the properties they manage are going to suffer. If you're not careful, one mistake can cost you your home and result in years of financial struggle. With this in mind, it's of the utmost importance to make sure you're not cheated out of your home by a company that can't manage itself. In this blog post, we will go over some strategies for dealing with a bad management company so that you can minimize the damage and make sure that your rental payments stay on time and under control.


Responsibilities of A Good Property Manager


A good property manager will take care of all of the things a homeowner would do if they lived at a rental property. They will collect rental payments, be on-site during showings of their units, maintain landscaping and common areas, deal with repair issues before people move in or after they move out, and basically do any odd job that's necessary to keep a rental property looking and functioning well. With this in mind, make sure you determine how much money they charge for each service they provide. If you are responsible for paying for nearly everything, you should look elsewhere.

A good property manager also adheres to the local, state, and federal housing laws. These are put in place to protect the tenant from being overcharged, taken advantage of by sneaky lease clauses, or evicted for no reason. You should make sure that your property manager is following all of these laws and making you aware of them as well.

The last thing a good property manager does is make sure that your monthly rental payments are collected securely. In the past, it was possible to collect checks or cash from tenants and hold on to them until they were due. This increased the need for office space and staff, but it also made it far easier for employees to skim from the top. Since then, we've seen the widespread adoption of technology that makes it easy to collect and deposit money automatically. As long as you're dealing with a management company that is utilizing the latest security measures and software, you don't have to worry about your cash disappearing into thin air.


A Bad Property Manager Is Wasting Your Money


When you pay a company to manage your rental property, you essentially pay them to do everything an owner doesn't do. For this reason, it's important for the manager to oversee every facet of the business and make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. When they fail at doing this, you'll start seeing things like landscaping not being appropriately maintained, endless tenant complaints, turnover occurring before necessary repairs are made to the property, and uncollected rent payments.

A bad property manager can get you sued if they violate federal fair housing laws, which is why it's of the utmost importance that they protect your property from discrimination. If a manager is not properly trained on what makes a unit handicap-accessible, for example, they can get an entire building sued for millions in damages (and avoid eviction) by neglecting to make your rental unit available to everyone who wants to live there.

Finally, a bad manager will not be able to protect your interests in most court cases. If the manager fails to make sure your property is protected by a liability insurance policy and you get sued for damages, they won't be there to help you fight back against charges that aren't true. It's of the utmost importance that you find out what legal services the company provides and how much it costs for them to go to court on your behalf.

You need to pay close attention to all of these things so that you can know when something is amiss. As long as your manager isn't doing their job well, you will be spending more money than necessary on things like utilities or other expenses related to the business.


Signs of A Bad Property Management Company


With these things in mind, let's take a look at some of the most common signs you're dealing with poor property management skills:


1. They Do Not Provide Legal Counsel. While legal representation is not technically required by law, it can be beneficial for you to have an attorney who has your back during tough times. If the company isn't willing to provide that support, don't trust them with your money or property.

2. They Are Not Adhering To Federal Laws. Many properties that can be rented are located in areas where it's illegal for tenants to be denied housing based on their race or gender. Other places are not allowed to discriminate against older tenants and the disabled. If your company is not familiar with these laws and fails to uphold them, they're likely hurting more than helping you in the long run.

3. They Are Not Following Local Laws. Most local governments have their own set of rules and regulations that pertain to lease property. If your company is not following these laws, they could be held accountable for damages and forced to pay up in certain situations.

4. Their Employees Are Not Background Checked. A thorough background check on all employees is a must these days, and it should include screenings for sex crimes and other offenses that may give them access to your property. A bad property management company does not do this, hence it is likely putting you in danger while simultaneously putting your good tenants at risk of rape and sexual assault.

5. They Are Ripping You Off. This should go without saying, but some companies will engage in illegal practices to make even more money for themselves. Common scams include charging late fees when the tenant was late with their payment, charging multiple late fees for the same infraction, and adding erroneous charges to your bill without permission.

6. They Fail To Respond Quickly. All companies should be on top of things at all times, but some are better than others at getting back to you with answers quickly. If you feel like your company is ignoring your complaints, fails to keep you posted on what's going on, or seems to be delaying property maintenance, it's time to find someone else.

7. They Don't Take Responsibility For Their Company. The best managers are those who take charge and admit when they've made mistakes. If your company is attempting to point the finger elsewhere for problems that could have been prevented with proper training, it could be time for you to fire them.

8. They Don't Have A Solid Reputation. You can learn a lot about the reputation of your company by simply doing some quick online research. If people are constantly complaining about their services or rates on social media, on review websites, and elsewhere, there's a good chance that they're not a very good property management company.

9. They Don't Screen Tenants Before Approving Them. Every eviction is a hassle for the property owner, and it's made even worse when you have to evict a tenant who simply can't afford to pay their rent. In order to avoid this problem from the start, be sure to work with a company that thoroughly screens potential tenants before approving them for your properties.

10. They Threaten You. When you decide to go into business with someone, it should be a two-way street where both parties respect each other's feelings and opinions. Suppose your property management company makes unreasonable demands, acts inappropriately when voicing complaints, or seems willing to ruin your reputation simply to keep their business afloat. In that case, it may be time for you to find someone new.

You need to pay close attention to all of these things so that you can know when something is amiss. As long as your manager isn't doing their job well, you will be spending more money than necessary on things like utilities or other expenses related to the business.


How To Evaluate A Property Manager


1. When hiring a property manager, make sure they are licensed. The Department of Consumer Affairs in your state will be able to tell you if the company is properly registered with them. You can also ask for proof that they are insured and bonded. If they are not licensed, it may mean that they are not reputable enough to handle your business.

2. Before you hire a property manager, ask for references. Speak to some of their current clients and find out how they handle rent collection, screening tenants, responding to emergencies, etc. If you find that many of their clients are not happy, this may signify that the company is not very reputable.

3. Make sure to ask what type of training your property manager has received in the event something comes up. If they do not receive regular training, then they may fail to respond properly in an emergency or issue incorrect advice when screening tenants.

4. A reputable property management company will be open about their fees and will never try to charge you for work that they were not contracted to do. If they are not forthcoming with the details of your contract, it may mean that they are trying to scam you.

5. When it comes to finding a property management company, you need to make sure that they are reputable and trustworthy. Ask lots of questions and get recommendations from friends and family before you hire someone. Always do your research on the company before making the decision to work with them.


How To File A Complaint Against A Bad Property Management Company


If you are concerned that the property management company that is working with you may be acting unethically or even illegally, then it is important for you to know how to file a complaint against them. Not doing so can make you complicit in their activities and could ensure that they stay in business despite their shady practices.

To file a complaint against a property manager, you need to contact the local real estate association in your area. This organization is responsible for licensing property managers.

You can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or the Department of Consumer Affairs. If you believe that your property manager is in violation of a local ordinance, then it may be worthwhile even to contact law enforcement officials in your area.

If you do not want to take these steps yourself, you can hire an attorney who practices real estate law and will file the complaint for you. This is often the best way to ensure that the complaint gets filed in a timely fashion.

Once you have filed your complaint, it is essential to document everything that has happened or that you know about. This may include saving all correspondence, getting copies of leases and agreements, taking pictures of any damages caused by your property manager's negligent behavior, etc.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope that we were able to show you how important it is to find a good project management company and what some of the warning signs are so that you can avoid them in your future business endeavors. If you have any questions or would like more information on our services please don't hesitate to reach out!

...

Latest posts
Home
About Us
Services
Portfolio
Contact
Tenant Portal
Blog