The Seven Most Common Complaints about Property Managers

2015-08-15

The Seven Most Common Complaints about Property Managers

We Started With a List of Twenty-Three, But We Narrowed It Down.

A suggestion box.It’s a little close to home, to be a property manager and decide to research what owners & tenants complain about their property managers about. But no matter what industry you’re in, it’s a good idea to have a firm grip on how the outside world sees you so that you can take special efforts to not be that company. So, in the name of honest self-appraisal, here’s what we hear are the most common problems people — tenants and investors alike! — have with their PMs:

 

#7: Our Property Manager Won’t Handle Some Details.

Every property manager has a level of services that they’re comfortable providing — not all of us can be full-service. Generally speaking, however, you’ll know this up front, because every service the PM is willing to provide will be laid out in the contact that you sign when you hire them. If you need a property manager to handle details that your current PM won’t, the answer is pretty simple: hire someone who will.

 

#6: Our Property Manager Overspends on Everything.

Another semi-common complaint of investors who hire property managers, but this one requires some brutal honesty. There are property managers out there who will operate without a keen eye on your bottom line – unfortunately, too many. Most of the time, if you hear yourself making this complaint about a property manager, the problem is communication & expectations. If you set parameters upfront and ask your property manager to explain why they want to do something, you’ll usually avoid them spending your money “recklessly’. Of course if they still do, then replace them.

 

#5: Our Property Manager Is Spread Too Thin.

If your PM is overseeing more than 75-100 properties per full-time employee devoted to the management job, you’re probably right. (Less for a new manager, but not really any more for a very experienced manager — there is a pretty hard limit on time per week that no amount of experience can overcome.) If they’re handling meaningfully fewer properties than that and you’re still feeling unattended-to, it’s time to ask why, and ask what can be done about it.

 

#4: Our Property Manager Never Explains Why.

This is definitely a problem with your property manager — open communication in every direction, from tenant to PM to investor and back again, is an absolute necessity for a successful PM. If you’re a tenant, unfortunately, the most you can do is ask questions persistently. If you’re an investor and you’re not getting the communication you need from your PM, demand it. There’s no good reason to not know what’s going on with your own investment, period.

 

#3: Our Property Manager Is a Jerk!

This is another tossup complaint — sometimes, the PM really is being unreasonable. Hey, it’s a stressful job, and when you’re dealing with the fourth tenant of the day and the first three were being completely unreasonable, it’s easy to take it out on the fourth. But just as often (if not moreso), the tenant complaining has genuinely unrealistic expectations. We’re not jerks — you’re the one who’s16 days late on your rent, buddy. Sorry.

 

#2: Our Property Manager Never Returns Our Calls.

Have you tried calling on Wednesday? Seriously, the timing of when you try to get ahold of your PM — whether you’re a tenant or a client — can make a huge difference as to when (or if!) you get a call back. There are occasionally some PMs who will avoid an issue thinking that somehow that’s better than facing it head-on. We call them ‘the future unemployed.’ If your manager is an avoider, quite frankly, ditch them.

 

#1: Our Property Manager Takes Forever To Get Anything Done.

Yes. We do. Or rather, more accurately, it almost always takes forever to get anything done when you’re talking about managing a property. If you’re an investor and you’re wondering why you’re still not seeing rental income on that property you signed on last month, it’s probably because your PM is waiting on some government official to do their job. If you’re a tenant and you’re wondering why your dishwasher is still broken, it’s probably because the PM has three other more dangerous repairs that are draining his limited budget and you’re doing dishes by hand for an extra week isn’t nearly as important as 303 Franklin’s crumbling basement stairs. Or the PM may be waiting on owner approval. Property management just isn’t a job that gets instant results, and you’ll find that nearly every PM in the country has this complaint — because yeah…it’s true. Our apologies!

7 thoughts on “The Seven Most Common Complaints about Property Managers

  1. im a 63 yr old senior and i pay rent and have a lease in a what i assumed was a senior living apartment complex when i moved in. i had to be 62 to move in not quite a yr ago. my neighbors whom i assume are also 62yrs. of age have their 50ish yr old daughter staying with them and this daughter is a convicted thief and she has two children one about 10yrs old and the other a teen whom at the time they moved in as I did had a boyfriend that was verbally abusive to me. anyway these extra people that are living with this senior couple do not pay rent or have a lease and have continuously lived next door for almost an entire year free of paying anything and they have constanly have traffic encluding themselves and all kinds of relatives and friends and teenagers coming and going all hours of the day and night and when i was told on the day i started to move in that things were to be quiet starting at 8pm at night. no pounding nails in the walls etc. which i gladly did because i only assumed this was just one of the benefits of a senior community. boy was i ever wrong! after a little under a yr. i am moving to a more exspensive and much smaller apartment because i am just trying to get out as fast as i can so i dont go insane. the landlady here has completely ignore my request for some of my rights to be upheld espectially since i am a paying tenant and all these extra people and children are not and i am being told around to the other neighbors by the landlady herself that i am old and lonely with nothing better to do but complain. all i can say because i would like my rights to be upheld with what i thought was suppose to be a senior apartment complex when i moved in or otherwise perhaps i would have went somewhere else for the peace a senior apartment living provider offers i am an old lonely woman with nothing better to do and therefore im going to move somewhere more exspensive and smaller. i will never understand why this landlady is continuously making exscuses for the freeloaders and ignore my rights and im paying rent. i might add this is a section 8 senior housing apartment complex. i cant afford to go to court i just want some help in understanding what kind of a landlady does this and why and can i have to worry about this in the place where im moving to in april because it to is a senior section 8 apartment building . also i am not being evicted i am leaving on my own accord because after just under a yr. i can not take any more. i almost had a nervous breakdown and like i said i cant afford court i would just like others to know as myself what is going on here. this to me seems outrageous unless this happens all the time which i have only move from one other apartment complex which was section 8 but was not a senior one after 10 yrs. i dont enjoy moving at all and have changed my mind twice about leaving this place now but i can not take any more and i could never stay here afte the way the landlady has treated me. i hesitate to mention or name or the apartment because i am expecting to get my security deposit back (hopefully) but after everything that has happened it wouldnt surprise me if i didnt because of retaliation from the landlady or the owner or both. they are bother and sister-in-law.

    1. Why would you assume we’re a terrible manager and that we have these problems?

      We’ve actually listed problems we hear from owners about why they’re terminating their current PM’s to hire us!

  2. I am having a similar problem in my apartment complex. I thought it was a Senior Complex. Boy was I wrong! This is too much. I have changed my locks for the 5th time. There is a cat burglar vin the Complex. It’s a dangerous place to live.

    1. Yeh changing locks does no good if they are qualified theif they have tools to open your locks like butter n knife

  3. “If you’re a tenant and you’re wondering why your dishwasher is still broken, it’s probably because the PM has three other more dangerous repairs that are draining his limited budget and you’re (sp.) doing dishes by hand for an extra week isn’t nearly as important as 303 Franklin’s crumbling basement stairs.”

    Boo friggin’ hoo. That’s not my problem as a tenant. It’s the property management’s job to hire the necessary maintenance staff to make repairs in a timely manner. Usually, most are too cheap to do so. I agree with the above commenter. What an awful article– should be prefaced by, “In Defense of Thoughtless Moneygrubbing Jerks”.

    1. Wow, someone’s angry today!
      Property management is a thankless business. Especially when it comes to maintenance, because it’s never cheap enough for the property owner or fast enough for the tenant.

      Tenants and landlords should work together and try understand each other’s issues for a better relationship.

      How many tenants want favors when they fall behind on rent?

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