Problems with My "Property Manager"

User Forum Topic
Submitted by deadzone on April 14, 2016 - 9:49pm

Hey guys I am having a strange in issue with the Property Manger of the house I am renting. Before I get into the specifics, I have these questions.

1. What is typical commission for a property manager in San Diego (i.e. 10 or 15% of rent?).

2. What type of commission or fee would a listing agent receive for listing a rental property on MLS?

3. Would you consider it a conflict of interest for a real estate agent who lists the property (and receives commission in #2) to also act as the property manager? Conflict of interest would be that the agent would want turnover assuming they get fees for #2 while property owner is interested in minimal turnover (i.e. stable rent check).

Basically just trying to get some simple maintenance issues taken care of and in the process she turned bat shit crazy on me.

I've been renting this house for 7 years in which time I have direct deposited the rent check into her account on time without hiccup. Basically I am a perfect tenant in theory.

Anyway, she doesn't really perform as a property manager because she rarely comes to the property or follows up on maintenance work even though she literally lives down the street. Basically the only thing she does is cash my rent check. But lately when I've complained about the repairs not getting done (some of which have lingered for years) she is starting to insult me and tell me I should move somewhere else.

So what do you think is going on here? Is this lady just a crazy old bitch or does she have ulterior motives to get new tenant for her own interests? Given the super tight real estate and rental market right now I am thinking may be some combination of both.

Any opinions or advice would be appreciated.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 14, 2016 - 11:00pm.

Look up the property records and contact the owner directly. You have be right to do so. If you can't get a phone number, write to the owner.

I've had a situation where the property manager of the unit above mine wasn't properly addressing a leak.

Submitted by HLS on April 15, 2016 - 12:19am.

It's all by negotiation.
Is property manager a licensed real estate agent ?
(They do not have to be a Realtor)

Getting 5%-10% of the monthly rent to manage.
Screening/finding a new tenant could be anywhere from a flat fee to 50%-100% of one month's rent for signing a 12 month lease.
it's all negotiable. Not a conflict for agent who lists to also be the PM.
Many rentals don't get listed in MLS.

Do you have a lease OR are you month to month ?
Does your rental agreement address maintenance issues ?

Tenants in CA have a lot of rights. Many property owners or their agents do not know the laws.

Cosmetic issues/wear & tear may not need to be addressed.
**Safety concerns, code violations & habitability issues do. Tenant is also entitled to appliances that work and 'quiet enjoyment'
What kind of work are you asking to be done ?

Whether you mail your rent check, direct deposit it OR pay in cash makes no difference.

For certain repairs you may be allowed to have the work done and deduct it from your rent payment if they refuse.

CALIFORNIA LAWS:
http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landl...

Submitted by HLS on April 15, 2016 - 12:42am.

This SPECIFICALLY tells you how to deal with repairs
under CA law:
http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landl...

Submitted by deadzone on April 15, 2016 - 9:18am.

FlyerInHi wrote:
Look up the property records and contact the owner directly. You have be right to do so. If you can't get a phone number, write to the owner.

I've had a situation where the property manager of the unit above mine wasn't properly addressing a leak.

Yes I have contact information for the owner and he is ccd on many of the emails I deal with the PM but he is not interested dealing with anything directly. That is why this is frustrating. The property manager is incompetent and becoming borderline hostile.

Submitted by deadzone on April 15, 2016 - 9:24am.

HLS wrote:
This SPECIFICALLY tells you how to deal with repairs
under CA law:
http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/repairs.shtml

Thanks HLS. The work to be done is fix some paint/drywall in a couple areas where there was leaking and they just completed tiling the master bathroom (used to have carpet that was getting wet/moldy from shower). All in all, simple routine work.

What I don't understand is why the PM (A licensed real estate agent) wants me out of here. My point on rent is I have paid rent on time, in full 100% of the time for 7 years. From the perspective of the owner, I am an ideal tenant, provide consistent income with out worry.

So on the surface it just appears the PM is incompetent and unable to perform duties of a PM and taking out her frustrations on me. But also wondering if she has ulterior motives to get higher turnover on the unit, particularly since rental availability is tight now.

Submitted by spdrun on April 15, 2016 - 9:41am.

She either doesn't like you for some reason, is incompetent, or has a contract with the owner that lends itself to churning tenants.

If you wanted to hit back, you should have reported the mold to the city inspector's office as a health hazard. Paint/drywall? Unless lead paint is peeling, it's a rental. Either touch it up yourself or just forget about it. It's a rental.

Submitted by HLS on April 15, 2016 - 9:46am.

Some landlords prefer a tenant who is always late and pays late charges ;-)
You are an ideal tenant only in your eyes....

Do you have a lease OR month to month ?

You have rights. Contact the Consumer Affairs bureau.
I wouldn't bother involving the owner. The PM represents them for a reason.

Is it worth it to you to have the work done at your expense?
Do you have any attorney friends who could write PM a letter ?
You could file a complaint with the Bureau of Real Estate
http://dre.ca.gov/Consumers/FileComplain...

A rental agreement is a contract.
You have legal remedies but
If the PM is an idiot you have limited options trying to
deal with them. Take it to the next level.

PS: You could win the battle but lose the war.

Submitted by Coronita on April 15, 2016 - 9:50am.

HLS wrote:
Some landlords prefer a tenant who is always late and pays late charges ;-)
You are an ideal tenant only in your eyes....

Do you have a lease OR month to month ?

You have rights. Contact the Consumer Affairs bureau.
I wouldn't bother involving the owner. The PM represents them for a reason.

Is it worth it to you to have the work done at your expense?
Do you have any attorney friends who could write PM a letter ?
You could file a complaint with the Bureau of Real Estate
http://dre.ca.gov/Consumers/FileComplain...

A rental agreement is a contract.
You have legal remedies but
If the PM is an idiot you have limited options trying to
deal with them. Take it to the next level.

PS: You could win the battle but lose the war.

I thought the legality of late fees in CA was challenged a few times...

http://www.caltenantlaw.com/LateFees.htm

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 15, 2016 - 12:13pm.

deadzone wrote:

So on the surface it just appears the PM is incompetent and unable to perform duties of a PM and taking out her frustrations on me. But also wondering if she has ulterior motives to get higher turnover on the unit, particularly since rental availability is tight now.

I don't think the pm wants you out.
She's likely not getting paid to deal with small stuff so she doesn't bother. And the landlord hides behind the pm. Not a good situation

Read the laws. Write letters, provide notice and then withhold rent if you wish. But that might cause your lease not to be renewed. Depends what your objectives are.

Submitted by deadzone on April 15, 2016 - 12:57pm.

HLS wrote:
Some landlords prefer a tenant who is always late and pays late charges ;-)
You are an ideal tenant only in your eyes....

Do you have a lease OR month to month ?

You have rights. Contact the Consumer Affairs bureau.
I wouldn't bother involving the owner. The PM represents them for a reason.

Is it worth it to you to have the work done at your expense?
Do you have any attorney friends who could write PM a letter ?
You could file a complaint with the Bureau of Real Estate
http://dre.ca.gov/Consumers/FileComplain...

A rental agreement is a contract.
You have legal remedies but
If the PM is an idiot you have limited options trying to
deal with them. Take it to the next level.

PS: You could win the battle but lose the war.

Lease is month to month. What is frustrating is the pm saying crazy stuff including telling me to move. But I have no idea what are the owners feelings. The pm is is clearly a senile old bitch. But if the owner cannot see this for himself, perhaps he too is a senile old fool.

My objective is to stay in the unit, not move. So I'm thinking my best option is to try to ignore her and coordinate maintenance activities myself. If it were just painting I would let it go, but the current issues are water damaged drywall from leaks, rain, etc. That should be dealt with by a professional.

Submitted by spdrun on April 15, 2016 - 1:03pm.

Report the home to the building inspector as having toxic mold....

Submitted by deadzone on April 15, 2016 - 1:46pm.

spdrun wrote:
Report the home to the building inspector as having toxic mold....

The bigger issue is that the process of going through this lady to report problems and get anything done is worse than getting a root canal.

It would be much easier if I could just bypass her completely and coordinate the work myself.

Submitted by spdrun on April 15, 2016 - 2:26pm.

No. I mean sic the city on them and watch the fur fly.

Submitted by Coronita on April 15, 2016 - 2:58pm.

Just move

Submitted by deadzone on April 15, 2016 - 4:41pm.

flu wrote:
Just move

That's what she said.

But it is pretty unprofessional and inappropriate for your property manager to tell you to move.

Point is I don't want to move. This lady's inability to manage some minor repair work in my house has turned her into a nut job.

Submitted by Hatfield on April 15, 2016 - 4:42pm.

HLS wrote:
Some landlords prefer a tenant who is always late and pays late charges ;-)
You are an ideal tenant only in your eyes....

LOL, just like credit card companies.

I agree that it might make sense to try to contact the owner by pulling the property records and sending a letter to the address where the tax bills go. I would say something like: As you probably know, I've lived here for 7 years and I'm pretty happy living in this house, but I'm having X, Y, Z issues with the property manager. I've been unsuccessful, after many requests, to get the issues addressed or even acknowledged. I'm not sure whether you're aware of these issues so i wanted to contact you directly. I am hoping we can get these resolved so I can keep living here.

If the landlord wanted you out, he'd probably just raise the rent, or not renew the lease. Really, if a landlord wants you to move along, there's lots of subtle and not-so-subtle ways that will show. Based on what you've written, this sounds more like benign neglect. Property manager sucks, but landlord knows nothing because there's no turnover and the checks keep coming.

Submitted by Coronita on April 15, 2016 - 6:50pm.

deadzone wrote:
flu wrote:
Just move

That's what she said.

But it is pretty unprofessional and inappropriate for your property manager to tell you to move.

Point is I don't want to move. This lady's inability to manage some minor repair work in my house has turned her into a nut job.

I suggested to move so you can avoid the headache, since it appears she isn't going to be changing anytime soon.

Submitted by Coronita on April 15, 2016 - 6:53pm.

Hatfield wrote:
HLS wrote:
Some landlords prefer a tenant who is always late and pays late charges ;-)
You are an ideal tenant only in your eyes....

LOL, just like credit card companies.

I agree that it might make sense to try to contact the owner by pulling the property records and sending a letter to the address where the tax bills go. I would say something like: As you probably know, I've lived here for 7 years and I'm pretty happy living in this house, but I'm having X, Y, Z issues with the property manager. I've been unsuccessful, after many requests, to get the issues addressed or even acknowledged. I'm not sure whether you're aware of these issues so i wanted to contact you directly. I am hoping we can get these resolved so I can keep living here.

If the landlord wanted you out, he'd probably just raise the rent, or not renew the lease. Really, if a landlord wants you to move along, there's lots of subtle and not-so-subtle ways that will show. Based on what you've written, this sounds more like benign neglect. Property manager sucks, but landlord knows nothing because there's no turnover and the checks keep coming.

I wouldn't even bother to try to bring up the living 7 years and eing a good tenant. I would simply bring it up things from the angle of "what's in it for me?" as the property owner.

For example...

"Your house has a maintenance issue. The PM so far has been unresponsive to getting it fixed. I am contacting you because I am concerned that if this issue isn't fixed, it could cause severe property damage to your property and expose you to unnecessary liability...."

When you contact the owner, you got to put it in there terms and think how they will think: "what's in it for me?"

Mention (a) property damage and (b) liability, and leave off all the other personal things about how great you are as a tenant, because chances are they won't give a shit about that.

Submitted by Hatfield on April 15, 2016 - 7:45pm.

I don't see it that way.

Landlords don't like turnover. You don't make money on turnovers, you lose money on turnover. And it's much better to have a happy tenant than an unhappy one. Source: am a landlord.

As for "just move out," why play that card now? Why not politely find out if the landlord is even aware there's a problem? I find that 95% of the time, treating people respectfully will get you going in the right direction. And if speaking with the landlord doesn't do any good, yeah, ok, maybe then looking for a new place makes sense, but why run off in a huff before the reasonable options are exhausted?

Submitted by HLS on April 15, 2016 - 7:48pm.

Hatfield
Exactly! A good customer to a credit card company is one who pays interest, late fees and over the limit fees.
Paying your bill in full every month does not make one a 'good customer' ;-)

Deadzone,
Before you consider paying for any work on your own OR
pushing the envelope about this issue, I would strongly suggest that you get a lease signed, assuming that you want to stay there.

Unfortunately, you are subject to receiving a 60 day termination of tenancy at any time.
You currently do not have a lease, you have a month to month agreement.

What did it take for you to get the tile work done that has already been completed ?

You are potentially treading on thin ice.
They do not need to give you any reason to give you a 60 day notice.

Your only remedy could be going to court which could get messy and expensive.

Submitted by spdrun on April 15, 2016 - 7:58pm.

they're also treading on thin ice. Sometimes, water leaks get worse very rapidly. Especially if poorly repaired. Nomesayin'?

Submitted by HLS on April 15, 2016 - 8:02pm.

Hatfield,
It's dangerous to assume what someone else is thinking
OR that someone else would do what you would do.

I've been a landlord for over 30 years. I don't want problem tenants, I don't care about turnover.
I'm not going to let the inmate run the asylum.

Having a lease allows the tenant to stay as long as they keep up their end of the deal....
Having a month to month allows me to get rid of them at any time for any reason. There's two ways to look at it.

Deadzone is not a problem tenant BUT having a problem with the owner's agent and doesn't have a lease. Delicate situation.

I've had property managers and have had tenants contact me directly complaining about the manager.
I trusted my manager and didn't want to be involved with the tenants complaints at that time. They eventually worked it out with the manager.

Submitted by ltsddd on April 15, 2016 - 9:32pm.

deadzone wrote:
FlyerInHi wrote:
Look up the property records and contact the owner directly. You have be right to do so. If you can't get a phone number, write to the owner.

I've had a situation where the property manager of the unit above mine wasn't properly addressing a leak.

Yes I have contact information for the owner and he is ccd on many of the emails I deal with the PM but he is not interested dealing with anything directly. That is why this is frustrating. The property manager is incompetent and becoming borderline hostile.

Most likely owner is not reading the emails if you're just cc'ing him. The mindset is that it's just a courtesy copy and he has the PM to deal with the situation.

Try communicating/emailing the owner directly. Telling him you know your rights and specifically what needs to be fixed. Or you'll fix them yourself and deduct that from the rent. Money talks.

Perhaps a leak or two in the house with the mold issue and a complaint to the health department will get their attention.

Submitted by Coronita on April 15, 2016 - 10:03pm.

Hatfield wrote:

As for "just move out," why play that card now? Why not politely find out if the landlord is even aware there's a problem? I find that 95% of the time, treating people respectfully will get you going in the right direction. And if speaking with the landlord doesn't do any good, yeah, ok, maybe then looking for a new place makes sense, but why run off in a huff before the reasonable options are exhausted?

True, assuming the landlord wants to respond and can be found. For some landlords, they really don't care the plight of the tenant, unless you explain it in terms of costs to them, liability to them, and how it might affect their property.

Not all landlords are like this, but if you happen to run into one that is like this, that's probably the only way they will understand. And then, you want to weigh how much of a hassle you really want to put up with. And one can put it in these terms without being a jackass about it too, they probably are more likely to address the issue (not saying the OP was... But some tenants end up being a jackass when they report issues too, so it goes both ways).

Not every landlord thinks with a straight head, like you Hatfield. Seriously. You got some really illogical people out there who are itching to jack up rents by $200-300/month, and end up leaving 2-3 months of vacancy because of it. I had tenant prospects contacting me about a rental, because that's what their landlords did.

Submitted by deadzone on April 16, 2016 - 10:59am.

Great advice everyone, amazing how there are so many variables going on. Part of the problem for me is that it is unclear how involved (if any) the owner is in making decisions. Or when the property manager is telling me "the owner wants to do this.." she may just be bullshitting me. She is a real estate agent so she does that (BSing) for a living. During the recent discourse with her it is clear she is untrustworthy.

I've been month to month for the last five years and the owner has had the property since early 90s. He owns it outright and could have sold it long time ago during previous peak if he wanted to. That tells me he is interested in the easy money of a consistent, reliable income stream with minimal involvement. My rent is also slightly below market value, but part of that is due to the fact that the unit is in major need of renovation. I'm good with that. I don't want the unit renovated, just that the obvious stuff (like leaks) are repaired.

I think my strategy is going to keep low profile for now and let the property manager flail (and fail) on her own. Whenever I get involved she tries to twist things around to make me look like the bad guy. None of the current problem require immediate attention in my opinion, the bathroom repairs that were completed were the most important (replace moldy carpet with tile). I did my duty to report all the other problems and it is not my responsibility to fix them.

The more I think about it I am the perfect tenant for the owner. I provide stable, reliable income for him. I don't demand unreasonable work gets done. If he wanted to, he could have asked me to leave a long time ago in order to remodel for either sale or increased rent. Given his aversion to any direct involvement with the unit, I would be shocked if he would all of a sudden want to deal with the headache of a re-model.

Submitted by PCinSD on April 16, 2016 - 12:34pm.

No idea what part of town you're in. But if you rent in the city of San Diego your landlord can't simply terminate your lease. They must have very specific reasons like failing to pay rent, breaching terms of agreement, doing something illegal, etc.

Submitted by HLS on April 16, 2016 - 12:50pm.

PCinSD wrote:
No idea what part of town you're in. But if you rent in the city of San Diego your landlord can't simply terminate your lease. They must have very specific reasons like failing to pay rent, breaching terms of agreement, doing something illegal, etc.

???
A landlord can't terminate a lease outside the city either, it's not limited to 'the city of San Diego'

In this case the OP doesn't have a lease.
A month to month agreement can be terminated with 60 days notice without any reason.

Is there something special going on in San Diego ?

Submitted by FlyerInHi on April 16, 2016 - 1:03pm.

Deadzone, remember that the property manager is the professional, you are not.
So you are allowed to behave in an unprofessional manner, if you wish. I don't know why I never had problems with men, but women in real estate is something else.

That woman deserves to be told to her face that she's a bitch. My theory is that a lot of women are coddled by their husbands and family who enable them. I once told the owner of an RE company that she's a bitch. And I told her husband too. We have to coordinate things and we are on better terms now. Don't enable people to intimidate you.

Submitted by PCinSD on April 16, 2016 - 1:09pm.

HLS wrote:
PCinSD wrote:
No idea what part of town you're in. But if you rent in the city of San Diego your landlord can't simply terminate your lease. They must have very specific reasons like failing to pay rent, breaching terms of agreement, doing something illegal, etc.

???
A landlord can't terminate a lease outside the city either, it's not limited to 'the city of San Diego'

In this case the OP doesn't have a lease.
A month to month agreement can be terminated with 60 days notice without any reason.

Is there something special going on in San Diego ?

Yes. San Diego Municipal Code.

http://tenantdefenders.blogspot.com/2010...

Submitted by Coronita on April 16, 2016 - 2:03pm.

PCinSD wrote:
HLS wrote:
PCinSD wrote:
No idea what part of town you're in. But if you rent in the city of San Diego your landlord can't simply terminate your lease. They must have very specific reasons like failing to pay rent, breaching terms of agreement, doing something illegal, etc.

???
A landlord can't terminate a lease outside the city either, it's not limited to 'the city of San Diego'

In this case the OP doesn't have a lease.
A month to month agreement can be terminated with 60 days notice without any reason.

Is there something special going on in San Diego ?

Yes. San Diego Municipal Code.

http://tenantdefenders.blogspot.com/2010/10/are-there-any-laws-in-san-diego-that.html?m=1

It's unlikely that a landlord will simply terminate a lease for the sake of terminating a lease. BUT there is nothing stopping the landlord for want to charge more for the rental when the lease is up for renewal, especially in this market. And if the tenant opted out of renewing a lease, it reverts to month-month anyway. And then the landlord just needs to give sufficient time to raise rent prices:).

The rules are 30 days notice for rent increases 10% or less and 60 days notice for rent increases more than 10%.

http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/legal...

This is where it becomes a balancing act as a tenant. If your landlord is charging a below market rent price, there's probably a reason for that: he/she/they doesn't want to be hassled for every little thing that goes wrong, or everything that makes your property slightly less than say a higher end rental. While a smart landlord would want to know about things that are pretty serious (IE water leaks, etc), they probably don't want a habitual complainer about every little thing that goes wrong, and that's probably why there's a PM in the middle even if that PM is overreacting to everything. (Again, I'm not suggesting the OP was a PITA...)
But there's probably some correlation to what a landlord's perceived PITA factor of an existing tenant is to what he/she/they wants to do with the next term's rent price.

This happened to one of coworkers just a few weeks ago. The tenant made a fuss to him about an old dishwasher that was functionally fine, but was just old and looked worn out and was louder than the ones these days. The person pays $300/month less than average rent prices and was on a month to month lease. And he kept complaining about the dishwasher being too loud, and sending email, leaving messages on the phone. My coworker finally got fed up with it and replaced the dishwasher....And then gave him 30 days notice of a $150/month rent price increase, since the tenant was month to month.

So I guess, in a tight rental market, pick your battles wisely.

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