I hate property management companies...

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by MovieCutter, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #1
    I'm pissed. I'm moving into a beautiful new house here in DC, and leaving my current DC place by breaking my lease early and paying the requested fee. I even spent my time and energy finding new tenants to take over even though I am paying a fee (which as I understand, usually relinquishes you of any duties in that regard).

    The tenants initially told me they would move in on Feb 12th, leaving me responsible for the rent for a week after I have vacated on the 4th. I told the property management company in an email that I would vacate on the 4th and the new tenants would move in on the 12th.

    Well then there was this quiet period of a week or so, and I get a letter from the management company telling me that they understand I am vacating on the 4th and the new tenants are moving in on the 5th and I am responsible for rent until the 4th. I thought "Great, that's $600 I don't have to pay for not living somewhere!" I had assumed that the company had arranged things with the new tenants and they decided to move in on the 5th. Well, then I get an email from the tenants saying that while they had considered moving in on the 5th, they decided on the 12th again...but I already got a document from the company stating that I am responsible for rent until the 4th. I even got a copy of their lease with a move-in date of the 5th!

    So what do I do? Send the management company a check for 4 days rent instead of 11 and let them take me to court if they want the rest? Or just deal with it and send them a check for the full amount (an extra $600)...

    TLDR: Rental company is screwing me, who should be held responsible for a week's worth of rent where there is no occupancy? Owner, me, or the new tenants...
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    I read the whole thing, fwiw. I'm also a huge fan of contracts for various reasons.

    My opinion is that there are two things to consider here; moral obligation and contractual obligation. Sometimes they're not one in the same and in your case, they are not.

    While you have sent an e-mail stating you would be out on the 4th and the new tenants are in on the 12th, you were delivered conflicting news when the tenants opted to move in on the 5th. Although they changed their mind, they did not change their contract with the rental company. E-mail or not, on paper and with a binding contract, the rental company's books will show old tenant out on 2/4/11, new tenant in on 2/5/11. If that contract remains unchanged, during an audit (if they collected that $600 from you) I would be looking to refund you that money because it would appear as though they collected it from the wrong party.

    The fortunate aspect of this is that the waffling new tentants were unable to make a decision that is to your benefit. I would pay my rent until the 4th because you have a lease showing the new tenants are in on the 5th.

    Notwithstanding, it could be argued that you knew the tenants were moving on the 12th originally and while they thought they may come a week earlier, they changed their mind and simply forgot to change the contract. The contract, btw, can be voided and you'd be none the wiser. If the rental company is smart they would shred that contract and notify you immediately. Best to do it before they accept the check. In theory, you could do the nice guy thing and pay the week you knew you'd pay anyway. I think even I would hedge my bets and pay less just to see where it landed. Be prepared to pay the $600 before it hits you in court. I am certain they would attempt to settle this amiably with you before filing a complaint. At that point, you may be able to offer them half. By splitting the difference between the tenants' indecisiveness and your early departure, you are showing good faith.

    The only other thing I can think of is that your final check should be attached to a letter that simply states you are paying your rent in full through 2/4/11 based on the attached e-mail and executed lease agreement. They may not want to touch you at that point or they may be brazen enough to try. If they consider it similar to an accord in satisfaction of sorts then they may not touch you at all. At that point I'd defer to offering to split the difference but keep your pennies just in case you need to pony up the entire $600.

    Now, on the subject of screwing ... you are not really getting screwed. Your tenants decided to move on 2/12 and changed their mind. The rental company drafted the lease a bit early and for some dumb reason (it was dumb) they sent you a copy. It was almost as if they want to help you. Maybe I missed the part where the rental company already issued a demand for payment of the final week but it doesn't seem like they even asked, yet. Right now, I don't think you're screwed. I think you should remember that you intended to pay that week but you were handed a golden egg, even if it was taken from you prematurely.
     
  3. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    #3
    It is going to take the property management company up to a week to perform any routine maintenance getting the place ready for the new tenant, that week should be on their own dime, they are probably just trying to trick you into footing the bill for normal wear and tear. If you are moving out the 4th and they notified you that a new tenant is moving in the next day that's pretty ****ed up. You shouldn't be liable for what the new tenant is up to rescheduling in this case. They gave you the notice staying till the 4th so if you are occupying the place pay up to the 4th--copy the document they sent get it notarized and if they push the issue fight them in court and avoid accepting or signing for any certified mail which may come from the management company as an official notice of any changes those can be as easy to uphold in a court as a summons--some of them can be sneaky bastards and get you tied up that way, and before you leave the old place get a couple friends as a witness to do a walk through with you and the property manager to address any issues before you sign anything for a refund of your security deposit because some of them may try to cheat you out of it for normal wear and tear from occupancy.
     
  4. MovieCutter thread starter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #4
    And that's why I love you Jessica. Yeah, I had intended to pay the extra $600...reluctantly.

    A couple of additional details though:
    -The lease wasn't signed, it was just a copy they send me for some odd reason, not sure if that matters or not
    -Not wanting to get into it after the 2 weeks I've had, when they called me earlier today and said that "it was your [my] ballgame" in reference to the misunderstanding after I told them that they sent me documentation, I just said I'd send them a check until the 11th, not sure if that's binding.
    -They changed the lease from what they sent to me and signed that one, so not sure what good the old lease does for me.

    In the end I'll probably just pay the full amount seeing as I just want to be done with that organization all together. But if I am in my legal right to only pay the lesser amount, and it's cut and dry regardless of verbal statements or emails, I'd want to know.
     
  5. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    #5
    Verbal usually don't mean **** in the rental business you are safe as long as you haven't signed any other agreements or accepted any certified mail I have been on both ends of it from property management to renter and there is very little in most cases where a verbal agreement can be upheld in court.
     
  6. SuperCachetes macrumors 6502a

    SuperCachetes

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    Away from you
    #6
    Really, I'd pay it forward. Both literally and figuratively.

    Could you argue over the earlier date and win? Probably, but it would be "mean."

    Would the tenants, knowing that they waffled, agree to split the difference, you think?
     
  7. MovieCutter, Feb 1, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011

    MovieCutter thread starter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #7
    Well that's another issue. Not only are they sending their maintenance guy to do repairs while I am still occupying the unit (gonna call them and tell them if I'm paying an extra week, that can wait)...when I first moved in, I wasn't even on the lease as my roommate was the lease holder and had been for 2 years and I just moved into the place. The property management barely even knew about me until the roommate went crazy, stabbed a bunch of doors with a sword and got up and left town to stay with his family after a break down. I took care of the house through that couple month period when I could have just upped and left. I also constantly asked that the windows and doors be weatherstripped because the heat and cold were just drafting through. I was told i had to do that, and after several ridiculous heating and cooling bills, I decided "heck with it" and did it myself. I also installed blinds, patched holes that I never put in, installed bathroom fixtures such as toilet roll holders and towel holders that were literally falling off the wall when I moved in, all on my own dime.

    I don't think they did a walkthrough after each series of tenants that were "subleased' moved through, so I've been spending evenings cleaning and scrubbing walls, doors, floors, etc so I'm not held responsible. Took down all my theater gear and spackled the holes, but there's no original paint and I can't match it. I'm doing everything in my power to make the place brand new and this is what I get for it! It just pisses me off.
     
  8. MacVixen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2009
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    #8
    I do not know if this applies in your situation, but I had the opposite occur with me last year. I signed a one-year lease on my apartment, and I had originally wanted my move-in date to be on March 27. After verbally agreeing, the management company called me back a day later and (strongly) requested that I change my move-in date to a week earlier, March 20. The reason they gave me was that the previous tenants (whom I did not know), had broken their lease, and the property management was therefore obligated to attempt to find a replacement tenant at the earliest possible time. Don't know if that was actually true, or not, and I didn't particularly care as paying for the extra week made moving a lot less stressful for me.

    But my point is, IF this does become a point of contention with the property management, you may be able to use that as leverage. i.e., they have replacement tenants and you shouldn't be penalized because they chose to let the new tenants move in at a later date.
     
  9. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    #9

    In the rental business painting is a two year thing on average as routine so as long as there are no holes in the walls the management company usually has to foot the bill there, carpets and cheap flooring last an average of 5 years before normal replacement in a rental and even if they said they were not responsible when it comes to weatherproofing they actually are, so If you held onto those receipts you should have gotten a rent credit. If you did any major routine maintenance including weatherstripping repairing fixtures and included appliances and have the receipts for the materials they may actually owe you money.
     
  10. Doc750 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    #10
    1. Pay the minimum to the 4th.

    let them fight you for the rest. Let the anger consume all your free time.

    option 2:

    1. pay the minimum and hope they go away. Wait for a letter for the balance, and ask for reductions. When they say no, pay it. Less stress.

    Option 3:

    2. Pay, and pay some more when they ask for repairs.


    If it were me, it would be option 1. But I enjoy screwing with people.
     
  11. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #11
    The lack of a signed contract muddies these waters a bit. It could be said that they prepared it but because it was not executed it means jack. This is where I am unsure how far you could argue intent and such but with the new lease, as I was saying (if they were smart yadda yadda) you're basically SOL.

    It is no longer as cut and dry as it was in the initial story, unfortunately. At this point I would say that you need to pay the money but I would not do it without that letter, I don't care about the date you pay to ... it seems as though they would be willing to F with you so writing the letter gives you a small amount of clout once they do cash the check. They could refuse the check but I don't know if they'd be that stupid.

    This may just be a headache you don't want to have.
     
  12. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #12
    If you are the one who owns a house and are planning on renting it out, a management company is the only way to go, especially if you don't live in the same town as the property. Not to say as a renter, they can't be a pain. ;)
     
  13. MovieCutter thread starter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #13
    I'm being told by almost everyone I talk to about this, that if I have in writing from the company that I am only responsible until the 4th, especially since I've giving them the keys then, that I don't need to pay any more than that. I just worry about getting dicked around with my security deposit.
     
  14. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #14
    Like I said, waters are muddied. You know you intended to pay until the 12th. The tenants said they wanted to move in on the 5th whereby you were given an unsigned lease (copy) and an e-mail saying you're on the hook until the 4th. However, you know as well as the management company knows that your responsibility to pay rent until the 12th ended when the tenants opted to move in earlier. They changed their mind and that unsigned lease is null and void because the new signed lease with a new move in date prevails.

    This could quite possibly go both ways, but if I had to rule I would probably say that you know you're on the hook for the rent and you should be paying it; e-mail or no e-mail. Remember, that e-mail only came to you with that date when the tenants decided to move in earlier than expected. It is not as though the date was the 4th all along.

    How much is the security deposit? If it is less than $600 I would not pay them and see where it goes but quite frankly, I hate headaches about as much as I hate parting with my money.
     
  15. MovieCutter thread starter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #15
    Yeah, but I have a letter mailed to me from the property management company, separate from the lease, that says I am only responsible for rent until the 4th. The security deposit is $2700
     
  16. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #16
    I'm not a lawyer but I still at this point I'd pony up $600 to get back $2700. You can try it but make sure there's nothing signed saying you forfeit your security deposit if you don't pay. Also, consider the fact that if you do not pay that walk through they may do might go slightly bad. I don't see many rental companies as pro renter.
     
  17. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    #17
    that's right they are usually not--the property managers are there not for the residents but to protect the owners bottom line getting those bodies into houses and collecting rent for as little effort and cost as possible. When I worked in apartment maintenance I saw in first hand most maintenance crews are understaffed and underbudgeted even when the rent is through the cieling.

    A management company expects usually 2 maintenance workers to cover repairs a 200 unit apartment complex in the average week on a shoestring budget. I worked for one complex that had 80 units and two maintenance staff which was not too bad--it would have been nice to have a third but the property management only allotted 400 a month in cash for emergency repairs and the routine repairs budget was set at 1000 a month.
     

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