We operate a medium sized residential property management company in Roswell, Georgia; a suburb of Atlanta Georgia situated on the north side of the city. I give you this because I want you to know that I have a bias about this topic. However, I do not believe that it necessarily clouds my view about the reality of the problem. In fact it likely lends me the perspective to grasp the entirety of the situation.
If you scan through my past blogs you will find other stories that can help you make a decision about choosing a residential property management company. In this one I want to focus on the mammoth-sized national companies, especially those whose home office is located outside of your state.
A few years ago my mother-in-law rented a property that was managed by one of these large outfits. The experience was horrible for her. This story started at the first exposure when we asked to view the house they were marketing. We had to self-show. We would actually never meet a physical person throughout the entire two year leasing period. Even upon move-out, they decided to assess property damages without ever having laid eyes on the property. The damage claims were arbitrary and unsupportable. Being a professional property manager I made sure that we did a comprehensive move-in inventory noting the property condition, as well as thoroughly documenting the property condition at move-out. I would have dissuaded her from accepting that property but for the fact that she needed a place quickly and there was little else to choose from.
The rental experience would be rocky the entire two years. It was virtually impossible to get them to address maintenance issues unless the problem was one that might adversely affect life or limb if left unattended. This is not a great commentary on their maintenance policy.
I’ll not go into all the details of this problem, because that’s not the point of this writing. Here’s what you need to know:
If you experience a problem that is worthy of a lawsuit, which this one did become, you will find it almost impossible to serve an out-of-state company. These companies also have large budgets for legal defense. This company has carried this on for over a year now. Unfortunately for the landlord, the property management company has abandoned her to her own defense, and the only thing she did wrong was hiring that company. At this stage, a lien has been filed against the property. If she ever sells the property there will be a claim for her to satisfy. It will be a significant amount!
This is why I suggest that when you choose a property manager, take comfort in knowing that if you are unhappy with their performance, there is an office in town where you can go to stage a complaint in person, and if that is unsuccessful, you will have better legal recourse to recover any damages. Good luck!
Daniel R. Wilhelm
3 Options Realty, LLC., CRMC®
The author of this Blog is neither an attorney nor an accountant. Nothing written should be construed as legal advice. Conclusions conveyed are outcomes based upon practical experience and should not be depended upon to be a common outcome of other similar circumstances. Consult with a professional before making tax or legal decisions.
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We use professional market research to determine fair-market rent, and we use broad market advertising to reach a large audience. Our agents will also help you prepare your property and skillfully present your property. Prospective tenants will undergo comprehensive interviews and background screening before we negotiate with them the rental agreement using our proprietary, attorney-reviewed forms.