Any Property Manager Problems?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Dr.NewEarth, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    :laugh:Long story here. You better get a drink first!

    What can we do about bad property management and apathetic

    I have many stories and have attempted to resolve issues over the years using all of our available and legal resources.

    Conclusion, we have little control if a management company decides to play games.

    What would you do? What are your stories?

    I am particularly looking for companies in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver
    to reply to this thread, but all are welcome. Thank-you

    We are a fifteen year old company in Vancouver. Canadian landscape Industry Certified staff, Arborists, horticulturist, Journeyman landscaper, government licensed pesticide applicators with alot of other qualifications.

    We use due dilligence and follow wcb regulations and the BC Landscape Standard on all of our sites.

    I even teach landscaping part time with a local night school program that
    helps people get ready for the CNLA certification tests.

    Our company demographic is
    Strata/hoa clients. Most of them are managed by a property
    manager who is an employee of a property management company.

    Usually there is up to a seven member council of volunteers who call the shots for all of the homes in the strata complex.
    The council agrees on the Landscaper and the manager signs the contract.
    Contracts are 9 months to one year and then reviewed for yearly renewal.

    We have a provincial law that regulates how the stratas operate, property managers have to be licensed. Although, you can get a job as a manager here and take the courses while you work.

    The property manager is the middle person between the home owners
    and the contractors. Some think they are our boss.

    We always try to be friendly and accomodating to our clients

    Landscapers are independent contractors. We are not employees. Otherwise, the client would be paying our deductions etc.

    Over the years I have had property managers who pay late and refuse to pay the late fees as outlined in the contract they signed on behalf of
    their company client.(the Strata/hoa)

    If fees are paid late, that means I have to pay employees with air
    and what I am short can come out of profit and my wages
    at the end of the year.

    I believe that many managers have too many properties to look after.

    Some can be miserable s.o.b.'s if you can even get in touch with them.
    Some I have never heard their voice and they only e-mail now.

    It used to frustrate me. A few years ago, when they knew I was on site supervising the crew on the regular day, they wouldn't phone. We didn't have e-mails to our blackberry then.
    I'd get back at the end of the day
    to a fax that implored the landscape crew to do such and such asap.

    They still won't call a cell phone. Only e-mails. I like to resolve
    things via a live person.

    Small claims court is $110.00 plus my time. The other party can agree to pay the amount owing and then tell you to go to h_ _ _ when you step out the courthouse door.

    A builders lien must be filed within 45 days and money collected within one year, or the offending
    party can apply and have the lien removed. The minimum lawyer fees for filing the lien are about 250 plus five dollars per registered property owner/strata lot.

    Our contract stipulates that an original copy of the signed contract
    must be mailed via Canada post before any work will commence.
    Contingent work must be in the form of a written request.

    We require proper paperwork to file any liens.

    Here's the problem...
    A very large powerful management company has burned us on paying late fees on another site in the past. They didn't pay the monthly amount owing
    for three months.

    We took over the current site and told council we were apprehensive to
    get involved with their mangement because of their track record with contractors.

    That council was able to keep the company in line.:weightlifter:

    Three years later, there is a new council. They are apathetic and
    do not even answer phone messages or e-mails.:hammerhead:

    There is the same manager. She has always been stubborn, argumentative
    and frankly stupid to deal with.:hammerhead:

    We had three months in a row last year during a time when they moved their offices, where our invoices were late.
    She paid part of the late fees, refusing to pay for one of them.
    It was claimed that our invoice was never sent in, even though I know it went
    through to their fax machine. Their machine talks to mine and I get a real time message displayed on the computer.
    Also, all of our other clients invoices sent before and after this one went through at the same time and were paid.

    Some-one in the office lost our invoice during the moving and unorganization

    I continually kept sending the invoice every few days over the next few weeks and asked that it's receipt be acknowledged. It never was

    This manager finally paid for the regular August amount owing in late October.
    There was still no sign of the nearly 100 dollar late fee.

    Every month since August, she would deduct the amount of the one late month from our amount owing and refused to address the issue...
    She said "She was Right! Period!

    The BBB does not deal with moneys owing to contractors.

    I eventually got paid after six frustrating months by not putting " late fee" and a seperate amount owing on the invoice.
    I just put the total and the tax. She didn't even check.

    Our last contract ended November and they have 12 months of equal payment to pay for nine months of regular service at this strata.
    Late payments really can hurt especially when things are structured like this.
    Contingencies and other amounts owing are to be paid within 30 days or a late fee also applies.

    :canadaflag:With all of the problems with the manager and apathy on the part of the council, we never heard from them when it was contract renewal time this year. They had had the contract since Oct. 25th. It was mailed to them.

    We weren't contacted to continue a fourth year season which began March 1.
    We never received the contract either. I figured one of the lowball contractors I saw walking the property last fall got the job.

    The manager called the afternoon of Thursday March 17th and wondered why we weren't on the property? She thought she had sent the contract
    I reminded her that the contract has to be signed and mailed via Canada post before work will begin, as it states.
    We would start the next week
    and catch up with every-thing at that time.

    She left a phone message later that day that she "faxed the contract" and that we were to start the next day (a Friday)
    Like none of our other scheduled clients matter?

    *There was no fax, no call display!*
    And we don't accept faxed contract documents any-ways.
    The very first sentence in our contract states that.:dizzy:

    When I finished laughing, I e-mailed her and told her of her faux pas.

    I watched the mail and left other phone messages and sent e-mails reminding her that our contract had to be mailed. I knew she was acting goofy.

    Also, I don't trust her. If I have to take her company or the strata to court, proper original documents are required by the lawyer.

    In the last week I went up to the site and did an inspection and cleaned out
    drains so it didn't flood. A regular work crew has to be scheduled

    So, long story...she refused to mail the contract.
    I cannot for the life of me figure out her way of thinking.

    I talked to the real estate regulatory board, they won't do any-thing about bad property managers...
    The landscape association doesn't want to get involved for fear of
    legal repercussions....
    the BBB is useless to us...
    I talked to the accounting department, they won't do any-thing without her approval...
    I complained to the managers office via phone and was told they would not do any-thing about it....and were quite rude...
    I e-mailed the office administration and complained about the service
    and also

    I e-mailed the strata council president and vice president who
    will not get involved...
    I pleaded with them for some help resolving this and other constant issues dealing with this property manager. No answer
    I e-mailed the last strata council and let them know in case they were getting back on council at this years AGM.

    The crew likes to work there and although the current council apparently wanted my company to continue on their site....every-thing is left to an inept manager.

    The property manager won't talk on the phone and I do not wish to
    deal with her any-more. I lost sleep.

    So, funny thing....the day before we are set to have a crew on the property this week with all of the newly purchased supplies(still waiting for a mailed contract)....she finally e-mails back that...
    *she received the complaints and she was in receipt of my "contract proposal" (?)
    The previous approval sent on March 17th (?)(an invisible fax) is hereby withdrawn and council will be meeting next month to discuss continuation of your services. You are not to do any-thing on the property until that time.
    And then she attaches a pdf of the signed contract. (WTF)
    I thought it was hillarious.:laugh:

    The contract says 30 days notice of cancellation. I wonder if I can put in
    for seven weeks considering her being late and I already bought supplies and did some work? Probably not worth it.

    At any rate
    That's a weight off of my shoulders. Constant little piddly ass problems
    and small amounts of money owing along with years of dealing with
    bad management, that I can't fully convey to you here...
    sure add up to a stressful week.

    We're better off to have lost this contract...but I am still laughing at
    the manager. That's another company we won't do business with.
  2. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    Two things:

    1. Why won't you accept a faxed contract? Do you think it's not legal and binding?

    It is.

    2. Read your contracts...or know your own state laws regarding "notice". It'll save you a lot of headaches. My guess is, 99% of contractors don't know the laws regarding giving notice.........or, they know and don't take the time (or the risk of pissing off the owner) to do it, properly. Don't give proper notice? You're screwed.

    What's "right" and what's "legal" can be mutually exclusive.
  3. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Every-where is different.
    We were advised by our lawyer to get an original signed contract. I am in Canada.
    If that's what the contract calls for and the clients agreed to our terms,
    then the contract is to be mailed. I explained the legal reasons and also the trust issues with this manager.
    Also, she claimed to have faxed a copy and it went to the invisible man I guess

    Some property management companies here won't accept any faxes or
    pdf's for invoices either.
    Have a good one and thanks.

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