Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rantings of a Former Property Management Professional

I've landed a writing gig that is pretty much perfect for me:  I'm writing neighborhood reviews for various areas of San Antonio for  I love this assignment because it allows me to write about something I have a passion for- the rental industry and neighborhood information.  No matter how long I am out of the business, I think I'll always think of myself as a property management professional in some way.  Of course I'm only two days out at this point- maybe that feeling will fade!

In the course of my research for the Oakwell Farms wiki, I was perusing to check out the reviews for the area's complexes.  This can be a very dangerous site for me to visit.  First of all, my feelings on this website are this:  no one really has any motivation to post on these sites unless they are disgruntled.  Happy with your service?  You might smile at your leasing professional, but you're not going to have a great bonfire lit under you to go sing their praises on the internet.  Generally it's only the folks who are pissed off at their complex who post.  And I'd say at least 50% of the time (and that's a very conservative estimate- it's probably more like 75%) those folks are pissed off about a situation where, if you knew the other party's side, you wouldn't feel so sorry for them.  On the flip side, I usually dismiss most of the positive posts as plants from the leasing staff, published anonymously.

Based on what I've just shared, I'm not sure why I even look at the site or try to use it as a reference in any way, even when taking with a gigantic grain of salt.  Maybe I just like getting all riled-up in a property-managementy-kind of way.  Whatever my underlying motivations, I found a post that really made me mad.  Buried within a bunch of other vitriol and a rant about having been charged a late fee (when he was late), this renter said, "All i can say is that is the RENTAL OFFICE of VILLAS AT OAKWELL FARMS is full of thieves and criminals who only know how to make money by stealing."


I couldn't help myself.  Even though I've got a thousand and one other things I SHOULD have been doing, I had to fire back.  Here's how I answered:

I am in no way connected with these apartments- just browsing the site. However I have to comment when I see posts like this. I am a former property management professional (as of two days ago!) who worked in the NW part of SA. One of the reasons I quit my job is because of attitudes like this. If you want to express your anger at the management company's policies- by all means, have at it. Please don't launch personal attacks at the people who are just doing their job. 

When you bounce a check and you call the bank to discuss the NSF fee and they can't waive it, do you call the person on the other end of the line a thief?? When your credit card company charges you interest or late fees, do you accuse the customer service reps of being criminals?? Property management professionals are just doing their job just like in any other industry where there are deadlines for payments. 

Do you think that extra money from late fees is, in any way, shape, or form going to line the pockets of your office staff? TRUST ME it is not. Do you think they enjoy, or take any pleasure in charging you late fees? TRUST ME they don't. I always felt like I had an ulcer coming on when 'late day' rolled around. 

It's painful to have to charge a late fee, especially when you have a personal relationship with the person in question (and that's how many PM professionals feel about their residents). However you have to realize that apartment complexes are a business and as employees of that business, PM professionals have to follow the rules set down for them by corporate.
It pains me to read posts like this. Please think about what I have said. 

Take THAT renter jerk!!!

I am not going to miss attitudes like that.  I can't tell you how frustrating it is to have to enforce policies that you hate, and then catch a bunch of abuse for it, like you are just out to get your residents.  Don't get me wrong, I love my {now former} residents (most of them ; ) ).  A lot of them treated me well and were respectful if and when situations like this arose.  Still, you'd be surprised at the pure nastiness that gets spouted at property management professionals when they are just doing their best to balance the best interests of their residents and the demands of their corporate bosses.

{Originally published Oct 26th 2008 on my Wordpress Blog}

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