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Need some help with regards to Property Management Company


Mickalino

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I'll bet some of you have experienced what I'm about to explain, so I'd like some input. Here's the drill - a big, powerful Real Estate Investment company scopes out a city and eyes a "rental community" that has serious potential as condos, whether it be due to location, lakeview, etc. So they buy out the place, then give the current residents about 7-9 months to either buy into a condo, or get out (regardless of their current lease with the previous property management company), and then they begin renovations to the community, to upgrade and increase the property value, and create luxury units. Then when they're done, they sell them to individual town-home buyers and make a huge profit, and move on to the next location to do the same. The problem is that all this "renovation" is done at the expense of the quality of life of the residents who were there first. The currrent residents are stepped on, abused, as the company's one and only goal is to make a quick buck, with no regard to the residents who happen to be there. Anyway, here is a letter I am writing to the current property management company. What's really sad, is the current rental management is only a temporary company hired BY the Investment Group, until the condos are complete. Then when the condos are done, they'll bring in a permanent rental company, so it's almost as if my current rental company has nothing to do with and no stake in it. So perhaps if they can't help me, I need to go up the ladder to the actual Investment Company. Anyway, your input on this letter would be highly appreciated. Thanks very much.

I have lived on this property for 1½ years. And since the recent takeover of this property by the Paramount Investment Group, and the subsequent division of the property into “luxury apartment rentals” by Landmark Residential, and “luxury condo” renovations by Paramount, the quality of this property has rapidly and drastically deteriorated in every imaginable aspect.

Virtually every contractor brought into here, has either done substantial property damage to my home (which they even failed to report to the office), or they have created a massive mess in the process, which they have failed to clean up. And I am only speaking on behalf of my home, so who knows the damage to the rest of the property they have done ? No doubt, the disgraceful workmanship by the contractors here is very poor self-advertising to home-buyers that are supposedly being targeted. Here are the facts.

I have had Tree Cutters recklessly chop off huge branches that were so large, that it completely crushed my exterior AC unit, and they didn’t even have the decency to report it, themselves. They also broke off a wooden piece of my patio deck. I reported this to a staff member, who advised me that the renovations to the property also involved constructing brand new patio decks in the next couple weeks, so I was not to worry. In fact, I was given a letter instructing me to clear out all belongings from the patio, so they could reconstruct it in the next couple weeks. That was in August of 2005. And in regards to this notice 2 months ago, my patio deck has not even been touched (except for the constant flurry of damage done by contractors explained here-forth)

I have had Roofers create a major water leak from my upstairs ceiling for 2 straight days, and it was so strong that it nearly filled a bucket, placed there to catch the leak. In addition, these Roofers strew debris all over my patio, including insulation and the old roofing shingles. None of them bothered to clean any of it off the patio.

I have had Power-Washers spraying down the brick on the back of the building, and cause debris and grime to be scattered all over my patio.

I have had Window Cleaners spray through the window pane and leave a dirty, gritty and grimy residue all around my kitchen counter surrounding the kitchen window.

The Groundskeepers have chopped off a 4-foot high sprinkler and not even report it.

The Roof -Gutter Workers have strewn pieces of metal gutter pipes all over my back patio, and also left large cakes of muck and grime (which for all I know, could have been Squirrel Manure), caked all over my patio. It was so thick, that it took more than an hour to spray wash it off my patio. Also, more than a week prior to this letter being written, the gutters from the roof were removed and still have not replaced. The result of this is there is an overflow drain pipe that happens to pour out directly over both my front door and my back door. This drain pipe normally pours into the gutter, but since the roofs have been left gutter-less for a week and counting, I now have disgusting, dirty water constantly dripping over both my front and back door, even causing stains on each porch.

So whenever I walk in or out either door, I’m greeted by a constant drizzle of this nasty water, up until the day this letter was written.

There is a constant pattern here of contractors causing damage and mess, and no effort to minimize it, clean it up, or even report it. Where is the accountability in this operation ?

In addition to these incidents, other inconveniences I’ve experienced include : the unnecessary stress of having an eviction letter sent to my door, falsely accusing me of not having paid my rent, when in fact the check actually cleared my checking account ; having water completely shut off one weekday morning with absolutely no notice from management, having both pools and the fitness center shut down for nearly 3 months due to so-called “renovations” that seem to be going at a snail’s pace, contractors’ vehicles parking in such a way to block cars from exiting their parking spots ; contractor trucks blocking the property road for up to 5 minutes, impeding the flow of traffic for no apparent reason ; contractor trucks driving so recklessly, that the top of their trucks tear off branches from trees as they practically drive thru them. These things are an embarrassment to guests that I frequently invite over, and even the guests have commented on it. And if guests here notice it, then surely this must be an embarrassment to potential home-buyers here as well.

It has become vividly clear from these and other incidents, that this entire process of “upgrading” the property is being done with a complete disregard to the current residents in this property and the quality of their life. I was considering purchasing a condo, but after seeing such poor service and workmanship, I am seriously questioning that decision. If this isn’t resolved in a reasonable manner, outlined in my final paragraph, I will withdraw that consideration; and if you lose me as a potential buyer, you lose an excellent prospect, as you can see from my rental history here. Furthermore, I certainly will not be able to give a positive reference to other prospective buyers, whether they be walking the property and asking my opinion, or the thousands of prospective buyers I come into contact with due to my line of work, and not to mention the media, news, and advertising outlets I have access to. How can residents on this property possibly keep from passing on negative publicity about this property, considering the disgraceful level of service here ? If contractors hired by this company are this reckless, inept, and lacking in integrity, how could any home-buyer trust the company or contractors to maintain the work on their potential condo ?

If the renovations are not capable of being done on this property, without such huge inconveniences to residents, then there surely should be some compensation given. And regardless of whether these types of incidents cease immediately or not, I am absolutely looking for a significant concession off my rent. This is because the damage has already been done, and it has been substantial damage and a terrible experience here. In other words, I am looking for more than apologies, excuses and promises, I am looking for action and compensation. I would prefer to have this done in a cordial, professional, reasonable, and fair manner, but if that is not possible, I am very prepared to take this to the next level of action, of several possible options that are before me.

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Here is a letter that I'm considering making copies of, and tagging it to the door of every neighbor of mine in the community. Your input on this would also be appreciated.

Hi, I’m your neighbor. And I’m writing you as a fellow resident concerned about the deteriorating quality of management here, in hopes that we can join together and make some positive changes. I’m not sure about your experience here the last few months, but it has been horrendous for me. Everything from the contractors trashing our front and rear patios with roofing and building materials and muck and just leaving it there for us residents to clean up after - to having almost all of our amenities being stripped away for several months for no good reason.

Are you tired of being stepped on and taken advantage of, by this investment company that has taken over the property ? They’ve bought out this property with only one objective in mind – to make a quick buck by rapidly (and recklessly, I might add), renovating these townhomes into “luxury condos” so they can sell them off as a profit to individual buyers. Then when they’re finished, they just desert you, get out of town and move on to another location to the next group of residents to take advantage of. In the process, they just brush aside residents’ interests and well-being, and they really could care less whether you have a peaceful living existence or not, because they’re not here to provide that service in any way shape or form. They have no incentive to keep you happy. In fact, the quicker you move out, the sooner they can make a buck. The thing they’re forgetting is that you’re a rent-paying resident, and you’re under contract, a contract that’s current, and was put in place long before they arrived here. And with that contract you have certain rights, and they have certain obligations - the same way that we have obligations to pay rent, so do they have obligations to provide a level of service to you. They’re quick to remind you that you’re under contract to them, if and when you’re late paying rent, aren’t they ? However they have surely failed their end of the deal.

Consider this - there was 2 pools and a fitness center when you moved in. At the moment this letter was written, both pools AND the fitness center have been shut down for nearly 3 months. It’s one thing to have just one pool shut down, but could they have the decency to renovate one at a time, so we have at least one to use ? But of course, they have that convenient excuse that “We’re 2 separate properties now. We can’t help it if the properties split in two.” I don’t buy that excuse and neither should you. How can they possibly blame the pool closing on the company split, when they have control over when they close their pool ? Why couldn’t they wait until the other half of the property’s pool was re-opened before they worked on theirs ? Or why couldn’t they at least wait until the dead of winter to renovate it, at a time when the pool is not in such a demand ? The answer to both of those questions, is the same answer to all the other questions - upgrading the property value for re-sale, takes precedence over resident concerns, despite the fact that you pay rent here. Current residents are an afterthought – a mere speed bump, on their “road to riches” while they whittle away at your homes so they can pave a new one right on top of you. What about the contract the property signed ? If your job was a victim of a company split like theirs, and as a result you lost your job, and consequently couldn’t pay your rent, would they be so understanding, as they expect us to be, when they don’t fulfill their contract and their company splits in two ? Heck no ! Their response would be “You lost your job ? Too bad. You’re paying a 10% late fee on your rent. You’re still under contract.”

I hope this letter lights a fire in you and convinces you to stop being pushed around by this corporate greed. If you can respond to this letter, along with many other people, we can band together and form a network. Then, at the very minimum, we can force this company to deal with us professionally and fulfill their end of the contract, before it’s too late. Don’t you think you’re due compensation for what you’ve had to endure here ?

We need to take action. Not necessarily legal action, but we can use our network in many ways as a form of coercion.

Would they like it, if we had News Channel 8 come out and do an investigation. For example, we can all threaten to use whatever tools we have in our business and personal life to project negative advertisement for this company, so that potential home-buyers will be turned away. How would the company feel if we spread news around town about the termites, the structural building flaws, and the despicable workmanship these contractors are performing ? If they are this reckless in renovating these buildings, who would want to live in them, when they’re done, and who could trust them with the on-going maintenance and repairs of the building while under the New contract to the homeowners association as a condo owner ?

Sure, they can dress up these buildings all they want, but they cannot hide the underlying foundational flaws of the building structure. I don’t know about your unit, but there are very visible flaws in mine, regarding the stability of the structure. These are the kind of tools we can use and threaten to spread like wildfire among home-buyers, if the company does not relent. When a potential buyer walks the property with the seller, you can point out what a big mistake that potential buyer is making. Would the company like that ? I don’t think so. But I’m sure you don’t approve of the way they’re treating you either.

I’m no legal expert, but as badly as this property is being managed, I just may be a legal expert by the time this is all through. So please, let’s join together and, if nothing else, use your Constitutional right to get your voice heard.

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The greed these days, with the condo builders and investers is revolting.

Getting your neighbors together is a good idea, then see if the Tampa Tribune, or St. Pete Times will run a story on it. It should be of interest to them as the condo phenom is affecting many. There is one thing that puzzles me about your lease. I am not an attorney, but I thought then when a company buys another company, they aquire their assests and liabilities, and have to perform on existing contracts and waranties. Logically, if true in this case, the current owner of your complex would have to honor the terms of your lease. Any attorneys in the house?

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Damn, I was thinking more along the lines of totally screwing the intern company. It's highly illegal, and it's also immoral, but you can completely screw the company who owns the property. You need to get everyone on the exact same page, and you need to have backup plans in place, but you have the company by the balls if you work collectively.

You need to do research on the company and find out what they assets are, ie. how much your monthly rent means to their cash flow. If you find out that they are using the money to fund construction (it sounds like it), you can eliminate their cash flow. I don't know what the laws are like in Florida, and you should check it out, but in Mass it takes 6mo. to evict a tenant no matter what. If you can get enough people together, and you can convince them to stop paying rent, you can pretty much get what you want out of the company. It's a complete dickish thing to do, and it is morally wrong, but if you really wanted to get the company back, you could cripple their cash flow and grab them by the balls.

I'm not suggesting you do this, only letting you know that there is power in masses, provided you have the leadership in place to pull it off.

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Just wondering... are the contracters American citizens or do you suspect they are illegals? I know that has nothing to do with your situation, but I'm curious if the construction industry has been crippled in Tampa as well.

I knew someone who had this happen to him in Orange County, CA. I think he had the option of keeping his apartment for a cheaper price than they would sell. It is the business owners right to do what he wants with the property... so it seems. It wouldn't surprise me if they make the leases "Subject to change at the king's discretion".

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Mickalino, do you have photographic evidence of your claims? These would go a long way to help your cause if you were to 'invite' a local news crew for a visit.

Unfortunately, that's my only regret. I found the scum so disgusting, that I quickly cleaned it up, thereby eradicating the evidence.....chomerics, i like your suggestion on boycotting rent money

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In VA you can take the apt. community to court for damages. While this is in progress you can pay your rent to the court. The managment company can do nothing to you while this is going on as long as the rent is paid on time to the court. As was stated above get a large enough group together to do this and i could be a significant pain to the investment company.

Laws on tenant landlaord relation vary wildly from state to state. Check your state on the internet to see if there is a landlord tenant act. In va its called The Va. Residential Landlord Tenant Act (VRLTA). Nothing can be contradicted by a lease from a property owner renting more than 5 properties.

Also they can't cancel you lease with no mutually agreed settlement. If you have gone month to month then all they have to do is give you a notice. If you are under a specific length lease with the dates still in effect nothing can be done to remove you without a settlement agreement. (At least in VA).

It could be worth it if you can get a group of neighbors together to pitch in for a lawyer to represent your interest.

Another thing with water issues and sanitation is to call the Health Dept. Landlords HATE that.

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In VA you can take the apt. community to court for damages. While this is in progress you can pay your rent to the court. The managment company can do nothing to you while this is going on as long as the rent is paid on time to the court. As was stated above get a large enough group together to do this and i could be a significant pain to the investment company.

Laws on tenant landlaord relation vary wildly from state to state. Check your state on the internet to see if there is a landlord tenant act. In va its called The Va. Residential Landlord Tenant Act (VRLTA). Nothing can be contradicted by a lease from a property owner renting more than 5 properties.

Also they can't cancel you lease with no mutually agreed settlement. If you have gone month to month then all they have to do is give you a notice. If you are under a specific length lease with the dates still in effect nothing can be done to remove you without a settlement agreement. (At least in VA).

It could be worth it if you can get a group of neighbors together to pitch in for a lawyer to represent your interest.

Another thing with water issues and sanitation is to call the Health Dept. Landlords HATE that.

Great advice!!!

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