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When property management companies go bad

If you own several commercial properties, the odds are high that you've hired a property management company to make sure that everything is cared for appropriately. A good property management company is a great investment because it can take a lot of stress off your shoulders.

A bad property management company, however, not so much.

Here are some of the signs that your property management company may not be working out:

  1. You don't know when the last inspection of the property happened. Part of the reason you hire a property manager is so that you don't have to inspect the property yourself -- especially if you happen to live at a distance. Regular inspections keep minor damage from building up and causing bigger problems.
  2. Tenants are complaining about repairs that aren't being handled. If a tenant is contacting you directly about a long-undone repair, that's a serious issue. The odds are high, too, that it isn't just one disgruntled tenant having a problem. If your property becomes uninhabitable because of the lack of repairs, your tenants may be justified in breaking their leases.
  3. You seem to have a string of "problem" tenants. Part of your property manager's job is to make sure that your tenants are properly screened -- within the limits of the law. It's also your property manager's job to evict tenants that constantly break the rules.
  4. You can't seem to get your property manager on the phone. You should be getting regular reports to start with -- and your property manager should always be responsive to your calls or emails. If you're waiting days to hear back from a property manager, you're probably deliberately being ignored.

If your commercial property's value or your rental proceeds have taken a hit due to poor management on the part of a property management company, it may be time to consider legal action -- especially if the economic damage is severe.

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