Confessions of an Apartment Manager
In the multi-family housing industry there are legal ways to handle almost every situation. When you have undesirables that need to go, you do not always have the time to handle things legally. These undesirables, (druggies and prostitutes), sometimes the only language they understand is plain English...go...NOW...The one thing on my side is that these people do not want to be brought to the attention of the law.
I am not condoning this type of action. The properties with which I have 10 years experience are “C” properties. “A” is a brand new or luxury community. On the “C” properties, you have a mix of about 85% good residents and the other 15% are usually delinquent on rent, drug problems, mostly people you would not want to live near.
I was so excited to become a property manager. I was offered and took every class and seminar that I could. Following are some examples of things that I ran across during my tenure as a residential property manager.
After being on one property a while, it became apparent that one of the middle-aged ladies was sexually entertaining men in her apartment. The area supervisor said that other managers were unable to get her out because she whined and said she did not do that and she also had a masters degree in business (many years ago). One of my vendors was in the office while we were discussing her. He gave me the evidence I needed. He told me which magazine to get and look for her ad. Sure enough, there was her ad with her phone number. My first mistake was to call vice. It’s not like in the movies. They sent a young good looking agent to call her and make an appointment. He said she never did or said anything inappropriate so they were closing the case.
Luckily, her lease was due to be renewed so I gave her notice to vacate at the end of her lease. She came into the office and tried to beg me to let her stay. I said no and began proper
motions. She came into my office again and begged and cried and showed me her master’s degree, showed me her gums because she had no teeth. I showed her the ad we found. She said
that she needed to run ads to meet people at her age. When their lease is expiring, you do not have to give them any reasons as to why you do not want to re-lease to them. I did inspect
her apartment and her living room was the bedroom and the bedroom was her office. She claimed she would take me to court. I held up her ad and said she didn’t have a chance.
She packed and moved and I found out she knew the vice officer was there to bust her.
Annually, managers perform an extensive property inspection of the interior of each unit. This is for upcoming budgeting purposes as well as our opportunity to weed out undesirable tenants. Each unit is given a notice as to when and why we will be in their unit. They can be there or not, but if our key does not open the door we drill the lock, replace it, and put a note that they can pick up their copy in the office ( or call maintenance if it’s after office hours). While doing this inspection we had a unit that was listed as occupied, yet it had only a chair and a TV. As we approached the bedroom the closet door was open. On the floor of the closet was a large safe and a large scale.
Immediately recognizing this as a drug apartment, I pulled the file and attempted to contact the resident and then his co-signer. Both had answering machines, so I told them they had 24 hours to remove their belongings before I called the police. I never heard from anyone, but the apartment was clean the next morning.
There was a very sophisticated young lady who leased an apartment from me and received very high scores from the application approval company.
What moved in was about eight gang bangers. She was never seen again. The funny thing was that the apartment was located in a courtyard that was directly across from my office. These kids were young but scary looking. I had just spent a lot of money making the apartment nice and I just knew they were ragging it out. I went over to try and get in connection with the girl that leased it and she was not there. What I saw through the door was another nasty mess. I called our Security Company to send a couple of guys over. We stood at the door and knocked until they opened the door. I told them I knew they were not on the lease and they had to leave immediately and show ID as they left. Of course only 1 or 2 had ID’s. When I contacted the girl who had leased the apartment, I told her what we did and she would be receiving all charges in the mail on her bill
An elderly, grandma type, female, rented a one bedroom for herself. After a couple of weeks went by, I started getting complaints of men bringing women into the apartment at wee hours of the morning and leaving after about an hour, then another man would come in with another lady of the night and so on and so on. I secretly inspected the apartment one day and found a mattress on the living room floor, no clothes in the closet, and a few glasses in the kitchen.
I called the little old lady who originally leased the apartment. She confesses that she had leased the apartment for her son who had just gotten out of prison. The lease was therefore in default, so the apartment was vacated. Unfortunately, she had to absorb all the costs since she signed the lease.
I have found (and ultimately evicted) three hoarders in my ten years of management. Each of them had lived on their properties for several years and managed to talk managers or maintenance out of inspecting. Because I did what I was told to do by the owners or management companies, I found these people, whereas many managers seemed to let things slide. Some residents thought all they had to do was to not be home and having changed their locks without our knowledge, they would be skipped. Not me. We drilled and changed the locks and left notes that their new keys would be at the office or with maintenance if they came home after office hours.
One of the apartments was used as storage. She had wall to wall furniture and boxes so as to not have to pay a storage unit. She was given 30 days to clear it out or move. The fire department backed us up.
Another unit had never had maintenance in her apartment in ten years. Water was running full force in the bathroom (for several years), wallpaper was pealing off, one room was totally full of every piece of mail she had ever received. Also, she collected pvc pipes and 2x4's. Her trash had never been taken to the dumpster. She was given 30 days to vacate.
The third unit was occupied by a suit wearing car salesman. He never took out his trash. When his toilet needed repair, he just removed it from the floor and used it that way. His defecation was layered between newspapers and stuffed into plastic bags. There were coffee cans full of cigarette butts. There was so much mail in the floor that it was slippery to walk on.
One of our neighboring communities needed our help one day. Maintenance had found a Rottweiller locked in a bathroom and it had accidentally turned on the hot water faucet. The tenant had been gone a while so steaming water had killed the dog and it was laying against the bathroom door. He needed help getting in.
Sometimes you become a baby sitter unknowingly. I had a lady with a promiscuous 13 year old daughter. When maintenance repaired her ceiling fan in the daughter’s room, condoms slid out from between the mattresses.
Her mother said she was not allowed out of the apartment until she came home from work. I saw her out all the time with other girls and sometimes boys. This worried me and especially one day when she and a girl was walking the property. Suddenly a white “gangsta” car pulled up to the two girls. The girls were about to get in the car and I ran outside and told her she needed to call her mother. The driver was definitely a bad ass with teardrops tatted down his face and more. He gave me the thousand yard stare and as she and the girl walked with me I asked did she know these guys. She said they met them at the mall. I made her call her mom and then I got on the phone. I was not afraid of overstepping my boundaries and her mother thanked me. The police drove up shortly after this happened and I explained what had happened. He said the guy was very dangerous and they were looking for him because they thought he was wanted for murder.
I leased an apartment to newly separated gentleman. He went back to his wife, so he let his brother move in. He was newly separated from jail. Soon neighbors were calling that he was standing at his open door flashing his penis. After a call to the man who actually leased the apartment, I found out the real story, so he had 24 hours to move his brother out.
Once, there was a dispute between an upstairs and downstairs tenants. After a couple of visits to each other, a gun was shown. Of course, I was told about it when the gun came into play. I filed a 24 hour emergency eviction court order. All parties were summoned to court, but the person who actually saw the gun did not show. With something this serious, the judge put out a bench warrant for him. The couple being accused of flashing the gun swore they never did that. By the next morning we were summoned back to court and they had my witness in the jail waiting to appear in court. The judge knew I had a serious case, because he knew that I did not file frivolous evictions for no reason. I wanted to keep my residents, but these bad ones cause the good ones to move.
Murder She Wrote
There was an opening for an assistant manager at my property. My supervisor and myself had both interviewed a bright, bubbly and, we thought, oh so perfect!. Her dark side did not even show its face until a couple of days later.
Exactly two months earlier she lost her 3 year old daughter to stomach/chest trauma. The same day she gave birth to a boy. The 3 year old was by her previous husband and the boy was fathered by her current live in boyfriend. They shared custody of the 3 year old. The oddness of the situation was that she showed no emotion regarding the deceased child. When I asked her how she showed so much control, she said she was so angry at her ex because he did the harm and is blaming her. Police were involved, because it had turned into a murder case I thought that she must be on some heavy meds, because she laughed a lot and constantly talked about the sex with her boyfriend.
The situation gave me a very uncomfortable feeling. To the point that I found myself grieving for her child. Then the phone calls started. Her ex was calling several times a day and said he was going to kill her and anyone else around her. Crap! I wanted to fire her, but my supervisor wanted to just deal with it. Fortunately, my supervisor’s husband told her that I had a point to be in fear of my life. So, soon there was another opening for assistant manager.
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