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Old 10-29-2007, 10:32 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,974 times
Reputation: 10

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I've just become the property manager of a 900 unit privately owned student housing facility. I work for a management company, not the owner. Here's my problem - the owner won't pay bills. I am unable to get repair work done here because our reputation in paying bills is so bad, contractors won't come out anymore. I hesitate to use contractors that I have relationships with because I'm afraid they won't be paid. My boss at the mgmt co justs says she'll "check into it", then requests that I use my maintenance team to make repairs that are absolutely beyond their abilities (i.e., the roof is caving in). I've only been here 4 months; the unpaid bill circumstance existed when I came here. Can someone just give me some perspective on what could be going on? Is the owner broke, or cheap? Is the mgmt co that I work for doing something that I don't comprehend? Should I go over my bosses head and try to get answers from her boss at the risk of making her really mad? Thanks for any input you can give me.
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Old 10-29-2007, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,611,786 times
Reputation: 3008
Absolutely go over the owner's head and rattle cages until something gets done. People are living in that slumlord's scumpit.

God forbid you have a mold/safety/insect/gas/etc. problem and have 900 angry litigous college parents in a class-action civil or criminal lawsuit against you, the management company, and the owner.

Slightly less bad, but closer to you, is what happens when one of your maintenance team gets injured for being forced to work in non-OSHA-compliant conditions (like doing a job for which they were neither trained nor certified)

You are skating on very thin ice if you are aware of dangerous or non-compliant situations. Get to work correcting the problem any way you can. If you fix the problem--or make some headway, you'll come out with a great reputation. If they fire or reassign you, at least it will be someone else's problem when somebody is injured or killed.

Cheap or broke, it doesn't matter. The owner is negligent either way.

One last piece of advice; don't *********rself/friends by covering for the owner's non-payment. That will just be a band-aid and enable the owner/mgt company to ignore the underlying problems at this complex until something even more catastropic happens.

Good luck.
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Old 10-29-2007, 01:58 PM
 
11,477 posts, read 49,655,514 times
Reputation: 15921
Sometimes, job situations require you to do the impossible with nothing ... which is a rather daunting proposition.

If it's unreasonable to do your job with the tools and staff provided by your bosses, then it's time to face the fact that you don't have a good job situation.

Your choices are then to find another job with a more realistic work situation, or to do what little you can in the current job situation and let the chips ... and risk of personal liability ... fall where they may.

From my personal standpoint, life's too short to take the rap for somebody else's shortcomings in business. Your Denial of Services to this employer is most likely your best way out to preserve your integrity and relationships with the contractors and others you know.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Mokelumne Hill, CA & El Pescadero, BCS MX.
6,958 posts, read 21,105,779 times
Reputation: 6439
Sounds to me like the place should be on the market. Care to give us an idea what town it's in? I used to have some clients that would leap at a property like this one.
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:06 PM
 
9,733 posts, read 9,118,627 times
Reputation: 6387
Where are the rent payments going? If they are going to the management company and then to the owner you should be able withhold payment until the repairs are done. What if the tenants start refusing to pay their rent due to neglect? That sure would light a fire under the owner.
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
10,521 posts, read 20,370,431 times
Reputation: 9569
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinm View Post
Where are the rent payments going? If they are going to the management company and then to the owner you should be able withhold payment until the repairs are done. What if the tenants start refusing to pay their rent due to neglect? That sure would light a fire under the owner.
Could be a conflict with that as a prop. manager. Isn't your duty to represent the owner? If that's the case withholding money could be consider violating fiduciary responsibility.
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Northern NJ
1,171 posts, read 3,033,575 times
Reputation: 579
Difficult situation to say the least. This could involve doing what's right as opposed to doing what's popular or PC.

What I don't understand is the line drawn between you as property manager and the owner. When you need to have work done (by outside vendors, contractors, etc.) aren't these people billing your employer -- the management company? You said, the owner won't pay bills -- are we talking about the owner of the property or the owner of the management company?

Obviously, your "boss at the management company" is not part of the soultion, but part of the problem. First, I would document everything, via memo, e-mail, etc. Document that your team is truly not capable of repairing these items, nor should they be. You should mention how bad the situation actually is, as if she was unaware, and mention the potential liability. Create a very frequent and strong pattern of documentation. Then, you can look at next steps -- asking for and expecting solutions and results, answers as to why the solutions are not forthcoming, etc.

What is the protocol at your company? How are the people above your boss? What's the culture there? Depending on the environment of your employer, going over her head could be a great move, or the beginning of the end of your job. But don't think for a second that is something goes very wrong on your property -- don't think for a second that you are not becoming the scapegoat. Good luck.
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Long Beach, CA
2,071 posts, read 11,638,348 times
Reputation: 1799
Make sure you keep a paper trail. Document, document, document - so it doesn't fall back on you.
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