A Rental Property Management SNAFU Story

by | BiggerPockets.com

I’ll get into more details at another time, but I thought many of you would be interested in this situation . . . I have a few multi-family properties out of state and have used a management company to operate them. To date, this company has done a phenomenal job managing the properties, but earlier in the week, disaster struck.

Screwed By My Property Management Company

I received a letter on Tuesday, July 10, letting me know that as of Wednedsay, July 11, the company would no longer be operating. The letter was postmarked Friday, July 6.

Imagine my surprise . . .

This company, called Whitener & Flynn Properties LLC, run by partners Amber C. Flynn, and Travis Whitener, out of St. Louis, MO completely abandoned me and the rest of the landlords whose properties they were responsible for. In the time that they were running my buildings, they did a phenomenal job. However, their shutdown with 1 day notice is completely unacceptable.

The worst part of it all is that what they did in shutting down was completely legal. I spoke with the Missouri Real Estate Commission, who told me that the only requirements for shutting down a management company is that all participants (owners, boards, etc.) are notified. I’m glad to see that our government is once again looking out for us . . .

Wouldn’t a law mandating at least a 30 day notice make sense?

While closing their doors was legal, the company did breach their contract with me. In the contract, they were required to give me 30 days notice to end our relationship . . . that certainly didn’t happen!

As of yesterday, Wednesday, the phones & cell phones were shut off, and the website went offline. For all intensive purposes, the company does not exist. While I have my contracts and paperwork, along with my keys, I never received any funds. I look forward to see if they live by their word and mail out checks to all owners. I am pretty skeptical, and already have the local papers, district attorney, and other officials on my speed-dial.

The Search for a New Property Manager

Along with dozens, if not hundreds, of other landlords, I’ve been in a mad dash to find someone to manage these buildings. With so little notice, I haven’t been able to lock anyone in yet. I’ve been interviewing all the managers in town, but have yet to find someone I’ve been completely excited about. One of the companies I was excited about provided me with a contract that was beyond scary. Many won’t work in the areas I’ve got property. Many are ripping off their clients with crazy fees and charges. I have been told by friends in town to avoid many others. It is best summarized by one word – frustrating!

Lessons Learned

I guess the lesson here is to have a backup at all times. I’ve never worried about doing this in the past, but experience always teaches us new things. Once I find a new company to operate my buildings, and get everything settled, I plan on beginning the search for a proper backup, in the event that something like this happens again. As for other properties, I will also be doing the same with them.

BTW – If anyone has any recommendations for a quality, trustworthy management company or manager in St. Louis, please pass their info on to me! I have already been contacted by several other people who are also desparately looking for someone good! Thanks.

UPDATE: Read Part II

About Author

Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin is a serial entrepreneur, investor, podcaster, publisher, educator, and co-author of How to Invest in Real Estate. He started BiggerPockets to help democratize the real estate investing landscape for himself and others, aiming to make it accessible for everyone, regardless of income or education. Today, BiggerPockets is the premier real estate investing website online with over one million members and reaching over 70 million people with the message of financial freedom through real estate investing. Joshua, along with his wife and three daughters, make their home in Denver, Colorado, and spend any time they can traveling, exploring, and adventuring. Read more about Joshua’s story in 5280 and Inc.com.


  1. A law mandating 30 day notice WOULD make perfect sense. All you’re doing with this post is reinforcing my mortal fear of owning rental properties. If you can’t count on the management company, you’re right back to losing sleep over your portfolio! Scary.

  2. Mark – It is a legitimate fear that you have. I highly recommend purchasing properties close to home so you can keep a good eye on them. Once in a while, however, when you get your hands on a deal, you have to go with it. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself in an ugly situation, but I expect things to work out.

    If I were unable to find someone competent to run the properties, I would just have to swallow it and sell.

  3. Wow. I can hardly believe anyone who fancies themslef as a professional would even attempt a close out like that. You were given mere days to find a new rep? I can hardly wrap my head around that.

  4. When I first got into the business I worked for a property manager. After two years, one day the FBI walks in and arrests the guy sitting next to me. Apparently he had been submitting fake repair invoices to the property owners and fake lease agreements to the company owner for $100 per month less that what was actually being collected. He made out with about $450,000…blew it all on gambling.

  5. I am not only a tenant of the former Whitener Flynn Properies, but also a family member, and there was no mention of this close out to me or anyone else. I feel bad for the owners of the properites, and I am quite concerned myself as I feel I will more than likely get screwed by this transistion. If it helps, my building has been taken over byAllied Realty Group Inc (7190 Manchester Road, Saint Louis, MO 63143 (314) 647-0055). Maybe this company won’t fold on you in a matter of hours. Good luck!!!

  6. Dyllan –
    Thanks for your comment. It turns out that things are starting to look much worse then previously thought. I’m still awaiting monies owed me, I’ve heard from several tenants the WF was negligent in operating my property, and I found out from a vendor of the company that they are owed money as well.

    More to come . . .

  7. I believe that Ann S. was the office manager for Whitener Flynn. And while I do not think I live in one of your properties, what you have discovered about the lack of maintanence is correct, I was with out gas or hot water for almost a week while I waited for WF to take care of the leak, and my paint is still peeling! There was also an issue with maintanence crews entering my unit without notice and my belongings leaving with them, now if this is how family gets treated, imagine a regular tenant. I will keep up on your story and see if I have any more info to pass along. Again, good luck!

  8. I also didnt get enough notice from Whitener& Flynn properties.
    Still looking for a management company in Saint Louis area. I have interviewed few managers and they are just charging a lot
    Any ideas would be appreciated

  9. Keith Schellhardt on

    I’m sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience and I trust that things wotk out for you in a short period of time.

    I am not a licensed Property Manager, however I have provided buildings and ground maintenance management on both “contractual and direct-hire” status to property management companies and private owner’s of both residential and commercial properties.

    If I can be of any assistance to you or the other individual that were affected, please contact me at (618) 660-7364. You can learn more about what I do by visiting http://www.schellhardt.com

    Good luck!


  10. My name is Thomas, I have been in the property management business for 7 years in St. Louis and I have never heard of such a thing.

    To close in 1 days noticed is unreal. I’m sorry to hear about this. They shouldn’t be in business anyway. If you need help 314-713-4538.




    My heart goes out to all those affected. I have been in the business for over 10 years. Our office is at 3611 Meramec in the 63116. We do not charge management fees, but we will get your places rented.

    Anyone needing help please feel free to call me at 314-566-8368.

    or check out our web site :www.RECONNECTREALTY.com

    Michael Wightman
    Leasing associate

    Reconnect Realty

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