HELP: Property management company incurred maintenance costs without my approval. (Bakersfield, CA)

9 Replies

I am currently in a tricky situation with one of my investment properties in bakersfield, CA. The previous tenant moved out, and my property manager sent me a list of items that the tenant is disputing (i.e. they want to get back their deposit). It added up to about 500 bucks. I OKed the request to fix it out of my pocket. However, 1 month later, the PM manager charged me 1600+ bucks for the total repair & maintenance bill!!!! There wasn't an itemized receipt from the contractor. He later sent me a list of the total items, which contained an item called "Heavy touch up " which cost 900 bucks. Is this normal??? 

I have been trying to get in touch with the PM but he is not very responsive. I have following questions that would need your advice:

- Any way I can dispute this with the PM? He's not responsive right now. Can I take this to a small court that handles this? Not the best way to handle it, but the property manager's lack of response is very annoying. 

- I am thinking about switching to a new property management company as soon as possible. Please let me know if you know any good property management company in Bakersfield, CA.

- Any things I should take consideration of when switching property management companies?

Hi @Iris Luo  ,

You should review your property management agreement and determine if there is a limit on discretionary expenses (i.e. those that your manager can incur without your prior approval).

@Bob Lowry  may be able to assist with a recommendation for that part of California.

We are active in the Bakersfield market and can make a referral of an honest PM. Kevin 661 204-5994   [email protected]

@Iris Luo  $1600 doesn't sound unreasonable to turn over a tenant, especially if $900 of it was painting. That being said, they should have contacted you along the way to tell you exactly what needed to be done along with a cost estimate. 

@Iris Luo  

Was the $900 complete painting of the entire house, or just touch-ups?  I just had "touch-ups" done at $125 by a contractor.  That was for small dings, etc. around the house here and there.  If you'd have the whole house painted, $900 is more in line.  But still, you shouldn't get a $1600 bill without some type of quote or authorization first.

See, it's this type of stuff that gives property management companies a bad name.

No.  "Heavy touch up" for $900 is not normal without an explanation.  At $25 per man hour that's 2 guys working full time for 2 days.  I don't buy it.  But that's me. I could get most entire interiors needing "touch up" totally repainted for that.  

There are tons of affordable, good repair and maintenance contractors in Bakersfield.  

The invoice from a PM should be clear as day.  There should be before and after pictures for all of it.  Settle up with this PM and get someone else. I have referrals if you need them.

I would take a look at the management agreement to see what they are authorized to undertake. Note that many property managers are given some discretion or emergency authority to undertake certain repairs. It doesn't sound like this was an emergency situation situation. Good luck. 

Thats all b.s. Trust your instincts. PMs are in the business of up-charging for maintenance. How much so is another question.

As stated $1600 is not out of the ordinary to turn over a tenant, but the lack of communication with your PM is a problem. 

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