Bad Property Manager in Baton Rouge

14 Replies

Our property management company, Alpha Realty, has changed hands twice and served us well over 30 years, taking care of one property in Baton Rouge. We live in Virginia. Lately, I have had to resort to calling the owner to get our rent checks sent to us. Recently she was 2 months behind, blaming it on a complicated printer/software issue. I got her to hand write those checks which caught us up. Then it started all over and she owes us for March, April, and May. She is ignoring all texts and I'm not sure her office is open any longer. I'm looking for the steps I need to take to report her, as in where. Is suing her my only option? I don't have an address nor am I sure of her last name, though I thought a real estate board could help there. I don't even know if she's collected rents at all, but I definitely know it's time to change property managers, so how do I find a good one so far away. The mortgage is paid off, but there are HOA fees. Citibank sold our mortgage to some squirrelly company. We never recieved the deed once it was paid off, and since this is the first property we've paid off, we don't know how to go about getting it. What a bunch of headaches! Sounds like we're stupid, but there have been a number of deaths and health issues keeping our attention elsewhere, and this was never a big problem before. I'd appreciate any direction, especially in Louisiana, which can have some different rules.

@Tamara Alston

Sorry for the challenges,

It is very important that you make sure you take the time to interview and have candid conversations with a PM company. Let them know your strategy, your goals and what your business plan is to ensure that your business plan aligns with theirs and you can both work towards the same goal. If they are not aligned then simply keep looking till you find one that is.I would look up NARPM and start with them..Below are some questions I would think would be a good starting point for you to see who really treats their company like a business or a hobby.

My business partner is a regional VP for NARPM and I am happy to help if you need anything please reach out

Questions to Ask prospective management companies

* What are your average days on market for vacant homes?

* What is your average rent amount for all properties managed?

* What is your average work order cost for the owner?

* What is your average make ready cost for the owner?

* Are all my invoices uploaded to my owner portal?

* How do you advertise your vacant units?

* Do I receive video of my pre and post make ready?

* Do you have a setup fee?

* Do you upcharge on maintenance?

* When do you make owner payments? How often?

* Are you a Certified Property Manager?

* Are you a member of NARPM?

* What is your Guarantee?

* Do you provide move in and move out reports

* How many pictures do you take of the property prior to tenant moves in and after the tenant moves out

* Do you get weekly reports when the property is vacant what prospective tenants are saying about your home

* Do you provide monthly newsletters to your tenants

* Do you hold investor education classes to help me become a better investor

* Do you have single point portfolio based management services?

* How many properties do the owners actually own themselves?

* What do you do to ensure that the tenant is responsible for security deposit disputes since that is the largest reason for owner lawsuits

* How familiar are you with the newly changed laws that can affect you the owner if they are not used correctly?

Hi @Tamara Alston ,

I live and work in Baton Rouge. My office is about 5 minutes from Alpha Realty location on Bricksome Ave. I'd be happy to go ride by and scope out the situation for you. If it is still open, I'll even go in and inquire about there services to see what's going on inside. I'll get back to you later this afternoon.

Trey,

You sound exactly like me. I'm one of those helpful types myself and I would be so grateful. If it's open and you can pull a business card so I can get info if I need to proceed, just that would be a big help. I really don't want to cause her to lose her license, but enough is enough. I see you are an investor. I've discussed selling it with her so we can buy something closer to us in Virginia, but she always seems to think it's not the right time. Being that it's in a no flood zone, I would think rents would have gone up some, but she said no. Just so many questionable things. 

We appreciate any help you can give us.

Tamara Alston

Hi @Tamara Alston , I’m so sorry you’re going through that. I’m an investor here in Baton Rouge and have been frustrated with the local PM industry for years. So much so that I actually started my own PM company last year. My good friend & partner is a broker of 15 years and is highly involved with the regional board of realtors and state commission, so I think he could offer some guidance on how to handle your situation. I’m also happy to answer any questions about the market or specific area you’re property’s in. Send me a private message and I’d be happy to give you my cell # and email address (BP won’t let me post it here in the forums). Good luck!

Hello @Tamara Alston

It stinks you have to deal with this.  It sounds like they are likely breaching several terms of your management agreement.  I would review it and take notes on exactly which provisions they are violating.  Then review your termination policy.  If you are bound by an early termination clause, send them a letter in writing (email should be fine) stating which provisions they are in violation of, and explain you will let it go if they let you out of your agreement and turn over everything to your new manager.  Also mention that you will be filing a Real Estate Commision complaint.  That should get their attention.  Of course, threatening with BBB complaints, negative online reviews, etc. is good ammunition as well.  If they refuse, it's not a bluff.  Call your state RE Commission to begin a complaint.  I imagine if they did breach your agreement by not sending you deposits in a timely manner, etc., then they will gladly let you out of the agreement.  I don't think it would come to needing an attorney, but if they feel they did nothing wrong, they may force your hand.   Best of luck. 

Thank you everyone so very much. I have a lot of work to do and it's going to take time, hopefully Trey can help by seeing if the office is still open. I don't even have an email address for her, Trey. I work nights and so I'll not be responding during the day. I need to find out if she's even collected rent, paid the HOA dues which, and I have no phone number for them. My husband actually bought this property over 30 years ago before we were married, and whatever agreement he had was not with her, nor have I ever see any such agreement from the previous owner of Alpha Realty, so I have no idea what the terms were. She is definitely 3 month rent in arears right now, so she's definitely facing theft and/or fraud charges.

I'm not sure how to send a private message on this forum, but I do have a couple of you I'd like to contact, though it may not be until Friday when I am off.

Thanks for all the info and ideas.

Tamara

Whew, Tamara it sounds like both you and the PM company need to be better organized and their communication needs improvement. Our property management company in New Jersey makes sure we are constantly on the same page with our clients, otherwise it just creates headaches like the one you discussed. I would strongly encourage you to collect the rent through a 3rd party online platform or via ACH direct deposit on a go forward basis. There is no reason for the management company to be holding the rent and then deliver it to you. That's not how we do it anyway. 

@Tamara Alston

I went by the address listed on google for Alpha Realty. There is no Alpha Realty in the building. I asked the current occupants of 11918 Bricksome Ave Suite # E if they knew anything about Alpha Realty and they said they didn't know anything about them and had moved into the space around a year ago. The realtor I talked to advised going to the Louisiana Real Estate Commission. Please let me know if you need anything else via personal message I'm happy to help.

@Tamara Alston I definitely recommend you give @Amy Verges an opportunity to interview to help you out with at least the continuing property management at your place.  Sorry to hear about this mess you are in because I know how it feels.  Lane Bennett at Bennett Law firm is a good real estate attorney many of us around here use if you need one. 

This is an interesting thread.  I'm a new investor here in BR.  I manage my own property right now.  I have called several PM groups trying to rent an apartment at LSU for my child.  NO RETURN PHONE CALLS!!!  NOT ONE.  I also called the PM on an apartment complex that is for sale to check on the management and NO return phone call.  I think I'm sticking with managing on my own.

a a quick search at LREC.GOV doesn't show an Alpha Realty being listed as a brokerage in Louisiana. 

Also a quick search at La Secretary of state shows expired Companies with the name 1 revoked in 2011 n 2013

Not sure of the name you have but I wish you the best of luck