Who is responsible?

17 Replies

Hi All!

I am a new out of state investor in KS MO. Recently, my property got vacant. 

It seems that my PM is super overloaded and busy. I had to remind her time after time to get someone to mow the lawn.

In case I get a fee, who should pay for that myself or the PM? 

Thank you very much for your help/Perspective

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It's your property and you are 100% responsible. If fined, you may be able to get your PM to pay the fine if they value your business, but it sounds like they don't need your business. Fire your PM and find one that values your needs more than that of others. 

The PM "should" pay it because it's the PM's job to care for the property but most will not claiming "it's your property."  My advise is to let the PM know that if she is too busy to give you and your property the attention it deserves, you'll need to make a change.  And, why is your property vacant?  Did the PM start the tenant search prior to the last tenant's departure?  What's been done to secure a quality tenant quickly as to not further interrupt your income stream?  I think the grass is an issue but having a vacant property AND maintenance issue would be a deal breaker for me.  

Here is a case that you're PM might be doing you a favor... There was a time that I was doing major renovations on one of my properties so it was not in any condition to show.  Of course I didn't care how my lawn looked.  I got notice from the city that I have 2 weeks to mow it or I would get a fine and if it was not take care of in 4 weeks, the city would do it and charge me.  The fine was $20 and mowing from the city was $40.  So I would pay $60 to get my lawn mowed from the City.  I called my PM and asked how much his guy would charge me.  I was told $60 each time if twice a week and $100 if once a month.  Sometimes the fine might be better and the city always gives you a warning.

@Idan Narotzki . I think you’ll find very quickly the OOS investing you’re currently doing is very hard to manage.

If you’re fined by the city you’ll have to pay that

Originally posted by @Patricia Steiner :

The PM "should" pay it because it's the PM's job to care for the property but most will not claiming "it's your property."  My advise is to let the PM know that if she is too busy to give you and your property the attention it deserves, you'll need to make a change.  And, why is your property vacant?  Did the PM start the tenant search prior to the last tenant's departure?  What's been done to secure a quality tenant quickly as to not further interrupt your income stream?  I think the grass is an issue but having a vacant property AND maintenance issue would be a deal breaker for me.  

"Did the PM start the tenant search prior to the last tenant's departure? What's been done to secure a quality tenant quickly as to not further interrupt your income stream?" 

She hasn't done anything. But rehab is needed before getting the next tenant. So could she do anything about it? 

Thank you Patricia!

 

@Idan Narotzki As others have said, the fine from the city will definitely be in your name. Now while the PM probably should reimburse you because of their negligence I would not count on it. 

Your overall problem is you only own 1 rental and do not own enough rentals to be a top priority for your PM from the info you provided I think that may be what is going on here. 

@Idan Narotzki

My clients and I always start our tenant marketing before the current tenants depart; any rehab that will be done afterwards can be shared with the prospective tenants ("this is what we'll do for you before you move in...").  Letting a prospective tenant know that you're going to do something special to make the unit even better for them is priceless (as long as you do it).  If you stop after every tenant departure...fix the place up...then start looking for a new tenant, how much interruption to your cash flow is incurred?  Too much.  When the tenant gives notice, you give notice that you'll be showing the unit.  It's a business and you need to set the standard and expectation with your PM to keep it operating as a business.  Hope this helps...

@Idan Narotzki ask your property manager if she will pay the fine when she is responsible for not keeping it mowed. See what she says and go from there.

@Josh Bakhshi it is your responsibility as a property owner to maintain your yard to city standards for the benefit of your neighbors and the community. Prioritizing profit over being a good neighbor is a bad business practice. It hurts your reputation and will cause your neighbors to not be on your side. 

 @Joe Splitrock :


Joe, your argument is weak.  What you should have said was that not maintaining my yard potentially hurts the entire community and thus bringing the values down (especially mine).   That being said, I understand that even though I have not been to most of my properties, I am by default part of the community.  In the case that I was talking about, it is part of a community that the city government and neighbors were already a pain in the @$$.  

I do understand where you are coming from and I respect that.  At the end of the day, my profits put food on my table and cloth my kids.  That is the MOST important thing to me as well as other for themselves.  

The fact that I usually take homes that have been trashed and ignored for many years and put them back to life where families live there, I think my neighbors would like me.  But I honestly don't do that for my neighbors or the community, I do it for a profit.  

If that gains me respect or hatred, I really don't care.  I was only answering a post and giving my advise.  If it is listened to or ignored, again, I really don't care.  

Originally posted by @Michael Noto :

Your overall problem is you only own 1 rental and do not own enough rentals to be a top priority for your PM from the info you provided I think that may be what is going on here. 

I totally agree with you Michael, but What can I do about it?

I can't buy another property (yet)

 

Originally posted by @Idan Narotzki :
Originally posted by @Michael Noto:

Your overall problem is you only own 1 rental and do not own enough rentals to be a top priority for your PM from the info you provided I think that may be what is going on here. 

I totally agree with you Michael, but What can I do about it?

I can't buy another property (yet)

 

You can find a new PM or sell the place you just bought 

 

@Idan Narotzki  

In Kansas City the city will send a warning letter to you prior to issuing a fine. If the city does mow it will be on you to pay the fine, however, Most if not all PM will put a vacant house on their mow list as soon as if not before the tenant moves out which means it should be mowed within 30 days depending on starting condition during move out. I know some do not mow lawns more then 2 times a month however most try to get away with 1 time a month to save owners. My concern is after 30 days of vacancy would be why is it not renting. If you bought a property in a desired area and proper marketing is being done the house should be rented within 30 days as long as the house shows well. If this is not the case then the PM company may not be promoting your property. PM companies due cater more to their larger clients hower, they still owe you all the services you agreed to on the contract. Ask the pm for a showing report and comments from the showings, ask for current pictures of the property, Have them take a video walkthrough of property and street. If you do not become annoying then they will overlook you and pass you by. Multiple emails following up so you can document the conversation and have a trail of documents showing your attempts to get issues resolved.

And let the city mow your yard two or three times and they will issue a warrant for your arrest for excessive code violations, plust the fine.

First off, I would look over my contract with my PM company.  I've had several contracts that I was only responsible for renting / re-renting the place + maintenance requests.  This put the time lapse for grass cutting in the Owner's hands.  Granted, in my market that was typically very short but, I typically didn't need to deal with grass cutting for those clients.  I will say that in the KC area you are lucky that they gave you notice.  In my area, they fine you first then tell you that if you don't cut your grass by a certain day they will cut it and not only bill you but fine you for every day that it wasn't cut since the notice was mailed.  I believe the initial fine is $100.00 and $50.00 / day - not including the cost to cut.  We tend to push the limit with a 10-day grass cutting schedule for the properties we need to tend to the grass.  For reference, we tend to get the KC weather about 2 days later than KC does.

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