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!
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