As most of our clients know property management can be challenging, especially when you have to deal with more than routine “situations”. Because every manager, sooner or later, has to deal with an out of the norm “situation”, the Firm has a Situation Manager who oversees the handling of all client situations that come into THS to make sure all of these problems are handled expeditiously. Every day we receive requests to evaluate “situations” and provide information to clients on how these incidents can and should be handled. As part of our ongoing educational outreach to clients we are going, from time to time, share some of these “situations” with you that demonstrate that many of your peers have the same issues, and on occasion some even need advice on very unusual and sometimes bizarre situations.
For example: Recently a client needed advice on how to deal with a resident who insisted on breaking his lease after only living on the property for three months and wanted his deposit back. A pretty routine occurrence, right? Not so fast! His reason for moving —- the apartment was haunted! He insisted he heard footsteps all of the time and that his appliances and lights turned off and on by themselves.
Our attorney advised that the resident’s speculation that the unit was haunted is not a proper defense to breaking the lease and that the landlord could charge him the lease break remedies pursuant to the lease. It was also suggested the perhaps it might be prudent to have an electrical check of the circuits to make sure that there was not a problem that would cause this to happen or perhaps be of danger. Having a report of an inspection demonstrating that everything was fine would be helpful in pursuing financial remedies. Problem solved, “situation handled”! NO, NO, NO!
In a follow up with the landlord, we discovered that an appointment was set to meet with the resident right after receiving the advice from our attorney but — the next day a small fire broke out in the attic area. The firemen were not concerned and thought it could easily be handled. However, their optimism was short –lived, a large gust of wind came up resulting in the entire building being engulfed and becoming a total loss. There did not seem to be any cause of, or explanation for the fire. The property owners had to return the deposits of all the residents as well as prorated rents. The final word from the manager, who had never had a previous “situation” on the property was “I think the ghost burned it down!”