Life As A Landlord – The Classic Problems

This is part of an ongoing series about how I became the owner of a rental property in Florida while living in Utah, and all the adventures I have had along the way. If you’re just joining me now, you can check out the first installments here:

Yesterday my story of buying a rental property in Florida got to the part after closing on the house and getting management of the house all set. Today I get into some of the classic problems you hear about landlords.

I’ve been sold

Things went pretty smoothly for about three months on my property. I still hadn’t gotten anyone to give me any answers about the phantom escrow account I was promised, and worse, I wasn’t able to find anything about it in any of the paperwork. It was promised to me over the phone as part of the deal but apparently was just a sales tactic as the account didn’t actually exist. I put in a weekly phone call to the company to ask about the account but they just blew me off again and again.

At that three month mark of ownership, I got a call from the company, the management side, and they told me that they were selling my account to another management company. I didn’t know that was even possible, but I guess anything can be sold just like mortgage loans are sold between banks all the time.

I was told I needed to sign some new contracts with the new company in order to have them manage my property. The new company had a slightly different fee structure than the first, I wouldn’t have to pay a lease renewal fee until the current lease expired and I would need to decide on using this new company or not by the end of the month.

I was a bit sour about having someone else manage my accounts because of the phantom escrow account but seeing that the house was in Florida and I was not, I needed a management company to collect rent and check on my tenants so I went ahead and signed with the new company.

Before things got switched over, I asked once again about the escrow account from the old management company. They told me that all my accounts and everything else was being transferred to the new company. I thought, awesome, they finally figured things out. I then started talking to the new company and they said that indeed, some money came over. It turns out it was just the security deposit from the tenant. I never did see that $5,000 escrow account I was promised.

The new company was actually great. They had a website that I could manage all my account records, reports and repair estimates from which is something the first company didn’t have. Things started to roll again, rent was coming in and everything was great. The old company was out of my life and along with them went my bad feelings. I was a happy landlord.

But what do you always hear about being a landlord? Toilets break. Yep, a few months after signing with the new company, I had my first repair request. The sink in my home was broken and would need to be repaired. The estimate was $135.00! I was shocked that replacing a sink would cost that much.

So we bit the bullet and paid the repair bill only to get another one a few months later. The stove was out and would need to be repaired. The estimate? $137.00. The stove being repaired cost the same as a single sink being replaced.

This is where things really started to get rocky and repairs became the least of our worries.

Image by KayVee.INC

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6 People have left comments on this post

» Kevin @ Thousandaire.comNo Gravatar said: { Mar 30, 2011 - 08:03:57 }

I had a feeling this was going to start getting bad.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Ya it was pretty obvious huh? If it wasn’t, the story would have ended already! 🙂

» krantcentsNo Gravatar said: { Mar 30, 2011 - 03:03:19 }

This one of the reasons long distance ownership does not work and the other part is your inexperience.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

You nailed it. I’d say I’m getting there though! haha

» JasonNo Gravatar said: { Mar 30, 2011 - 11:03:45 }

Great story. Thanks for sharing this.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

you’re welcome!

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