Who Would WANT To Email You?

, , , , | Right | February 5, 2019

(I work for a company that manages gated townhome communities. Following is a telephone conversation between myself and a homeowner.)

Homeowner: “I want to paint my house a different color. What do I need to do?”

Me: “All you need to do is fill out and submit a Home Improvement Request form, which can be downloaded from our website, or…”

Homeowner: “I NEVER HEAR FROM YOU PEOPLE.”

Me: “Pardon?”

Homeowner: “I PAY YOU A LOT OF MONEY, AND YOU NEVER EMAIL ME ANYTHING.”

(The maintenance fees paid by homeowners go directly into the HOAs’ accounts, not to the management company. People don’t realize this, though, so when calling to complain, the first thing they do is remind us that they PAY A LOT OF MONEY.)

Me: “Actually, I send out monthly email updates to your entire community. Perhaps my emails have been getting caught in your spam filters?”

Homeowner: “NO. YOU NEVER EMAIL ME.”

Me: “Okay. Then let me look in my records to make sure we have the correct address for you.”

Homeowner: “YOU NEVER EMAIL ME.”

Me: “Is your email address—“ *reads off the address we have on file*

Homeowner: “No. That’s an old address.”

Me: “What’s your current email address?”

(She gives me her new address, and I update our records.)

Me: “Great. Now that I have your email, I will send you the Home Improvement Request form, and you can just fill it out and send it back to me.”

Homeowner: “I CALLED THIS MORNING, AND YOU NEVER CALLED ME BACK.”

Me: “Ma’am, I was out of the office this morning on property visits, but I am in the process of getting caught up on messages… which is why we’re talking now.”

Homeowner: “Oh.” *beat* “Thanks.” *click*

(But hey, at least she said thanks. That’s a first right there.)

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Someone Grassed Up The Wrong Tenant

, , , , | Working | June 13, 2018

(We rent through an agency, and a year ago our property manager moved on to a different agency. We have a new property manager who is very demanding, but not so great at listening. I receive a phone call from her. It’s worth noting that I live in an old terraced house, so I have no front yard, my fence is about three steps from my front door, and the entire area is paved.)

Me: “Hello.”

Property Manager: Hi, [My Name], it’s [Property Manager]. Look, I’ll be blunt, we’ve had several complaints about the state of your front yard and we need to sort it out ASAP.”

Me: “My front yard?”

Property Manager: “Yes.”

Me: “What about it?

Property Manager: “Grass not mowed and being at knee height is the main complaint; I want to remind you that a condition of your tenancy is garden intermittence.”

Me: “This is [My Name], from [my address]; I think you have the wrong tenant.”

Property Manager: “Excuse me? I thought it would be nice to give you a heads up before I put in an official letter, for you to do the right thing. I know who you are, and I know which house this is; I’ve driven past and I can see for myself that your yard is not maintained.”

Me: “[My address] is a terrace. I don’t have grass.”

Property Manager: “This is [My Name] from [my address], yes?”

Me: “Yes.”

Property Manager: “Then I have the right house.”

Me: “I think something has gotten very jumbled here. I don’t have a front yard or grass; I have a small paved area with no greenery at all.”

Property Manager: “I drove past the property yesterday.”

Me: “Right… Okay. I’m just saying, you might want to double-check. Thank you. Have a good day.”

(A week letter, I got an official warning about my grass in the mail. I ended up emailing a picture of the warning letter, held up in front of my “front yard,” and a summary of the phone call to the rentals manager. I received a lovely apology from the rentals manager, and a gift card.

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This Call Has Gone Through The Change

| Right | May 14, 2016

Tenant: *via text* “My AC ISN’T WORKING! HELP ME, PLEASE!”

Me: “Let me contact the AC tech and see when he can come. It’s Friday at 4:30, so I’ll do my best.”

Tenant: *now calling* “You have to get him to come out today. This is unacceptable. I need him now. I’m going through menopause and am having hot flashes. I need AC. Can you tip him, give him some money?!”

Me: *silence*

Tenant: “Okay, that was probably TMI.”

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The Lawnmower Ban

| Right | September 3, 2015

(My office line rings, and I answer.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Homeowner: *yelling* “YOU ARE GOING TO JAIL!”

Me: “I’m… I’m sorry?”

Homeowner: “YOU ARE GOING TO JAIL. THIS IS ILLEGAL!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I am not sure what you are referring to.”

Homeowner: “YOU SENT ME A NOTICE ABOUT MOWING MY LAWN. I WAS OUT OF TOWN FOR SIX WEEKS. THAT’S NOT MY JOB. YOU CAN’T MAKE ME STAY HERE. IT’S ILLEGAL. I CAN TAKE A VACATION!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear about this, sir. If you could provide me with your name and address, I can look into this for you.”

Homeowner: *gives name and address*

Me: “Thank you, sir. It appears you were sent a courtesy notice as your lawn went un-mowed for two months, and your governing documents state it must be done every two-to-three weeks.”

Homeowner: “IT’S NOT MY JOB! I WASN’T HERE! I AM ALLOWED TO LEAVE! YOU WANT IT DONE SO BADLY, YOU DO IT!”

Me: “Sir, we are not the ones who set the rules; that would be the Homeowner Association’s Board of Directors. We work for them. If fact, this rule was suggested by a member of the Board of Directors… [Homeowner], about a year ago. If you would like, I can send you the minutes of the meeting in which you recommended this rule when you were on the Board?”

Homeowner: *meekly* “I didn’t know I would go on vacation back then…”

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Building Up Abuse About The Building

| Right | September 11, 2014

(I work as maintenance coordinator for a property management company. I get a call from a nearly 30-year-old tenant’s mother.)

Me: “Hello, This is [My Name]. How can I help—”

Mother: “You listen here. I am going to sue the living s*** out of you and you negligent company unless you fix the issues in my son’s apartment!”

Me: “I’ll do everything I can. What is the—”

Mother: “Well, YOU have already been doing ALL that YOU can. Maybe I need to talk to someone else, cause all you can do is f*** all!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m more than happy to assist you in any way I can but I will stop this conversation if you continue to be abusive. What is the add—”

Mother: “I’M BEING ABUSIVE?! You take my money EVERY MONTH so my son can live in that s***-hole! Breathing in mold, dealing with rats and roaches! WHAT ABOUT THE GOD-D*** HOLE IN THE CEILING?! Don’t you think that’s abusive!?”

Me: “Ma’am, I have no knowledge of any unit having any of these problems but for me to help I need the address—”

Mother: “YOU HAVE NO F****** KNOWLEDGE?! LET ME TALK TO YOUR MANAGER!”

(At this point I lose my patience.)

Me: “Ma’am, did you sign the lease for your son or were you present for the signing of the lease?”

Mother: “No, I did not, but what the h*** does that have to do with anything?”

Me: “It MEANS I legally do not have to talk you. NO ONE here has to, and if you continue to be this abrasive on the phone, I will advise the property manager to evict your adult son from his unit. I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT! Now, PLEASE, if you want me to help I need the ADDRESS!”

Mother: “Fine, it’s [address].”

Me: “Ma’am, we don’t even manage that building. It’s managed by [Other Management Company].”

Mother: “Well, then, how do I get ahold of them?”

Me: “Let me Google that for you. ” *hangs up phone*

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