The Day My Industry Let Me Down
Published on: Monday, November 16th, 2015
I have a friend, Debbie, who’s worked with me for over 10 years. Recently, she decided to make a lifestyle change and decided to leave her house and rent an apartment, a move that I wholeheartedly supported. She consulted me on area apartment communities – where should she live? What should she spend? She was uncertain – she hadn’t rented for almost 30 years.
She called, visited and toured several properties. She finally settled on one that was just about perfect. The model was lovely, the staff professional, the location was good and the price was right. Best of all, they could have it ready on the date she needed it. Unfortunately, the actual apartment she was to get was occupied; she’d have to settle with viewing the model and a ‘walk by’ of her actual apartment’s location. But that was good enough for her.
The first hint of trouble came when her Leasing Professional called her to ask her if she ‘needed’ it repainted. She (the LPro) said the apartment had been painted a lovely shade of red and perhaps Debbie would like the red? Deb asked my advice. “No,” I explained. You haven’t seen it, you don’t know that you’ll like it and you’ll want new paint. She took my advice and turned them down.
She proceeded to call the leasing office not once, but *twice* prior to her scheduled move in date to make sure the apartment was going to be ready. “No problem,” they assured her, “It will be ready”.
Deb was super excited. Until move in day. Her enthusiasm began to wane during her walk-through with her Leasing Pro. And has since reduced considerably. I asked her to detail her list of concerns so I could help her to make the apartment ‘right’. Here’s her list:
- Carpet stains and strong pet odor
- Dirt in window and door tracks
- Holes in all screens
- Apartment entry door heavily chipped and in need of repaint
- Shower in need of re-caulking
- Dirty patio
- Numerous light bulbs burned out
- Smoke detector missing
- No number on mailbox
- Spider webs in upper corners of apartment
- Cabinets and drawers in need of cleaning
- Vestiges of red paint around light switches
I was disappointed, shocked, dismayed, saddened…you name it. A big name REIT and this is what happens! And the saddest part was that Debbie thought that’s the way the apartment industry conducted business. Not having rented for so long, she felt that she was basically stuck with what she got for her $1200 per month.
So, what do you think? Should I help Deb get things set to right? She’s afraid that if she complains, they won’t like her and they may retaliate and make her miserable while she lives there (remember, she hasn’t rented in a L O N G time). She’s very hesitant to do anything but simply let this all go, even though she’s unhappy. What’s your advice? How should she handle this?