How to file a complaint against the property manager.

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How to file a complaint against the property manager.

I am renting a home and moved in last week and it was not ready. The home had not been cleaned yet since we saw it over a month ago. The walls were painted but half the blinds were still broken and there was a list a mile long I had to call and complain about. I have had the property manager who is super unprofessional coming in and out with the maintenance man she hired. I am sure under the table and he has been out 4 or 5 times fixing things. The wood floors were not refinished like she said either and a guy came out twice and we had to leave our new home for him to do the floors which still look like crap and he said that he may need to come again because me messed up. He said the property manager is paying for the floor out of pocket and that’s why she needs him to do it cheap. I called Corporate got an email but have not heard back. I called again. I called the owner in charge of the realty company and spoke to him but no word back in 3 days. I called yesterday again and left a message. The home is $1700 a month but the move in was not ready and there are still repairs that need to be done and the carpet that was allegedly done still has stains. The property manager has yet to send the paper I have asked her to sign and date with the list of damages on the home and I asked her to send it last week and again on Monday which as 3 days ago. What can I do? Can I get my rent lowered because I am not getting what I paid for? Can I get my lease revised to not include carpet cleaning when I move out and to not include getting my pets nails trimmed for the floor since it is already worn down? I want this woman fired and I want to be compensated for the stress and time loss. My husband is military and only has off a week and a half longer until I don’t see him for 3 months straight so she caused me to lose valuable time with him. I documented with photos when we moved in and I have done nothing but call and still haven’t gotten an answer or solution.

Asked on April 11, 2019 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) You can't get her fired unless the corporate office chooses to fire her: companies keep bad employees all the time, so they are free to retain her.
2) There is no compenation for stress and lost time in the law--it simply not something the law gives you any money for.
3) You can't force them to lower your rent or rewrite your lease. They may choose to, but are not required to do so.
4) If there are problems which affect the ability to safely live there (e.g. affect safety, habitability, sanitation, etc.), you could withhold rent (but make sure you hold onto it and don't spend it) to try to force the landlord to fix those issues: if the landlord tries to then evict you for nonpayment, you would raise the hability issues in court as a defense or justication for withholding rent, likely have to deposit the withheld rent into escrow in court, and the court will decide if the issues justified rent withholding and to what extent. Typically, if the issues did affect health or safety, the court will order the repairs to be made and will give some of the money on deposit back to you (as a rent "abatement") as compensation for the time you spent living with these issues, and the rest to the landlord (since you did live there and get the value of having a place to live). 
But only issues affecting hability will justify withholding rent: issues like unfinished floors or stained carpeting (unless the stains are health hazards, like mold) will not. There is very little a tenant can do to force a landlord to make "cosmetic" repairs.


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