What to do about mismanagement by a property manager?

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What to do about mismanagement by a property manager?

My 75-year-old mother owns a condominium and the complex is in just ruins. Of the 24 units, 1 man calls all the shots because he owns most of the units. She has paid 10’s of thousands for assessments for work on the property that was garbage or not done at all. He is never around to talk about his responsibility to maintain the complex. There is no manager, no phone numbers on site. He always lies to my mother and never follows through. Now the place looks so bad outside that it cannot be rented. Her unit is in very nice shape because I work on it and have been in construction for 30 plus years. What can we do to fix this mess? I know that others in the complex are not up to date on the fees and he has a hard time keeping the water on at times. He has no money that I know of. How can I get rid of this worthless bum? My mother is old and clueless and just goes along with the flow. This is not my idea of a good property manager.

Asked on November 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If services specified in the lease or for which your mother is paying for are not being provided, she may have a cause of action against the complex and/or the property manager, based in, for example, breach of contract. Or if things are being done--or failing to be done--such that habitability of her unit is impaired (e.g. sanitary problems, such as with garbage collection), that could be a violation of the implied warranty of habitability.

Therefore, there are several possible claims or causes of action your mother may have. She may be able to get monetary compensation (and if the manager owns units, a lien might be placed on them to secure payment); she also might be able to get a court order requiring that the things in the lease or that she is paying for or that are affecting habitability be done. She should discuss her situation with an attorney, to see what her best options are.


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