A Guide to Dealing With a Bad Property Management Company

7 May, 9:42 am

Are you a landlord who has experienced frustration due to poor service quality from your property management company?

Whether it’s a slow response to maintenance requests or neglect of crucial repairs that affect your tenant’s living conditions, dealing with a bad property manager business can take time and effort.

But don’t worry!

This guide is here to assist you in navigating through such situations and provide you with the strategies to deal with incompetent property management companies effectively. We aim to ensure that you receive the service you deserve and that your properties are managed appropriately.

Indicators of Poor Property Management Services

Being aware of the indicators of poor property management services is crucial for tenants and property owners alike. It enables them to recognize when their property manager needs to meet the expected standards.

This knowledge empowers them to take appropriate actions to resolve issues before they become more significant problems that can cause property damage or legal troubles.

To help you identify potential issues, we have listed below some of the most frequent indicators of inadequate performance that you should watch out for.

1.  Slow Response to Maintenance Requests

This is one of the most common indicators of poor property management services. When tenants report issues such as leaky faucets, broken appliances, or damaged infrastructure, the property management company must address these issues promptly. 

However, if they fail to respond to these requests on time, it can indicate a lack of professionalism and concern for the well-being of the tenants.

regular property inspections and repairs done by PM servicesPexels

2.  Lack of Regular Property Inspection

Regular inspections are essential to ensuring that tenants take good care of the property and adhere to the lease agreement. This helps property owners and management companies identify lease violations or illegal activities. A lack of regular inspections can result in legal issues for both parties.

This also enables property management companies to promptly identify maintenance issues or potential hazards. Neglecting these inspections can lead to minor issues developing into more significant problems that may be costly.

3.  High Eviction Rates

When a property management company fails to comply with federal fair housing laws and unable to conduct a proper tenant screening process, they may end up with tenants who are not a good fit for the property or have a history of not paying rent on time. This can lead to a higher rate of evictions, which is costly for the property owner and disruptive for other tenants.

High eviction rates can also indicate poor communication between the property management company and the tenants. For example, if tenants are not informed of lease violations or given proper notice before eviction proceedings, it can lead to unnecessary conflicts and legal issues about landlord tenant law.

4. Failure to Adhere With Local Regulations

To ensure legal compliance and safeguard your investment, it is crucial to partner with a property management company, like Lotus West Properties that deeply understands the laws and regulations governing the rental industry, including rent control, security deposits, eviction procedures, and fair housing practices. 

For instance, failing to provide proper eviction notices following local laws can result in legal action against their company. Hence, working with a company well-versed in the regulations is crucial.

To determine if your property management company knows rental laws, you can verify if they have obtained all the necessary permits and licenses to operate legally. If not, it may indicate they need to familiarize themselves with local regulations.

Interviewing property managers in LA


Assessing the Quality of Your Property Manager

We will now provide you with steps to assess the quality the PM companies. By following these steps, you can ensure that you have a reliable and competent property manager who can help you achieve your investment goals.

1.  Check Their Credentials

After you have compiled a list of potential property managers, the next step is to examine their credentials. Verify that they hold a valid license, have proper insurance coverage, and are highly esteemed within the industry. You may also want to investigate if they are a good property manager by looking into their ratings and online reviews from previous clients.

Additionally, you can check with your local Department of Consumer Affairs to confirm that they are a legitimate company. Here are some additional organizations and websites that you can check to verify the legitimacy of the property management company.

  • Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA)
  • Apartment Owners Association of California (AOA)
  • California Rental Housing Association (CalRHA)
  • National Apartment Association (NAA)
  • expertise.com
  • Yelp.com

It is important to note that these organizations are particularly useful for verifying the legitimacy of property management companies in the United States, particularly in Los Angeles. [1]

2.  Assess Their Experience

Prior experience managing properties that are similar to yours is key.  Inquire about the number of rental properties they operate and their duration of service in the industry. 

Consider also the size and type of the company that best suits your needs. A larger company may have more resources and a more comprehensive range of services, but a smaller company may offer more personalized attention and a closer relationship with the property owner.

Here are some interview questions you can ask to assess the experience of a property management company:

  1. How many years have you been managing properties?
  2. How many properties do you currently manage?
  3. What types of properties do you specialize in managing?
  4. Have you worked on properties similar to mine before?
  5. What challenges have you faced in managing properties like mine, and how have you addressed them?
  6. How do you stay current with rental industry changes, such as new laws and regulations?

landlord getting references for property management company


3.  Ask for References

When asking for references, be sure to ask for current and former clients and properties similar to yours in terms of location, type, and size. Once you have the contact information for their references, you can ask them about their experience with the property manager.

Ask if they were satisfied with the services provided, if there were any issues or concerns, and how they were addressed. You can also ask if they would recommend the property manager to others.

4.  Review Their Management Fees

High management fees can eat into your rental income and decrease your overall return on investment. On the other hand, extremely low fees could be an indication of poor service or lack of experience.

When discussing fees with a potential property manager, ask for a breakdown of their fees and what services are included. This will help you compare different property managers and ensure that you are getting a fair price for the services provided. Some common management fees to look out for include the following:

  1. Monthly management fee: This fee is usually a percentage of the monthly rent and covers the day-to-day management of the property, including tenant communication, rent collection, maintenance and repairs, and property inspections.
  2. Leasing fee: This is a one-time fee charged when a new tenant moves in and covers the costs associated with advertising, showing the property, screening tenants, and preparing the lease agreement.
  3. Vacancy fee: Some property managers may charge a fee if the property remains vacant for an extended period. This fee may be a flat rate or a percentage of the rent.
  4. Maintenance fee: This fee is charged for coordinating and overseeing maintenance and repair work on the property.
  5. Additional fees: Some property managers may charge additional fees for services such as eviction proceedings, late rent collections, and other special requests.

Make sure to ask for a complete list of all fees and services before signing a contract with a property manager. This will help you understand the full cost of their services and ensure that there are no surprises down the line. Additionally, be wary of property managers who require large upfront fees or lock you into long-term contracts. [2]

Regular repair and maintenance done by property management company


5.  Evaluate Their Maintenance and Repair Procedures

To ensure that your property is well-maintained and any necessary repairs are handled efficiently, it is important to evaluate the maintenance and repair procedures of a PM company. To do this, you can ask the company the following questions:

  • What is the process for handling maintenance requests? Do they have a system in place for tenants to submit requests, and how quickly do they respond to them?
  • Do they have a preferred list of vendors and contractors they work with? Are these vendors licensed, insured, and experienced?
  • How often do they conduct routine maintenance checks and inspections? Are they thorough in their assessments and follow-up on necessary repairs?
  • What is their policy for emergency repairs? Do they have a 24/7 hotline for tenants to call in case of emergencies?
  • How do they handle preventative maintenance? Are they proactive in identifying and addressing potential issues before they become major problems?

By asking these questions and evaluating the responses, you can get a better understanding of the maintenance and repair procedures. This will help you determine if they are good property managers and are capable of providing quality maintenance services that meet your standards.

6. Make a decision

Once you have thoroughly evaluated all the factors mentioned above, you can decide whether the PM company meets your specific needs and expectations.

If you feel confident in their ability to manage your property, you can proceed to sign a management agreement and commence working with them.

How to Deal With a Bad Property Management Company

man deciding to deal with bad property management services


Handling incompetency can be frustrating, but there are some options you can use to address the situation.

Option 1 – Communicate

Have an open and honest conversation with them with a view to resolution. Be clear and specific about the problems you have observed, and allow them to address and correct the issues. Make sure to document your conversations and any promises made by the management. 

If the issues persist, you can also consider sending a formal complaint in writing, which could include a timeline of events and any relevant documentation. 

Option 2 – Review the Contract

Reviewing the management agreement to understand the terms and conditions for terminating the contract is essential. If the company has breached the agreement, such as failing to perform its duties outlined in the contract, you may have grounds for termination. 

However, it’s important to note that the contract’s termination should be done per the agreement’s provisions. Consider consulting with a lawyer to ensure that you are within your rights and avoid any legal issues.

Option 3 – Contact Local Authorities

If you discover that a property manager is violating federal and state laws or not acting in your best interest, there are actions you can take to address the situation. Reporting unethical or fraudulent behavior to the appropriate authorities can help protect your rights as a landlord or tenant.

To ensure the success of your complaint, you should provide detailed information and evidence of any illegal activities or misconduct. You can hold them accountable for their wrongdoings and prevent further harm by taking action.

Seeking legal advice for property mismanagement


Option 4 – Seek Legal Advice

You should seek legal advice when handling incompetent property management because the laws and regulations surrounding property management can be complex and vary by location. A lawyer knowledgeable in law can help you understand your rights as a landlord or tenant and guide you on the best course of action to take.

Suppose you decide to take legal action against the company. In that case, a lawyer can also help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your case is presented best. They can also advise you on gathering evidence and documenting any issues with them.

In some cases, a lawyer may be able to negotiate with them on your behalf to resolve the issue without legal action. This can save you time, money, and stress in the long run.

Option 5 – Find a New Property Management Company

If all else fails, consider finding a new property manager. Research potential companies thoroughly to ensure that they meet your expectations and have a good reputation in the industry. Be sure to review the management agreement carefully before signing it to avoid any future issues.

Reporting Complaints about Property Management Firms

This may involve filing a complaint with state or local government agencies, such as the Department of Real Estate, Department of Consumer Affairs, or Better Business Bureau. You may also file complaints with industry-specific professional associations or organizations, depending on the situation.

You can file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) in Los Angeles. The DCA provides various resources and programs to help landlords and tenants resolve disputes and file complaints against property management firms. To file a complaint with the DCA, you can visit their website and complete an online form or call their hotline at (800) 952-5210 for assistance.

When submitting your complaint, provide as much information as possible about the property management firm and the issues you are experiencing. This may include documents such as lease agreements, emails, and photographs. After receiving your complaint, the DCA will investigate the matter and work to mediate a resolution between you and the property management firm. In cases where a solution cannot be reached, the DCA may pursue legal action against their firm on your behalf.

It is important to remember that filing a complaint with the DCA is a free service, and retaliation against a tenant who files a complaint is illegal. [3]Property Management Company Expert



Dealing with a bad property management company can be a frustrating and stressful experience, but it’s not something you have to face alone. By taking action and following the steps outlined in this guide, you can protect your investment and ensure that your property is being appropriately managed. Remember, your rental property deserves the best, and it’s up to you to ensure that happens!

Are you considering hiring a property management company? Lotus West Properties is a prominent figure in the property management business, operating in the Greater Los Angeles, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, and, Westwood. Discover how our team can safeguard your investment property.




2 – Breakdown of PM Fees

3 – DCA