Filing Complaints: A Property Management Go-To Guide

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Over 80% of property managers think they communicate well with their renters, but fewer than 40% of residents agree. This shows that, if you have complaints about what a property manager is doing, you are neither alone nor should you hold your tongue.

But, how do you go about presenting a concern to your property manager, or if they ignore it how do you escalate the issue?

Below, this article will illuminate how to file a complaint against a property management company. Through reading this post, you should be able to plan how to handle any issues that come up through your dealings with property managers. So, if that is an issue you are dealing with, read on.

How to File a Complaint Against a Property Management Company

The complaint filing process is not complex, although it may take some time.

There are many different steps that you can take to make a complaint against such a company. You do not need to perform them in the following order, but we recommend that you contact the company involved first. This will show that you intend to resolve the issue amicably should it go any further.

  1. Write a letter of complaint to the property manager in question
  2. Contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  3. Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  4. Contact your local city
  5. In extreme cases, file a lawsuit

Any company in residential real estate should consider any complaint that you send them. After this, at the very least, they should respond with a message in some form or another.

There is a chance that you are not comfortable with contacting the property management company themselves. Reasons for this may include legal issues or personal safety. If this is the case, you can of course escalate faster.

You can find more information on each of the above steps to file a complaint below.

How to Write a Complaint Letter to Property Management

The first thing that we suggest you do in most cases is to write a direct letter to the property management company. If you have not done this and there is no impediment, you should do so. You may find that their failure is not due to malicious action but a lack of communication between you and them.

This may not always guarantee that they act fast after this. After all, you are one tenant of many who may all have issues that need resolution. Although, they should at least confirm receipt of any complaint that you send them before they move forward with it at a future time.

Any good complaint letter will not only detail the situation as it is currently but will provide useful context and remove extra fluff. We would suggest that you break down every step you wish to communicate in bullet point form.

If the company then ignores your complaint, then you might start to consider it to be negligence. You should take the issue further.

Contacting the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

The HUD acts as oversight for any issues related to housing, house ownership, and property renting. This includes a complaint about property management that you might have. They act as arbitrators when necessary and can resolve issues brought to them.

If you file a report with them, they will do their best to investigate the issue in question. Should they deem it worth investigating, they will do so and you may hear of the results. Although, circumstances may dictate that you do not receive a full report from them.

Issues that the Department of Housing and Urban Development handles include:

  • A property manager not paying out security deposits
  • Dangers to a tenant’s health
  • Discrimination based on protected statuses
  • Fraud
  • Ongoing maintenance issues
  • Problems with professional management
  • Safety concerns

Contacting the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

The BBB is an independent organization that assesses and rates businesses across the country. If anyone has an issue with a business, including a property manager, they are likely to want to hear about it.

Many companies care a great deal about their BBB rating, as it affects how both competitors and partners view them. For this reason, they are likely to pay attention if a complaint is made about them to this organization.

Contacting the City

Washington DC is a city comprised of many departments. Many of these could help you with investigating any issue that your property manager is creating. 

The city’s website has many links to report issues with how your property manager is handling your home. Examples include:

  • Reporting unlawful actions by your landlord
  • Reporting that your living conditions are not safe for habitation
  • Reporting that you are being discriminated against

Discrimination includes if a landlord doesn’t accept housing vouchers. It is also discriminatory if they restrict access to specific services or programs.

The city takes a property manager’s responsibilities very seriously. They will start an investigation if you raise concerns with them.

Filing a Lawsuit

If you report a property manager, there is a chance that the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction. If that is the case, you can always consider filing a lawsuit with your property manager or anyone else involved.

We cannot offer you advice on how to do this and instead would recommend that you contact a competent attorney. They should be able to run you through the filing process as well as discuss how they can help you and what that would cost.

What Next?

You should now have a much better idea of how to file a complaint against a property management company without a hassle. Wouldn’t it be better if you had a property manager you never needed to complain about, who would act with professional candor? Lucky for you, Nomadic Real Estate provides just that.

Our people can talk to you about what we can offer to provide you with a professional property management service. All you need to do is contact us. So, give us a call today and we can discuss what we can do for you.

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Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

Owner Portal Reports
  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

Enhanced Rent Roll Report
  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

Unit Comparison Report
  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

Income Statement by Month Report
  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

Owner Portal Documents
  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

Owner Portal Property Statement

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Month over Month Statement

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Owner Portal New Message Screenshot

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

Portal Conversation Response Screenshot
  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Owner Portal Comment

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Portal Conversation Snapshot

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

Owner Ledger Dates
  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

Ledger Property Column
  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

Owner Ledger Description Column
  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

Owner Ledger Amount Column
  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

PW Portal Filters

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

PW Owner Dashboard View

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Owner Portal Ledger View

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

Owner Portal Document Library

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

Portal Reports View

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Owner Portal Bills View

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

Portal Bill Details

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.