1836 Blog

Old scam still going on as headache to Austin Investment Property Owners

I used to say that we learned something new every day in this business. Now it’s down to about every other day but the stories are more and more interesting. We’ve heard all the old ones. This story is something we’re glad we’ve not experienced.

(All names have been withheld to protect those involved) 🙂

So we’re managing a property in Southeast Austin. We’ll leave out a lot of unnecessary background on it. The tenant moves out and leaves behind about $2,000 in damages. The great news is that another company put that tenant in place. They botched the lease as well but that’s still a 3rd story. We do a detailed report, take photos, get estimates, etc. We send those to the owner who says they will need about 30 days to get the money together. In the mean while the fence starts falling down. The neighbor emails us complaining because we’re not doing our job. We get an estimate for that which we forward to the owner. The owner doesn’t respond.
Thirty days comes and goes. The owner says they’re going to mail a check, they never do. 60 days… finally approaching 90 days of vacancy for a house we’re responsible for watching we have to cut ties with the owner. They unwilling to send us money and we can’t be responsible for watching a vacant house for free.

We part on good terms. Their lack of funds is due to some other more important issues arising in their lives. No problem, we’ve all been there. A friend comes to pick up the keys for the home after about another 30 days has gone by. She goes out to the home a couple days later to have someone look at it to start a make ready on it. Now this isn’t the funny part. The fact that they’re having someone else do the make ready and a friend oversee it isn’t a problem if we’re not managing it. Wait for it, wait for it….

So I get a call shortly after they get to the property wanted to know who’s living in it. I call back and find out a family has moved in. There are scam artists out there who post vacant houses on Craigslist and try to lease them, collecting the first months rent and deposits from unsuspecting tenants. Of course with cash in hand they’re not going back to collect rent the next month and the tenant doesn’t care because they’re living there for free. The status continues until either the house is foreclosed or someone like this friend of the owner shows up.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that the last day I pulled the lock box and left the property it was vacant.

Needless to say we’ve now got a new policy against owners not providing funds in a timely manner and we also have added required trips for properties that do remain vacant and unoccupied and off the market. When a make ready is in progress or a property is being shown for lease this isn’t an issue as there is enough traffic through the home to notify us of any abnormalities.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all! We had heard about these before in the peak of the housing foreclosure crisis but apparently they never went away entirely.

For the best property manager and best property management services in Austin Texas call us today. We’re here to ensure no one uses your property as a campground!


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