All That Glitters is not Gold when it comes to being a property manager

We are cautious when we look for prospective tenants to rent from us here at Far West Property Management in Prescott. We screen our tenants thoroughly making sure that we don’t miss anything and rent only to those who are the most qualified. It is rare for someone to move in and not live up to our expectations. But not every landlord experiences that level of success with tenants.  Below, we would like to share with you some situations where “not everything that glitters is gold.”


A few years ago a man and his wife applied to rent a property that we manage. They looked good, were well employed, with good credit and no criminal history. The next step was to call the current landlady. She sounded professional and courteous. She extolled the virtues of her tenants, stating that they paid on time for several years, took care of her property and of course, even with their dog, they could rent from her again. We went through all the formalities and they moved in.


A week later, an elderly gentleman consulted with me. He was interested in our property management services. While he was here he told me a horror story about a property he managed on his own. Some really bad tenants left owing him thousands of dollars and allowed their dog to destroy the carpet and pad.


When he saw me, he was still quite upset, in the process of a court case with the tenants, and willing to tell me all the details about his tenants. The details sounded more and more familiar the more he told. He agreed to share the tenants’ names with me. I had an “OH NO!” moment as I realized that these were the same people I just leased the property to, based on their landlady’s glowing report. Suffice it to say, I was just a tad upset.


Further into the conversation, I told the gentleman the name of the landlady who had said such wonderful things about my new tenants. With a dead-pan expression on his face he said, “That’s their mother,” as in the mother of my new lady tenant. I thought I’d seen it all. The wool had definitely been pulled over my eyes.


The same day I confronted my new tenants about their subterfuge. They were stunned that I discovered their plot and they were left speechless. This was no time to give any leeway, but I wanted to avoid immediate eviction for fraudulent behavior. I gave them the opportunity to sign an addendum to the lease; remove permission for the dog to remain at the house, and agree to monthly walk-through inspections (quarterly are normal). They heard my sermon on the “Evils of Dishonesty,” and they gratefully signed the addendum. They did prove to be model tenants thereafter and returned the property in excellent condition.


In the end, the outcome was a win for my clients, (the owners of the house that the deceivers had leased from me). Their cash flow was uninterrupted and the condition of the property was preserved. It was a win for our property management services because we had not only protected the property and interests of this client but had also gained a new client, the elderly gentleman, whose home we still manage. Because the deceivers had been caught, they received and took advantage of an opportunity to change their behavior – at least while they rented from us.


There are several morals to this story, but the most important one is for property owners that are managing their own properties, especially if doing it remotely from another city or state. It is this: In addition to the need to be extraordinarily cautious about performing a thorough screening of prospective tenants, and diligent about regularly monitoring their treatment of your property in Prescott, you can take nothing for granted. That’s why you should contact Far West Property Management at 928-772-9400