My tenants put a petition together to get rid of the manager


#1

My tenants have just put together a petition for me to get rid of the park manager. I was just given the petition tonight, signed by 16 out of 30 tenants. I’m not totally surprised by this, however I’m not real sure what to do from here. Some reasons on the petition are:

-She is unfair, treats some tenants better than others
-Stalks us out just looking for a reason to complain to us
-She doesn’t do much, makes her kids do the work such as inspections, handing out notices, vacant unit showings, etc
-She is not personable, can be rude

Now, there is no doubt that some (or all) of this is going on. I have to think that there always will be with any manager. I’d appreciate thoughts on that.

Now from my owners point of view, she is not so bad as a manager. She is very good with the rent collections, keeps great records, is always home, does a good job filing vacant units. Most of all, I trust her, which goes a long ways! Some things she is not so good at include: She doesn’t like any physical work. She will not clean any vacant units, she does not walk the park to see whats going on, she can be guilty of breaking some of the smaller rules of the park herself. Some tenants say she drinks alot, I have never seen this.

A few things about the park… 30 units, not alot of turnover, most turnover is from renters of the parks 7 park owned homes. I have owned the park just about 2 years, the previous owner (who used the same manager) was a bit more lax on the rules, I ask the manager to hold people to the lease 100% which may be part of the troubles here as longer term tenants are used to the way things used to be.

At this point, I don’t have a great replacement for her in mind. I have had several tenants mention that they would like the job, but none that I would like to offer the job to. The previous manager of the park does still live in the park, she has shown interest in the job, I may talk with her a bit more about the job. She is more of a people person and would probably do better in those areas.

I guess i just don’t know where to go with things from here. On one hand, I am happy with my current manager as she does the business end of things well such as rent collection and record keeping quite well. She is also trustworthy

On the other hand, it seems half my tenants are frustrated. I want the tenants to be happy living there, if a management change can improve the moral of the park, maybe I should look at making the change. I guess what I am really asking of you is, based on the things I mention, should I be happy with what I have? or should I roll the dice and look for something better? Is what I have typical or subpar in your mind?

If you need more info to give an opinion, let me know. Thanks


#2

I think you’re never going to find a perfect manager in that size park. If you had several hundreds of thousands in revenue coming in and could afford to pay someone much more, you might find a great manager. From the sound of it, she does a pretty decent job. There’s always going to be ruffling of a few feathers. If I was you, I would share the news with the manager. I would tell her all the reasons why she is a great manager for you as an owner but that you are concerned tenants will leave if she doesn’t try to treat the good residents with kindness. Ask her to do her best. They are after all, your customers. I would not give any encouragement to the tenants complaining about her, especially the petty stuff. That will just encourage more complaints. If after this heart to heart, things escalate and more than one person leaves because of the manager, then it’s time to can her. If not, and no one leaves after giving it time, then forget about it.


#3

If the 16 match up with a lot of your inspection violations I’m not sure you really have a problem, except for some of the tenants having culture shock from the prior owner to now. Stay the course, and commend the manager 1:1. You can ask her to try working on the soft skills, but that’s typically an exercise in futility.


#4

Most of those complaints sound petty, but I would dig deeper on “-She is unfair, treats some tenants better than others”. What exactly do they mean by that? Do they have concrete examples? Any kind of discrimination could land you in pretty hot water if it went to court.


#5

This is customer feedback. You only have two options when over half your customers ask for a change:

  1. Change People - Train the manager in all areas they are lacking.
  2. Change People - Find a new manager

The customer is the job. Not the stuff that needs to get done on a to do list.

If you’re like us, my bet is you didn’t spend that much time training her on what you expected. It happens and you will constantly make these types of mistakes as a business owner trying to figure it out. So go get more concrete feedback from the residents, train with your manager, and give her a deadline to correct the things she is deficient on. Again, the customer is the job so start there. We, and so many others on here, have had to learn that the customer is the job in much harder ways than you are learning it so you’ll be fine. The fact that you are open to learning this now puts you light years ahead of where I was on my first few parks.

“The Chinese word for crisis is represented by two symbols, danger and opportunity. You are the one who needs to decide which way we go from here. I’m not going to give up on you until you make that decision.” I heard that one time from my platoon commander in the Marines because of a stupid thing I did. It’s now what I use when an employee is heading down the wrong road.


#6

Your Manager is a problem. Fire her now. You may not get anyone better the next time but keep trying. Firing early is always better. There are so many red flags.
Believe me, I am sure you will find there were more problems then you knew after she goes. It is always like this.

  1. Playing favorites. 2. Probably an Alcoholic. 3. Does not walk the park. 4. Does not lead by example (follow all rules).

You are reluctant to fire her because it’s a hassle for you to replace her. But trust me, you must bite the bullet. As Frank has said, “It’s easier to change people than to change people.”. Meaning you’re not going to reorient this person with your fantastic leadership skills. Start over.

Update edit:. Tenants always complain, of course you cannot just substitute their judgement for yours. Their complaints may not all be relevant or justified, but among the whining are some real issues.


#7

I believe the root cause of the problem is you as the new owner. You have changed management style from the previous owner and your tenants are not happy. Too bad for them but they need to adjust. Review the petition with your manager and make it clear where she needs to improve. Your manager is your employee and it is your responsibility to train her to your expectations or replace her. Start with training and stay the course.


#8

This is an extremely good point - see if those residents that are in violation are doing the petition. It’s an extremely good lesson on training staff as well. Do you have expectations laid out for your team? Do you have a system in place to help your manager thrive at her job? She may not totally know what the expectations are, apart from collections - you have to give her concrete expectations and repeating weekly tasks with a follow up from you as you were saying she sits and doesn’t walk the park - there are tools you need to give her to be a more well rounded manager - MH is a different circus and a different monkey from apartments if that is her background and it also sounds like the residents are trying to get her dumped to get the “old ways” back with the previous manager / different in house live on site person. Never hire from inside the park - it’s easier but comes with a different can of worms.