BBB Logo

Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
In Southern Piedmont/Charlotte, NC

BBB Business Review

What is a BBB Business Review?

Consumer Complaints

BBB Accredited Business since 11/03/2008

Shearer Realty, Inc.

Phone: (704) 567-8200Fax: (704) 536-0975

BBB Business Reviews may not be reproduced for sales or promotional purposes.

Customer Complaints Summary

4 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 4 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Billing / Collection Issues1
Problems with Product / Service3
Advertising / Sales Issues0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints4

Complaint Breakdown by ResolutionAbout Complaint Details

Complaint Resolution Log (4)BBB Closure Definitions
12/09/2013Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Failure to honor refund, exchange or credit policies

Complaint: We had to break our lease due to my wife's layoff, gave 45 day notice. They didn't start advertising for 10 days and then charged for cleaning
We cleaned thoroughly, we only lived there for 3 months and there was no spots on carpeting but they charged $100 for carpet cleaning, $158 for cleaning which wasn't necessary, $40 for rekeying, $25 for battery replacement in smoke and co alarms, which were not needed since we were only there 3 months and $184 misc fees for so called repairs that are not true and kept $490 because new tenants didn't take possession till the 15th of Nov.

We had to thoroughly clean all windows and floors when we moved in due to incompetent painter spraying on windows and floors. We never had a walk thru when we moved or when we moved out. The management company took over a week to even get out to the property after we moved.

Very unprofessional and now I have a check for $142 out of $1050 security deposit which I feel is a wrong doing.

Initial Business Response
This tenant signed a one year lease that began on 7/17/13. On 9/17/13 they contacted me and stated they lost their job and needed to know if they could be released from their lease. I explained that we could start advertising the property and once I found another tenant their rent charges would stop when the new tenant was paying rent.
On 9/24/13, the tenant emailed me and stated "If you can find someone to rent right away we can figure something out to put stuff in sorage if need be till we can move but we may have go back to **. How would the security deposit be handled? Would the cost of the add come out of it?
I replied the same date and stated the Security deposit would be applied to any damages, rent owed or cost to place another tenant (including the advertising). The reminder would be returned to the tenant within 30 days.
On this same day, 9/24 another email from the tenant asked if they moved in 2 weeks what would be owed and I replied on 9/24 stating "Let me clarify the two week request. First, you will owe rent until the new tenant is paying rent."
"I am not agreeing to stop your charges 2 weeks from now."
On Tue Oct 1st, the tenant emailed asking why the property was not advertised on our website. We update all of our advertising on Mondays. We had all advertising in place on Monday Sept 30th except the ******************.com website and we corrected this oversight that day. This was 7 days after we were asked to put the property on the market.
I wrote an email to this tenant today and explained that every new tenant is entitled to a freshly cleaned house and freshly cleaned carpet and that is what we did for the next tenant. When a tenant breaks their lease, the Landlord (Owner) is entitled to all expenses he incurs to place the next tenant in the property as a result of the original tenant breaking their lease agreement. This tenant was charged $100 for a carpet cleaning, $158 for a general cleaning and $40 for a re-keying of the locks. I told this tenant that we will change the locks for every tenant because we have no idea who has keys if we don't.
The only other charges were the $490 owed for the pro-rated November Rent, $75 charged for repairing a hole in the wall and painting where the tenant did not do a good job and $5.00 for smoke detector batteries.
They were not charged $184 misc fees as their complaint states.... The $184 is what the vendor charged to make these repairs and a couple of other repairs this tenant was not charged for.
I have attached emails from 9/17/13 to 10/1/13
and invoices for the carpet cleaning and general cleaning and also a copy of the lease agreement.
Most Landlords would probably agree to release their tenant from a lease with a loss of security deposit + one or two months rent. This tenant was able to leave with only the rent they owed while their lease was still active, $378 for cleanig & repairs and $40 for advertising.
The remainder of their security deposit was returned as promised.
I emailed this tenant today and told them I would refund $80 for the paint/battery charge because I know they are having financial difficulty at this time. I hope this will help.
************ / Owner - Broker in Charge

Complaint Resolution: Company resolved the complaint issues. The consumer acknowledged acceptance to BBB.

11/15/2013Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Inappropriate behavior by customer service personnel

Complaint: They didn't act according to their agent contract. ****** was also unprofessional on many occasions.
This company is great as long as you don't require them to collect past due rent or get approval for repairs without the owner's consent. I simply wanted Shearer to do the things according to their contract.
1. When my tenant was behind on rent, no noticed was sent nor legal proceedings after 3 months of past due rent.
2. They constantly made repair charges without my approval. Anything over $250 needed my approval. Each repair was billed separately to make it under $250 when they should have been combined and it totaled over $500.
3. I was never given my tenants rental history which could have possible prevented both tenants being behind of their rent.
4. Each month I constantly asked about a late notice being sent and Shearer would state "he would pay". After the 4th month I found out a payment plan was set up between the tenant and Shearer. I informed him that legal proceedings should be filed. He stated that he wasn't the mafia and didn't know how to get money out of someone's pocket.
5. I provide internet for my tenant. When the tenant couldn't get it working, ****** told him to get any package they want and I would pay for it. All the tenant had to do was go to the time Warner cable and pick up a FREE router.
6. My sink hose wasn't working properly. They charged me $100 to tape it up.
7. The son of the owner is extremely unprofessional and condescending.. He constantly made concessions for the tenant without my knowledge or approval.
8. Once my tenant moved out, Shearer wanted to give him his full deposit back even with him owing me past due rent.
9. A move out walk thru was done before the tenant cleared out everything, made repairs, and painted. After he moved out I had to dispute charges they wanted me to pay for that he should have handled. A cleaning fee was charged but my new tenants had to clean the place and throw out the previous tenants furniture. I was made aware of this from my current tenants.

Initial Business Response
Shearer Realty has been in business since 2006 and I have done my best to please everyone, but I have learned this cannot be done.
Here is my response to all 9 complaints:
1. This complaint states that no notices were sent to the tenant when he was late. This is a FALSE statement. We send late notices on the 6th of each month to any tenant that owes over $200 and this Landlord's tenant received them in April, June, July and August 2013. He resided in the property from January 2012 to April 2013 paying his rent on time every month. This complaint also states that no legal proceedings were initiated even after 3 months of past due rent. The tenant was never 3 months behind paying his rent and I am attaching his ledger that shows his payment history to prove this Landlords statement to be FALSE. It is true that I never initiated legal action. I instead communicated with the tenant to make sure he understood what he owed and the possible consequences if he did not pay. HE PAID ALL OF HIS RENT OWED and this Landlord did not miss a days rent between this tenant and the next.
2. We never made a repair that was over $250 without first contacting this Landlord for approval.
3. We do not provide previous rental history information or credit information or any other information to owners so they can approve or disapprove a tenant. Shearer Realty was hired to represent the Landlord as an agent and our firm is required to treat every applicant exactly the same with the same criteria for qualifying to lease a property. If we allowed the owners (Landlords) of a property to have the final say, Shearer Realty could be sued for discrimination.
We also have personal credit information that is not allowed to leave this office.
4. I did ask the tenant to let me know how he planned on paying the debt owed and he provided me with a schedule with amounts and dates. I never told him he would not be evicted because I know that I do not own the property and I work for the Landlord and if the Landlord wants me to evict a tenant for non payment of rent, then that is what I will do. In this case, the Landlord requested that I file an eviction 2 weeks before the tenant was moving out. I explained that this would be a waste of money at this point because I could not even get to court before the tenant would be out of the property. The reason I go to court for an eviction is to ask the magistrate for possession of the property. If I already have possession, the magistrate would dismiss the case and the Landlord would be out the $126 filing fee. Again, the Landlord received all of the rent owed from this former tenant.
5. This statement is totally FALSE. We would never tell a tenant to buy whatever they want and the Landlord would pay for it. We did not know how to set this up for the incoming tenant. ****** contacted *********** cable and they did not have an account for this address. He then figured out the account is in the name of the HOA. He also contacted the owner who told him what speed the HOA internet service provides and he explained to the tenant that if they wanted anything faster or more expensive, then they would have to pay for the upgrade. ****** was able to get everything set up before the new tenants moved in.
6. This Landlord was not charged $100 for a sink hose repaired with tape. I have included the invoice that clearly shows this vender also removed numerous disc mirrors from the wall and patched the holes. This was the majority of the bill. The kitchen hose only had frayed braiding that was cut off and then the tape was applied to keep the braiding from fraying again.
7. I've worked with ****** in this industry for over 8 years and he has always presented himself in a professional manner. He did not make any concessions for this tenant that I am aware of and I do not see any specific examples in this complaint.
8. This statement is also TOTALLY FALSE - I never release a tenants security deposit without getting the owners approval for exactly what charges the money will be applied to. The lease states it can be used for unpaid rent or damages to the property over and above normal wear and tear. We ALWAYS discuss the damage charges with the Landlord and add this to the tenants ledger. Then I remove the security deposit from the trust account and apply it to the tenants balance owed. In this case, the tenant owed more than the security deposit so he did not receive any of it back.
At NO time did I ever indicate to this Landlord that the security deposit would be returned to the tenant.
9. When we do a move out inspection, we list everything that needs to be completed to get the property back in rent ready shape. The Maintenance Manager for Shearer Realty reviews this list with the Landlord and gives his opinion of what is chargable to the tenant for damage over and above normal wear and tear. Sometimes Landlords feel they can charge for everything, but the law states they cannot charge for painting (unless there are holes in the walls or crayon marks etc) carpet cleaning and general cleaning (unless there are expenses above and beyond normal due to a tenants negligence)
Advising the Landlord on this issue is part of the property management process. The Landlord has the final say on the disposition of the security deposit. I investigated the "previous tenants furniture" in the complaint and this ammounts to a 4ft x 6ft rug that was in good shape. The new tenant said they would take care of it after ****** offered to remove it and a chin up bar. That is it! NO FURNITURE

I will end this response by stating that this property was well taken care of by the tenant that occupied it while Shearer Realty Inc. managed the property. The tenant paid every bit of the rent owed and even paid the expenses for finding a new tenant when he asked to be released from his lease.
As a Christian, I realize that maybe I allow people to much freedom to pay their rent when they are able to instead of forcing them to be homeless. Maybe it's because I have been unemployed in the past and was given a hand up by friend and family. I have seen people too sick to work. I have dealt with tenants that do not enjoy the lifestyle I have because they work for minimum wage or they have ailing parents etc etc etc.
If the rule is that I must file an eviction every time a tenant pays their rent late, then I will sell this company because I am not the guy that can do that.
Most Landlords understand this and most Landlords are willing to help their tenants, but then there are a few that believe in the almighty dollar and have little compansion for others. Hopefully someday, that will change.
****

Complaint Resolution: Company resolved the complaint issues. The consumer acknowledged acceptance to BBB.

10/24/2013Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Unauthorized changes to the contract or agreement

Complaint: Company will not give me my deposit for the home I was going to move in to but change of plans the owner of the home will not give me my deposit back.
Move in date was suppose to Oct 11 2013 I paid my deposit. I'm elderly I didnt understand the guidelines to move in when I had my daughter to look at the lease it had to many rules. I have not received a key to home I went back to Shearer Realty they said I couldnt get my deposit back for the home.

Initial Business Response
I'm sorry this applicant changed her mind after signing the lease agreement. She told me her room mate changed his mind when he determined he would not be able to park his truck and trailer in the driveway at the rental property. She also told me that there were too many rules on the lease.
I personally read thru the lease with her and her room mate and explained each section and asked if they had questions and answered them before they signed the lease agreement. We use the same lease most property managers and Realtos in Charlotte use. Once they signed the lease, it became a binding contract with the Owner of the property (the Landlord)
In this situation, the Landlord is choosing to enforce the contract and will keep the tenants security deposit and apply it to the first months rent owed unless another person signs a lease for the same time period.
I wrote to the NC Real Estate legal department to check to see if the Landlord has the right to keep the deposit and this is the reply I received:

Once the tenant signed the lease, it became a binding contract. The landlord can use the Tenant Security Deposit for first month's rent even though the tenant has not taken possession. The landlord must take all actions possible to re-rent the property.

****** ******
Information Officer
North Carolina Real Estate Commission
*******************

I would like nothing more than to return this security deposit to her, but I work for the Landlord and I must follow their direction unless it conflicts with the law. In this situation, the Landlord has every right to keep the deposit paid. We are advertising this property and hopefully will find another tenant soon.

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

08/23/2013Billing / Collection Issues

Industry Comparison| Chart

Real Estate, Real Estate Rental Service, Property Management

X

What is a BBB Business Review?

We offer free reviews on businesses that include background, licensing, consumer experience and other information such as governmental actions that is known to BBB. These reviews are provided for businesses that are BBB accredited and also for businesses that are not BBB accredited.

X

BBB Reporting Policy

As a matter of policy, BBB does not endorse any product, service or business.

BBB Business Reviews are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information in this BBB Business Review is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy.

BBB Business Reviews generally cover a three-year reporting period. BBB Business Reviews are subject to change at any time.