Complaint Category: Failure to provide promised assistance or support for products or services
Complaint: Tradewind's not appearing on day of my tenant's eviction (their charge: $814) meant 21 day delay to re-rent due to MN law tenant storage requirements.
My letter to ******* ******, Tradewind Properties, terminating our arrangement for him to manage my single family rental residence:
October 28, 2013
I still haven't heard back from you today, and since I need to communicate with you, I will have to do it with this letter.
Several things have happened with the eviction at my house at ******************* that have been made even worse under your care. For instance:
1) Even though it was critical that you be there last Monday, October 21st, when the evicted tenant was to vacate by 5PM, you never appeared until 7PM. While you later told me you were tending to a broken water main all day, you nevertheless took no time out to call to apprise me of the situation. Consequently, the tenant left a houseful of furniture and belongings. Since you were not present to obtain written permission from him for us to dispose of these belongings, it is now my responsibility to pay for the moving and storage of these items for three weeks.
2) You promised me that you would change the locks last Monday after I told you how many unauthorized people had keys to that house, and they there was a good chance they would try to enter after Monday. However, you did not. Tuesday, you kept my neighbors waiting over two hours for your handyman to show up. An unauthorized individual with an old key did try to enter soon thereafter. Had we not kept on you about these locks, he would have entered.
3) Despite telling me that you would be inspecting the property regularly, I have received three separate notices from the City of Minneapolis concerning garbage in the back of the house. I never received any such letter when I was managing properties on that block.
4) You said you would change the utilities into my name, but that did not happen.
In sum, this property needs more attention than I believe you have the resources to provide. I am disappointed, as I was looking a long tenure with you as property manager.
This is my notice that I am dissolving my relationship with Tradewind. You've been well-paid so far, both for the eviction and for your set-up fee. I will not ask for any refund of these fees, nor for compensation for the moving/storage costs that are a result of not tending to the eviction. I further agree not to post any complaint with the BBB, on-line, or on social media. In exchange for this, you agree to dissolve our contract immediately, and not to bill or charge for the locksets you had your handyman install. You also agree to remove the lockbox as soon as possible, and to destroy the credit card number I gave you.
******* did not respond until Nov 11, when he emailed me a $160 invoice for changing the locks. It wasn't clear that he had even read the termination letter. I asked simply if he had, and he wrote:
Yes, your responsible for the locks that were changed. They were replaced and new keys provided - this is not a free service.
Let me know how you wish to proceed, if you wish to discuss the issue's further we can however every item in your termination letter expect the lock change schedule was due to the adverse situation you had with your tenants. Besides the account set-up fee and fee to file and carry out your eviction for you we've not charged a dime for all the property visits and coordination hours up until this point. The lock change coordination was another example of our office scheduling and working for you without any compensation as the property you had was completely in disarray due to improper management over the past year.
Please let me know how you wish to pay the handyman's charge for changing your locks otherwise we'll refer it to collections.
Initial Business Response
In response to the complaint filed on 11/15/2013, Tradewind Properties (TWP) and the complainant entered into a Leasing & Management Agreement on 8/19/2013 with an expiration date of 10/31/14. (See Exhibit A). This agreement clearly outlines the duties of both the management company, TWP and the Owner, the complainant. To state further, the Leasing & Management Agreement, does not go into legal representation requirements of TWP upon an eviction as there is a disclaimer in the signed agreement, Area s Of Expertise, which states real estate agents are trained in the field of real estate but not in legal advice and should the complainant desire legal advice they should consult an appropriate professional.
Upon signing the Leasing & Management Agreement, TWP, for a disclosed fee took over management of tenants already in place under the previous management of the complainant on a lease dated 5/18/12. Previous issues with the tenant and complainant as well as unpaid rent were pre-existing upon TWP taking over the account.
Under the direction of the complainant (Power of Authority in Eviction Action - see Exhibit B) and terms of the signed Leasing & Management Agreement, TWP initiated an unlawful detainer against the tenants in Hennepin County Court as they were in arrears in rent for several months. On the day of the court hearing, the tenant/defendant was represented by an attorney whereas the complainant was not and per the Power of Attorney and Leasing & Management Agreement, TWP was appointed as the complainants representative/agent to appear on behalf of the Owner/Plaintiff/complainant.
Under the Eviction Action - Findings of Fact dated 9/30/13 (See Exhibit C), it is also noted that the complainant was not represented by counsel, rather he was represented by Agent. Following a recommended mediation session by the judge, all parties made an agreement for the tenants to vacate ON OR BEFORE 5:00pm on October 21st, 2013. As stated, the tenants had legal possession of the home until October 21st unless they made claim to TWP or to their attorney who would then make claim to TWP that they vacated early but they are under no legal obligation to do so.
During the course of time from 9/31/2013 and on, TWP continued to manage the property by monitoring the home and cooperating with the city of Minneapolis police department for numerous police calls. Upon multiple conversations with the city of Minneapolis police department, TWP and the city tried to find a legal right or way to have the tenants removed earlier than the October 21st deadline however no legal remedy was available despite claims from neighbors that the tenant had vacated as the house was occupied and numerous individuals were seen entering and leaving. The complainant was reminded on several occasions that there was a legal process that must be followed and despite regularly monitoring the home and working very closely with the policy department does not prevent an individual that has not paid rent in months, facing a move out date by eviction to automatically stop their outrageous behavior.
On October 21st, a representative from Tradewind Properties after the 5pm hour went to the home with flashlight in hand to determine if the tenants had vacated per the Findings of Fact on the Eviction Action. It was noted, that several personal property items remained throughout the home and the locks were ordered to be changed out and this was done on 10/22/13 by a third party vendor (See Exhibit D). This was done per the complainant's request, in addition this is stated very clearly in the signed Leasing & Management Agreement that all locksets will be changed upon a tenant turnover at the financial responsibility of the Owner.
Unfortunately the complainant was disgruntled with the fact that the evicted tenants had left personal property and has falsely determined that this was a result and somehow the responsibility of TWP. This is simply not the case. Those in the industry and most people in general understand this is a likely outcome given the highly volatile situation of an eviction.
The complainant states TWP was not present to obtain written permission to dispose of the tenant's personal belongings and this is a true statement however TWP and the complainant never made an agreement that TWP would be signing any legal documents regarding his Eviction case for the issue of personal property. Furthermore, the tenant could have moved out on 10/1 or 10/15 or 10/21 - the point being the tenants were unresponsive however it was noted, as previously stated, that there were individuals entering and leaving the home.
On 10/28/13 TWP received a written notice of cancellation with threats of writing a complaint to the BBB as well as on social media sites if we did not immediately cancel the agreement, in addition the complainant then refused to pay his invoice for having the locks changed which was done at his request and also agreed to in writing by the Leasing & Management Agreement. Despite the Leasing & Management Agreement having a notice period for cancellation, TWP agreed to cancel the agreement immediately however the cost of the lock change remains the complainants responsibility. The complainant has even acknowledged this however has blatantly stated he will not pay. Unfortunately the threat of filing a complaint does not keep TWP from doing what is right in the situation as we are looking to ensure our third party vendor gets paid for the job/work completed. It is unfortunate that under people's own frustration they disregard agreements and financial responsibilities and again, the threats of slandering our name still does not prevent us from making sure the situation is handled in a professional and ethical manner.
The complainant is unfortunately attempting to charge TWP for lost rent due to storage fees associated with his tenant and eviction. Under MN Statute 504B.271, the owner is responsible for holding abandoned property for 28 days (not 21 days) either at the home or at a storage facility, etc. The law provided the complainant the ability to physical remove and store the belongings at an outside location to prepare the turnover work for make ready repairs and maintenance necessary to re-market the home however the complainant made a decision to keep the items in the home. By signing the Leasing & Management Agreement TWP did not take responsibility for a tenants personal belongings or lost rent due to an eviction situation that was initiated by the complainant.
The facts are as follows, TWP followed the terms of the agreement and received compensation only as outlined in the agreement for taking over a new account and filing an eviction on behalf of the owner with association court costs. TWP did not receive any compensation for management as there was no rent received and TWP without compensation managed the eviction process and oversaw the performance of a lock/handle change per the owner and agreement. TWP is not responsible for lost rent due to the evicted tenant, who clearly had issues previously with the owner which is why TWP was hired as the complainant's management company.
The complainant reached out to TWP on 11/18/13 after filing this complaint still refusing to pay the invoice for work ordered and in response, TWP will pay the invoice to ensure our third party vendors are not taken advantage of and will pursue the reimbursement cost with the complainant.
TWP wishes the complainant the best of luck in re-renting his property and hopes he can secure a better fit allowing him to avoid issues with poorly managed tenants in the future. With that said, there remains a balance that remains unpaid and personal communication between the complainant and TWP are in place to rectify the delinquent account.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Response to statements made by the proprietor of Tradewind Properties in his most recent response:
TWP states: "TWP without compensation managed the eviction process." If this was true, and TWP was not compensated for managing the eviction process, I would not have grounds and I would not have filed this complaint. But TWP was paid $814 to manage the eviction process, and so bears responsibility for nonperformance. TWP stated that from this $814, court costs comprised $350, and process serving fees totaled $150. I can produce the canceled check for that amount, as well as another check for the $249 property management setup fee.
TWP states: "The complainant was reminded on several occasions that there was a legal process that must be followed." There was never any question but that we needed to follow the legal process.
TWP states: "On 10/28/13 TWP received a written notice of cancellation with threats of writing a complaint to the BBB as well as on social media sites if we did not immediately cancel the agreement." I heard nothing from TWP until November 11th. TWP did not mention the termination letter, nor did TWP acknowledge my termination terms. Given the numerous problems and expenses associated with TWP's nonperformance, I believed my terms were very generous. While TWP apparently does not agree, it is a stretch to characterize them as threats. The termination letter in question is included in the initial complaint, and can be reviewed to assess this claim.
TWP states: "...the threats of slandering our name still does not prevent us from making sure the situation is handled in a professional and ethical manner." Slander is defined as making false statements damaging to a person's reputation. I have said nothing nor indicated I would say anything that fits this definition.
TWP states: "The complainant states TWP was not present to obtain written permission to dispose of the tenant's personal belongings and this is a true statement however TWP and the complainant never made an agreement that TWP would be signing any legal documents regarding his Eviction case for the issue of personal property." TWP believed that the tenant was packing up and would likely be gone by the date set by the housing court. I passed on to TWP reports from neighbors that nothing was being cleared out. For that reason, we had discussions about how important it was that TWP be there, and he agreed. Simply by being there, he would have seen the tenant vacate with only a few boxes before 5PM on his last day, and leave the house full of furniture and belongings. Since MN law requires these possessions be stored, all he had to do was obtain a signed statement from the tenant authorizing their disposal. Obtaining this statement is clearly something an agent would have known to acquire. It is not clear from his response now or in his previous emails to me why he believes he is not responsible, since he was paid to handle the eviction, and, by accepting a separate $249 set-up fee, was paid to actively manage the property.
TWP states: "Unfortunately the complainant was disgruntled with the fact that the evicted tenants had left personal property and has falsely determined that this was a result and somehow the responsibility of TWP. This is simply not the case. Those in the industry and most people in general understand this is a likely outcome given the highly volatile situation of an eviction." If TWP understood this was a likely outcome (which is not the outcome he told me he expected), then this underscores my position that he should have been at the property to supervise the tenant's departure.
TWP states: "The complainant reached out to TWP on 11/18/13 after filing this complaint..." I did not reach out to TWP after filing the complaint, but responded to an email he sent after the complaint was filed. It contained partial text from this complaint.
TWP states: "The law provided the complainant the ability to physical remove and store the belongings at an outside location to prepare the turnover work for make ready repairs and maintenance necessary to re-market the home however the complainant made a decision to keep the items in the home." If TWP would like to compensate on the basis of moving and storing tenant's belongings, rather than on monthly rent, I am open to this discussion.
TWP states: "TWP ... hopes he can secure a better fit allowing him to avoid issues with poorly managed tenants in the future." It is true that the tenants were poorly managed. Both prior to and throughout the eviction process, TWP was the property manager. Because of this mismanagement and consistent failure to follow-through on the promises detailed in my termination letter, it was necessary to dissolve the relationship with TWP.
TWP concludes: "With that said, there remains a balance that remains unpaid and personal communication between the complainant and TWP are in place to rectify the delinquent account." This last sentence is appropriate, not because it is true (it should be clear to all parties that no meaningful communication between us is happening), but because I am hopeful the BBB can assist in reaching a fair and reasonable resolution.
Final Business Response
We appreciate the time taken from the complainant to write a response to the response we submitted however no new information has been provided. We firmly stand by our response and actions. To hold a property management company responsible for lost rent or storage fees is unreasonable given the scope of the management agreement and services performed. There was email correspondence between the complainant and Tradewind Properties after the complain was filed which is what we were referring to in attempting to rectify the complainants delinquent account with Tradewind Properties.
Again, there was never an agreement or a "promise" to sit and wait at the complainants investment property to catch the residents vacating to have a document signed regarding their personal belongings. This is the reason eviction situations are volatile and require court orders and proper management from the onset of tenancy. Again, we had a representative at the home on the day of eviction order and met his neighbors at the home to walk-through it and they can verify they were not sure who was living there as there were multiple people coming and going at all hours of the day and night. This is also represented in police reports. There was not an agreement to meet the complainants tenants at a specific time as they were only ordered to have vacated BY a certain date and time.
We would further ask that the complainant stop making false statements regarding the situation. We are open to alternative remedies in dealing with the facts only. It appears that reasonable efforts have been made and Tradewind Properties will not be providing loss rent or storage payment to the complainant. The complainant chose to cancel the management agreement however no wrong doing, legal or ethical, or breach of contract existed.
Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.