Rental Management Services does shady business; RMS = BS.
Rental Management Services displays complete lack of care for habitable housing or human life. Our experience with RMS was not only outrageous and unbelievable, but potentially hazardous to our health.
If you're in the market to rent an apartment, and the price seems right, first double-check who's managing.
During the months of April and May, my girlfriend and I began renting from Rental Management Services (RMS) at 3200 SW Dolph Ct., Just Two blocks north of SW Barbur Blvd. The price was right for rent: $425 for a 750 sf 1 br, 1 ba; and only $595 for a 1100 sf 2 br, 1.5 ba. That's really hard to beat, especially for the location!
Upon planning to move in with my girlfiend and her 8-month-old daughter, we gained interest in a 2 bedroom unit that became available just down the hall from her existing 1 bedroom unit that she had currently rented for over 1 month. RMS set up an appointment to view the unit, only they had showed me a unit adjacent to the one that was available (an exact mirror oppposite), claiming that they had "forgot" the key to the actual unit and had promised the exact condition as the unit I had inspected, with the addition of "new" hardwood floors. Lession 1: ALWAYS get a tour of the ACTUAL appartment. It really sucks to be so trustworthy sometimes.....
We agreed to take the apartment, primarily because the condition offered to us was to move into the new unit (and out of the old one) within one day's window, after we were to sign a new lease, and thus avoid being charged double-rent.
This was another suspicious clue.
Our leasing agent Leslie arranged for the (6-month) lease to be signed, only with vital information missing from the original lease: The cats were not listed at all, information that was completely missed by RMS and overlooked by my girlfriend. Suspiscion #3. There was no communication relayed from front-desk to leasing agent regarding this information on original application intake. And so a nice combined pet deposit of $1000 for 2 cats was immediately hit on us at the time of our combined application into the 2 BR unit. Nice of them to at least break it down into monthly payments of $200/mo!
And so the real problem begins: Our lease is approved as of Monday, May 1st, the only day we have to make the move.
Upon immediate entry, we begin to notice a sharp, pungent smell, like formaldahyde meets mildew! Very gross, and as we track the smell even stronger into the kitchen, around the sink area, the smell is so strong it is nearly unbearable. "This is definitely mildew", we thought. Our next suspiscion took place as we glanced around the unit to discover very obvious dirt, dust, and grime spots. After opening the oven and taking one good look, it was VERY clear that the unit had not been thoroughly cleaned at all. We began taking pictures. RMS charges, upon any new lease, a non-refundable "move-in" cleaning fee of $160, of which they say that 75 % of goes directly to pay the fee of a "professional cleaning company". We later found out that the "professional cleaning company" they use is nothing more than the property owner's son and daughter-in-law, a friendly couple in their 50's that comes over to basically do simple spot checks and vacuuming. After my girlfriend made a second complaint to RMS on this subject (the first was originally made for the 1 br unit that had not been cleaned either, and a $160 charge was made then), RMS offered to either have the "company" return for cleaning, or to credit us $40 of the fee. We were so frustrated that we took the $40 credit. At this point we just wanted our stuff in, because remember, we only had this one-day window to move in to avoid another month's worth of rent being charged for the first 1 bedroom unit. As for the mildew situation, we called RMS to notify them of the problem, and they responded with "written work orders must be made in person at our office during office hours." Mistake #2. Go for rental with on-site managment! Their office was across the river, over 8 miles away. We spent a lot of driving time trying to remedy problems with them!
Now the hardest part: after we were fully moved in, our neighbors down the hall told us of recent flooding from the kitchen sink that took place several weeks prior to our moving in. Worse than that, when I had mentioned the mildew stench and the obvious damage to the hardwood floors in our new unit to the maintenance-man in passing (the owner's son, the "professional cleaner"), he indeed confirmed that there was a water flooding from the kitchen sink, and that it had flooded through the floor, down through the ceiling of the basement "shop" of his.
NONE of this was EVER disclosed to us by RMS at the time we signed ourt lease, and worse, my girlfriend had explained to the leasing agent that her daughter was born prematurely, and was easily suseptable to respiratory problems as a result. OUTRAGEOUS! Another verbal complaint was made, yet we decided to try and take action to help remedy the situation in the meantime by spraying the visually moldy areas with a household bleach cleaner and hit the area with fans to help ventilate / circulate airflow. After eight days of waiting for the scheduled "maintenance technician" to arrive and come to a conclusion, we were not even contacted by RMS with an analysis/resolution of the problem until two days after the their inspection was made. When we contacted RMS maintenance to get an answer, they said that they "could not disclose any information", and that we should wait to be contacted with the answer by an RMS agent. When we called our RMS agent, Leslie, she said she "had no idea what was going on". Clearly this company had horrible communication! When we were finally contacted by a different RMS agent, the resolution of the the problem was to: "Treat the infected areas with a bleach solution".
After arguing with RMS about the fact that this wouldn't really fix any of the problem, though he didn't admit that there was damage, the agent had offered us some "hypothetical solutions":
Move us out into a (1 bedroom) unit while repairs would be made, offer us a different (1 bedroom)unit, or allow us to terminate our lease (without any refund).
Another bad sign was the response to the work order that our hot water pressure was not satisfactory. RMS response: "Our technitian found the water pressure levels to be normal. If this was a plumbing issue that needed to be addressed for the entire property's plumbing, we would need to discuss this with the owner to determine whether or not it would be pheasable." In other words, sorry you don't like your lack of hot water pressure, we think it's normal.....
After mulling it over we came to the strong decision that we needed to get out of this lease immediately, as this seemed to be a trap that would continue to plague us over time, especially if we were to have future maintanence issues be simply shrugged off or under-emphasized to minimalize the owner's expenses. It was clear that we were fooled into signing a lease for an uninhabitable unit with a quiet bait-and-switch scheme by RMS. They already KNEW what was wrong with the unit, but tried to play stupid to cover their asses.
After some vital legal advice from my father, we had written a demand to RMS to terminate our lease and to refund ALL of our money, or we would take legal action. They first responded (3 business days later) by saying that the owner would not allow certain fees to be refunded, haggled with us for several days on conditions of leaving, and even insultingly remarked at "what a sweet deal we were getting to live there for a month, rent-free". How could a company be so callous and ballsy to pull this kind of crap, when they could potentially lose their license AND face punitive damages in court? They KNEW they would lose in court, yet chose to be cocky assholes in the manner of handling our serious requests. Eventually they agreed to our refunding all of the requests, EXCEPT for allowing us ample time to move out (to find another apartment): they gave us 10 days to evacuate by the time the first refund was issued (the check wasn't even for the full amount agreed upon; their excuse: "This is all the money we have to withdraw from our cash account.")
I would be thoroughly embarrassed working for a company like this, but there are definitely some "renegade" landlords and management that simply do not care. There was not much concern in their tone at all while addressing our needs. This was a nightmare from the beginning, and is just one example of a company which puts it's customer's needs and interests last. RMS clearly relies on ignorance of it's tennants for easy profits, and reflects poor customer service of it's property owners. If you are a potential renter, please do yourself a favor and avoid this company. The bottom dollar reflected in the rental price represents the quality of service you will receive!
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