Gold Run Condo Property Management – When you need it, you need it!
I don’t manage a boat load of properties. Why? I’m selective. I need to know that each one is nearby and I can get there easily and give my tenants, landlord and the property itself, the time and attention it could require. In the beginning, I select the tenant. It’s time consuming to make sure a property is ready for renting (licensed, clean, maintained) place ads, conduct showings, take applications and run background checks. But, when done thoroughly, it results in the matching of a renter with a rental property that they can afford, meets their needs and that they will take of. And when done properly, I know it reduces the amount of work I will have to do for the rest of the lease term and also reduce the risk of that tenant leaving early or failing to pay rent on time.
I have some Gold Run condo property management in Boulder CO. This is the story of what happens when you do everything right and so does your tenant – but an Act of God reminds us all why we are in this great tenant-landlord-manager relationship!
It was 9:30 PM. Essentially my bed time, since I’m an early riser. My phone buzzed and I answered it. My tenant, a single grad student who kept her unit in tip-top shape, was letting me know that she had a water leak under the sink in the kitchen at her Gold Run condo in Boulder CO and she had just found grey water on the floor in the kitchen. She assumed it was the disposal (which had been fixed about 3 months prior) and had already turned off the water under the sink, but intermittently it was still leaking. I inquired as to whether, in her opinion, it required a plumber/handyman tonight or could wait until the morning and she said it could wait.
An hour later a text message informed me that when she ran her washing machine (trying to clean her rags and towels used for mopping), water leaked out from under the sink again and I advised her to not use the sink/disposal, washer or any other water that was non-essential tonight. I had already booked a plumber and he was scheduled to arrive first thing in the morning.
The next morning I spoke with the plumber on the phone. He confirmed the disposal was not the issue, but a main sewer line (not located inside the condo) was blocked and would need to be unblocked. At this time, the rest of the building was waking up and with every flush, shower or rinse of dishes, a surge of grey water was being forced out into the first floor Gold Run condo under my management. I called the Gold Run Condo Home Owners Association manager and informed him of the issue. Within the hour, he had a plumber assessing the problem, then the guy and equipment needed to remove the clog that was about 3 feet under this unit, arrived.
I give a lot of credit to this team. They not only quickly de-clogged the line so that water drained (not into my tenants home!) but they wet-vac’d her floor and helped her sanitize it. In a conversation with the HOA manager at this time, he informed me that the wood floors had absorbed water from the sewer line and he could confirm that enough had gone right under the wood that it was dripping into the underground garage beneath. Yes, the wood floor would need to be replaced. They would soon smell and the risk of bacteria and mold would be high.
That same afternoon, I met my wood floor guy at the unit. I introduced him to the tenant and to the issue. The tenant had done a spectacular job of containing the nasty water in the kitchen and in the process had pretty much destroyed her bath towels and used up all her rags. Unable to wash them or herself during this time, I was amazed at how gracefully she was handling the situation. It was at this visit that I learned the true nature of the leak too. GROSS! The water was thick with sewer filth. It had backed up into her kitchen sink, flowed out of her cupboard and coated her floor with nastiness that I could only say smelled like vomit. Why hadn’t my tenant had a breakdown yet? Possibly because she was a Naropa grad student who meditated, practiced gratitude and was every inch a lady! It couldn’t last though.
We made a plan. Arthur handed me his quote and I set about contacting the landlord. No… The HOA insurance didn’t cover this, despite it being because their pipe was the cause. The landlord would have to pay out of pocket or claim it on her own insurance. (Happy to give you the specifics of the insurance that the HOA carries in this regard if you contact me directly.)
Night #2… The unit, while looking clean again, stunk! My poor tenant was running out of grace (not surprisingly) and I received a text that read: Hi! My apartment smells intensely and I can’t seem to get rid of the smell no matter how much I clean… It still smells like vomit. Is there something we can do soon? Tomorrow? It is difficult for me to stay here and I worked really hard trying to clean it. Perhaps professional cleaners or a hotel?
Totally reasonable! At this point her apartment was becoming uninhabitable, which is a big deal for the tenant, but also for the manager and the landlord. I assured her that Arthur was coming back tomorrow to pull up the floor and invited her to come to my house (5 minutes away) to stay or even just to study during the day. She sucked it up and stayed there over night, thanking me for the the offer and not ruling it out for tomorrow.
Day 3: I met Arthur at the house at 10 AM. Ms Tenant was sleeping when we arrived, trying to catch up on the last few nights which had kept her up. I arrived with a gift bag… A set of new (high end) towels and an organic, loofah bath soap. I took the liberty of signing the card from myself and the landlord. Arthur got to work removing the wood floor in the kitchen and partly the dining room too, as the filth had traveled a little bit under the floor!
We woke the tenant of course. Pulling up the floor boards with a pry-bar is not quiet! But she was delighted with her new towels and took the opportunity to jump into the shower. The woman exudes gratitude but it was I who felt most grateful. In the palm of my hand I had the world’s most understanding tenant, a landlord who is sensible, responsive and easy to work with and a contractor who was there on the double and didn’t bat an eye at the condition of the job site. Did I mention his quote for removal of the floor and the linoleum under it, cleaning and spraying with Kilz, installing new oak hardwoods and sanding and finishing, was well under $600? Nope, not a typo. $560 for all this and he had to blend the new finish into the existing dining and living room areas so it was barely noticeable.
For the next 4 days, the floor lay open. We agreed that letting it dry for a few days was better than putting new boards on top of the damp subfloor, so the following Tuesday, Arthur returned to begin re-installing the oak floor. During this time, I checked in with the tenant daily. She reported a marked decrease in the smell the first day and despite my offers to put her up in my guest room, she elected to stay home. I knew she was expecting a guest just two days after Arthur started the installation, so our time line was fairly tight.
On Wednesday morning, Arthur applied the second and final coat to the floor and called me at 10 AM to announce it was done. After checking with the tenant and hearing how it not longer smelled and it looked great, I called the landlord and she wrote the check to Arthur. By Wednesday night the floor was good to walk on and by Thursday, the dining room furniture could be put back in the dining room… Just in time for the arrival of our tenants guest on Thursday night! Phew!
This is about the worst situation I have encountered as a property manager. Yeah, I have had water leaks that have cost 10x as much to fix, wasp nests to remove, September 2013 flood related issues and a plethora of little maintenance items, but grey water in the kitchen is messy, a health hazard and potentially damaging to a tenant-manager relationship if not handled appropriately (and quickly).
What I learned was…
- I am lucky to be part of a team that works well together in emergencies! When the *hit hit the fan, everyone responded with compassion and a willingness to go the extra mile. An icky emergency tends to bring out everyone’s true colors and it’s totally amazing to know the true colors of my team are gorgeous. I couldn’t be more grateful.
- Insurance policies don’t cover everything and certainly not what you think they should cover. My property management agreement requires the landlord to maintain good home owners insurance and I always recommend renters insurance for the tenant too.
- I know I can rely on the HOA manager (Mike Marty) at Gold Run to be highly responsive, professional and equipped to deal with time sensitive issues and now I keep his number more handy!