Sure, leasing apartments isn't actually the easiest job in the world—though it sometimes looks like it. Between the times when brokers get paid thousands for a couple days work, management companies have to deal with no-show clients, building maintenance, nuisance tenants, and strict laws when it comes to eviction. That said, there's really no excuse for shoddy service provided by these five firms, some of the worst we turned up on Yelp in a cross-country search. Just how bad was Los Angeles' My Realty Deal, the purported "real deal in real estate deals?" Pretty effing bad, judging from the Yelp reviews for the now defunct firm. The most recent review reads, simply, "Fuckin' scammers," and is followed by a helpful link to the L.A. Better Business Bureau, but it's the more long-winded reviewers who really spell it out here.
1) The Potty Mouths:
So it turns out that My Realty Deal was an awful deal, a scam agency run by unlicensed brokers that was aimed at getting people to fork over large sums of money for the privilege of viewing available apartments. One Yelper reported: My roommate just called these people when she saw a craigslist ad about an apt they were leasing. A man picked up and told her she must register and pay 180 dollars to see the listings. She had never heard of this before and said she would think about it, he immediately followed this by saying, "F**k You, you F**king B****!" in a devilish voice and hung up on her. 'Nuff said.
2) Tricksters...to a point:
Boston's Greenline Realty has recieved more than a few sour reviews on Yelp—it is currently rocking a 1.5-star average ranking—but one takes the cake for the quick resolution after a revelation. Emily Rae K. had found an apartment she "loved," but the Greenline leasing agent had quoted her a price $1000 less than the actual cost, a fact she learned after she had put down the deposit. Here's where it gets good, in Emily Rae K.'s words: Then she informed us that they would not be refunding our money and that we HAD to use them as our realtors if we wanted to see our money again. Blackmail? They were clearly bad at their jobs, I didnt want to keep using them. But we had to. We found another apartment, signed the lease, etc. They refused us a copy of our lease over and over. They stood us up when we had meetings to get it. Finally i informed them I worked at the Housing Court, and suddenly they were MORE than willing to give us lease copies. Shocking.
3) It was going great, until...:
New York's Platinum Properties fares better on Yelp than most on this list, but that's not saying much. The three-star rating includes some true horror stories, like the vacation renter who found their temporary digs through agent Jeffrey Carlson. According to that renter: The price wasn't great, but it was peak season, I was desperate, and had to place my trust in a stranger. There was also a refundable $500 deposit(sounds reasonable, right?) When it came time to depart, he told me he would leave my deposit refund with the doorman by the end of the day as he was "busy". This never happened. He said he later found some damage but would mail the remainder to me. This never happened. He made me go and ask all my neighbors if they had received it. As time wore on, it became harder and harder for me get in touch with him because he was always "on vacation", "at a seminar", or similar excuses, but he promised to give me my deposit back. It's been nearly three months since my vacation, and I have no confidence that he will return my deposit. If he does, I will certainly amend this review. That was nearly two years ago. Needless to say, the review has not been amended.
4) Rats with Wings:
At the lease signing, L.A. property manager Bernard Hoffman seemed "so nice and willing to please and make a deal," but as soon as the tenants started complaining about some legitimate issues, like a bees nest leading into the bedroom, "it was like pulling teeth." Things only got worse when the tenants discovered pigeons living in the crawl space above their apartment: he first mention of the pigeons was June 1st 2008 where all we got in response was, "Ew, rats with wings." Of course by Feb 12th when he approached us with the a lease extension, I reminded him that the pigeons were still up there and wanted them gone. Of course he had no recollection of rodents although had a whole different tone - in stead of "Rats with wings," it was a more helpful, "Oh of course! Rodents are not acceptable in any way/ shape/ form!!!" Beyond that, it took months to get some one over here. When some one did show up, it was not a professional, it was the maintenance guy who blocked some of the vents and after about a month, all the vents were sealed however the birds were still trapped inside. I opened hatch door to the crawl space so the birds can drop down in the hallway if they need to get out. The few following weeks I personally flushed a total of 5 birds out the door and another neighbor 2. After that I could still hear rustling up there but none more dropped down. I am convinced at least one died up there - which should be removed. D.I.Y. building maintenance at its finest.
5) A simple lock repair:
EGL Properties, another Los Angeles management company, gets abysmal reviews on Yelp, but one of the worst situations described in a review was a radical escalation of a simple broken lock. From the review: They had problems with locks and all the tenants complained. We'd all super lock out individual entry doors but the main entry into the building was a constant unlocked issue. One day I was home alone in the building when this homeless man wondered into the building, went downstairs into the laundry room and found a 2x4. The guy literally came upstairs and started screaming at my door. We all had speak-easy's (sp?) and the 2x4 was literally being shoved through the opening. It was completely terrifying. I obviously called the police and they came and took the man away. He was mentally ill with some memory problems and had mistaken me for an ex-wife long ago dead. It was so scary for everyone in the building so we all complained. You would have thought the request to repair the lock at that point would not have been unreasonable..... it was.