Author Topic: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?  (Read 832 times)

Villanelle

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Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« on: December 29, 2020, 02:11:01 PM »
Help me make sense of this, please, and figure out if there is anything I can do.

We are rental shopping.  I posted on a local military spouse group what we were looking for in case anyone had something coming up.  Someone responded.  She is a tenant, moving out because she bought a place. (My impression is that maybe she has broken a lease and needs to find a replacement tenant to get her off the hook, but I could be wrong about that.)  We messaged back and forth a few times and it seems like a great prospect, so when she offered to show it to us this past Saturday, we jumped.

The house is great.  She told us what they paid and said she wasn't sure if they plan to raise the rent, but it's well under budget so even if they increase, it should be fine. She gave me the info for the PM. (Owner lives in Australia, though as it turns out he works for the same organization that DH will be starting at.)  Tenants aren't entirely sure when they will be out (putting in a new kitchen in the place they bought), but seemed confident
it would be sometime between April 1 and April 15, all of which work for us.

I messaged the PM saying we were extremely interested.  I asked what the rent will be, asked if the pet policy will be the same as what the current tenant told me, and asked about the application process. 

She responded asking me to email her my contact info (phone and email address), which I did.  She responded saying, "Thank you for your information.  I will keep your information close by for when we list the house. I think we will be listing in February (beginning/Middle).  I can then send you the applications at that time. "

We definitely aren't willing to wait 5-7 week, for a place that would then be openly listed so we might not even get it.  I can't understand why she and the owners wouldn't jump at an interested tenant.  They'd have no stress of even a small vacancy, and no expense and work of creating a listing.  And we don't have a tenant's agent, which is a common thing here.  Most places offer incentives to tenant agents, so it costs them between a month and a month and a half's rent, which they would save.  There are other reasons we are a very attractive tenant, too.  (Only 2 people in a house that is likely very family-attractive, so less wear and tear, for example.)

I messaged the PM back today and told her we couldn't wait until Feb., that we are ready to sign now, and then asked if there was any way to make that possible. 

Any thoughts on this?  Based on the timeline, I'm not even sure she presented our info to her buyer.  I could ask the current tenant if she felt comfortable providing their info.  (Current tenant and DH are also in the same profession and have several friends in common, which we learned during the tour as they chatted, so they would likely be more comfortable with us than with a totally random stranger.) We could reach out and express our interest, name drop a bit so he knows what job DH is going to at his organization and ask around if he'd like, and maybe gently plead our case.  Also, if the current tenant is responsible for finding a replacement because they are breaking the lease, then this lady blowing me off is kind of unfair to them, so it might be worth mentioning.

Or do I need to suck it up and move on? 

marty998

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2020, 02:43:15 PM »
Owner might be renovating the place over the holiday period? 6 weeks to put in new floors, kitchen, bathroom, painting etc?

Can't exactly move in new tenants when all that is happening.

Villanelle

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2020, 02:59:49 PM »
Owner might be renovating the place over the holiday period? 6 weeks to put in new floors, kitchen, bathroom, painting etc?

Can't exactly move in new tenants when all that is happening.

Wouldn't she have said that though? I told her in the initial contact that our timing is flexible.  It still has tenants in it, so there's no renovations happening now (if that's what you mean by holiday period).  They leave sometime in April, and she said it's listing in February.

The PM completely blew me off.  Well, perhaps not completely, but nearly so.  If she's said, "the owner plans to renovate after the current tenant leaves so earliers availability would be May 15," I'd have understood.  But she took a very interested party and said, "wait 6 weeks until we list".

mlipps

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2020, 03:03:49 PM »
It sounds like they want to vet your candidacy as a tenant, and it's probably easier to deny you without you being able to claim discrimination if they can put you up against other applicants.

Or, more maliciously, they don't want to rent to you at all, perhaps due to the protections given to military members in housing contracts.

Either way, it IS really early to be looking for a place in April so it's not super surprising to me.

marty998

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2020, 03:09:04 PM »
Owner might be renovating the place over the holiday period? 6 weeks to put in new floors, kitchen, bathroom, painting etc?

Can't exactly move in new tenants when all that is happening.

Wouldn't she have said that though? I told her in the initial contact that our timing is flexible.  It still has tenants in it, so there's no renovations happening now (if that's what you mean by holiday period).  They leave sometime in April, and she said it's listing in February.

The PM completely blew me off.  Well, perhaps not completely, but nearly so.  If she's said, "the owner plans to renovate after the current tenant leaves so earliers availability would be May 15," I'd have understood.  But she took a very interested party and said, "wait 6 weeks until we list".

Sorry, you're in the wrong hemisphere for my response I see :)

I also misread that April would be the likely move in date.

It's summer school holidays in Australia. Most of the country shuts down for January. And Property Managers see enough flakey decision making that signing up a tenant in December for a possible April move is far too early.

Circumstances always change. Listing in February makes sense in that respect.

« Last Edit: December 29, 2020, 03:13:25 PM by marty998 »

Villanelle

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2020, 03:14:11 PM »
It sounds like they want to vet your candidacy as a tenant, and it's probably easier to deny you without you being able to claim discrimination if they can put you up against other applicants.

Or, more maliciously, they don't want to rent to you at all, perhaps due to the protections given to military members in housing contracts.

Either way, it IS really early to be looking for a place in April so it's not super surprising to me.

Interesting.  Most landlords I know are absolutely thrilled to rent to military tenants because of the job stability. 

But the arguments in your post do at least make some sense to me.  I'm hoping that my very direct response will get a different answer from her, and if it doesn't, I will be notifying the current tenant.  Not in an aggressive way, but if they are on the hook for finding a tenant or paying until it's done and then they PM is turning people away, I think they deserve to know.  They were kind enough to open their home on Saturday the day after Christmas and take half an hour to give us a tour, which they certainly didn't need to do.  So I will jsut write back thanking them again for them time and letting them know that unfortunately, the PM says she's not taking applications until it's formally listed in Feb, and since we want to have hopefully secured something before then, it likely won't work.

sammybiker

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2020, 03:57:46 PM »
@Villanelle

I doubt the PM has even talked to the owner about you.  You're still just a number.

Can you get the current tenants to provide you with the owner's contact info, if they have it?  I know you're sidestepping the process a bit but if you really want the house, I'd do it.

I'm an owner and sometimes have people reach out on FB about a property.  If I get their name over to the PM and say I want this person, it works.  Even as an owner, I feel that there is a big disconnect between my conversations with the PM and the discussions prospective tenants have with the the PM.  This is a filter and has its positives (weeding out tire kickers) but sometimes the owner needs to intervene.

You've already seen the house, you're ready to move and you're a stable tenant.  This equals almost 0 vacancy for the owner.  Slam dunk - circumvent and get in touch, if you can.

Villanelle

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2020, 04:45:51 PM »
@Villanelle

I doubt the PM has even talked to the owner about you.  You're still just a number.

Can you get the current tenants to provide you with the owner's contact info, if they have it?  I know you're sidestepping the process a bit but if you really want the house, I'd do it.

I'm an owner and sometimes have people reach out on FB about a property.  If I get their name over to the PM and say I want this person, it works.  Even as an owner, I feel that there is a big disconnect between my conversations with the PM and the discussions prospective tenants have with the the PM.  This is a filter and has its positives (weeding out tire kickers) but sometimes the owner needs to intervene.

You've already seen the house, you're ready to move and you're a stable tenant.  This equals almost 0 vacancy for the owner.  Slam dunk - circumvent and get in touch, if you can.

This is kind of my thinking. We are even willing to be flexible on the move in date so that there is no vacancy (other than the time they need to turn the place).  If she doesn't get back to me after my "can I sign a lease now" email, I will see if I can get the info from the current tenant.  I'd be super annoyed as a landlord if my PM didn't at least present a possible tenant to me.  And maybe she did, though she got back to me fairly quickly with the "talk to you in February"  message.  If I find out who the owner is and they think it's inappropriate that we reached out, well, I'm not really any worse off. 

icebox92

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2020, 05:20:00 PM »
I would absolutely reach out to the owner directly.  @sammybiker already listed some reasons, and I'll add another short story:

We rent in a VHCOL area (Hawai'i).  We found a fantastic place initially in our search and signed the lease.  The PM was fine but always kind of snarky or something.  Regardless, after a year we wanted to extend our lease, but she told us the owners would be re-occupying thus no lease extension.  We found out (not through the PM) that they simply wanted to utilize the house for a week for their sons wedding reception.  Albeit a little out of the ordinary, we would be fine with that (we would go on vacation during this time) if we could extend the lease.  We pleaded our case but got no where with the PM.  We really did not want to move, and most likely could not have found a place that fits all our unusual needs as a combined family.  We ended up going behind the PM and reaching out to the owners.  Turns out not only would they allow the arrangement but they would absolutely love it.  Also the PM had never ran this past the owners...  they were unaware that we had offered this up to her. 

Long story short, they ended up firing the PM because she didn't want to let them go through with the arrangement, we signed a 3 year lease extension with no rent increase (already below market value), and we have become friends with the owners.  We go to dinner with them whenever they are in town, and they are tickled pink to have good tenants who take care of the house.  Getting rid of the PM middle man also puts $450 more in their pockets every month.  Win win for everyone. 

Paul der Krake

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2020, 06:29:50 PM »
Property managers' incentives are always to do as little work as possible. A lot of them are truly terrible.

Villanelle

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2020, 08:07:57 PM »
Property managers' incentives are always to do as little work as possible. A lot of them are truly terrible.

I agree.  They are terrible.  But that's why I would think she would jump on this.  It saves her the trouble of having to do a listing, set up showing, etc. 

I've now heard back and while her email was unclear (she's a terrible communicator), I *think* we are good to proceed, although she still hasn't told me the rent or confirmed the pet policy, both of which I asked her about in my first contact. 

She said, "no, not a problem at all", to my email.  I think she was referring to me asking if we could proceed now.  Now she is talking to the owners, so I'm crossing my fingers!

elaine amj

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2020, 05:07:07 PM »
Hoping it all works out for you! We tried hiring a PM for the first time a few years back. But ended up finding the tenant on our own. After that, the tenant kept telling me that the service ppl the PM was sending were overcharging us. So finally she offered to self-mange, finding the service ppl herself. It's worked out great for the last couple of years and saved us a bundle.

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Villanelle

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2020, 10:08:18 AM »
I am beginning to think she's just not very...um... good at connecting dots.  She was handed a tenant on a sliver platter and had to be told to serve herself.

When I responded that 6 weeks from now doesn't really work and while we love the place we'd have to keep looking but *is there any way we could sign a lease in the next week or so, assuming all the terms are acceptable*, she responded.  "Normal timeline for listing a property in this area is 4-6 weeks out.  But we should be able to do that."

Um, what does the normal time period for listing have to do with the price of real estate in America? You have a home you need to rent.  I want to rent it, and if I do, I save you time and money.   We've gone back and forth a few times, and I really think she's just not good at thinking even a tiny bit outside the box.  She knows how to do exactly what she always does and if there's any deviation, there's a System Error.   I asked about the pet policy.  We don't have a dog, but would like to keep open the possibility of having one.  Current tenants have a dog and told me the pet policy for them, which would work more than well for us if it stays the same.  But I wanted to make sure it would be the same policy.  She responded that the lease would say pets not allowed since we don't have one, but could be amended it we got one.  That doesn't really work because if/when I want to get a dog, I have a lease that says "pets not allowed" and they could tell me to fuck right off if I request a change.  She seemed to have trouble grasping that nuance.  I need it to say "pets allowed with notification; if pet is obtained it would be an additional $500 deposit [or whatever the terms would be] so that I've locked in my right to get a dog at some point, and under what terms, and they have secured their right to know about it if/when I do, and get whatever their terms specify.

But, we are making progress and the fact that we are discussing these details strongly indicates this is going to happen, although I still haven't heard the rent amount.  She indicated they would be raising the rent because it hasn't been raised in 5 years and is below market. (And this is accurate; it's less than anything comparable, and thanks to Zillow and other sites I knew what they rented it for in 2016 and it was the same the current tenants are paying.)  As long as they keep it reasonable and in line with other properties, which could be a jump of several hundred dollars, we will be fine.

So while the deal isn't done, I'm optimistic!

uniwelder

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2020, 10:35:14 AM »
I asked about the pet policy.  We don't have a dog, but would like to keep open the possibility of having one.  Current tenants have a dog and told me the pet policy for them, which would work more than well for us if it stays the same.  But I wanted to make sure it would be the same policy.  She responded that the lease would say pets not allowed since we don't have one, but could be amended it we got one.  That doesn't really work because if/when I want to get a dog, I have a lease that says "pets not allowed" and they could tell me to fuck right off if I request a change.  She seemed to have trouble grasping that nuance.  I need it to say "pets allowed with notification; if pet is obtained it would be an additional $500 deposit [or whatever the terms would be] so that I've locked in my right to get a dog at some point, and under what terms, and they have secured their right to know about it if/when I do, and get whatever their terms specify.

For our tenants, we customize the lease for their particular situation.  If they already have pets, we do a walk through of the property with their pets before signing the lease, so we get an idea of their behavior.  If they think they might want additional pets, we write in the lease that it is at the landlord's discretion.  Our most recent tenants came with two cats and told us they might want to get a dog.  We wrote in the lease that a max of three animals would be allowed, but any animals beyond those already owned would need landlord approval.  They happen to be very messy and decided they want to get a 9 month old great pyrenees--- we said no.

That said, the lease should at least specify the additional deposit, fees, etc, so if pets are ok, its already agreed what the rules are.

Villanelle

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2020, 10:51:07 AM »
I asked about the pet policy.  We don't have a dog, but would like to keep open the possibility of having one.  Current tenants have a dog and told me the pet policy for them, which would work more than well for us if it stays the same.  But I wanted to make sure it would be the same policy.  She responded that the lease would say pets not allowed since we don't have one, but could be amended it we got one.  That doesn't really work because if/when I want to get a dog, I have a lease that says "pets not allowed" and they could tell me to fuck right off if I request a change.  She seemed to have trouble grasping that nuance.  I need it to say "pets allowed with notification; if pet is obtained it would be an additional $500 deposit [or whatever the terms would be] so that I've locked in my right to get a dog at some point, and under what terms, and they have secured their right to know about it if/when I do, and get whatever their terms specify.

For our tenants, we customize the lease for their particular situation.  If they already have pets, we do a walk through of the property with their pets before signing the lease, so we get an idea of their behavior.  If they think they might want additional pets, we write in the lease that it is at the landlord's discretion.  Our most recent tenants came with two cats and told us they might want to get a dog.  We wrote in the lease that a max of three animals would be allowed, but any animals beyond those already owned would need landlord approval.  They happen to be very messy and decided they want to get a 9 month old great pyrenees--- we said no.

That said, the lease should at least specify the additional deposit, fees, etc, so if pets are ok, its already agreed what the rules are.

If that's their policy, it would be fine.  If they said "no pets at all", that would be fine, too.  (Well, fine in the sense that I'd understand.  It would make us reconsider and I'm not sure what we'd finally decide.)  My issue was that she said the lease would read "no pets" when in fact we would be allowed to have a pet as long as we paid a deposit.  I can't have her telling me something would be allowed, then having a lease that specifically calls out that it isn't.  Taking her word, especially when she has given me reason to think she is not especially on top of things and may not even be discussing all of this with the owners, and then signing something that says otherwise doesn't work.  I'm trying not to be difficult because I don't want to scare her/the owner off by nitpicking, but these seem like things she should know.  Don't tell me I can have a pet and then tell me that I will need to sign a document that says "no pets", while asking me to take her word that they would amend the contract if needed.

This really does seem like basic PM 101. 

uniwelder

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2020, 11:06:06 AM »
I asked about the pet policy.  We don't have a dog, but would like to keep open the possibility of having one.  Current tenants have a dog and told me the pet policy for them, which would work more than well for us if it stays the same.  But I wanted to make sure it would be the same policy.  She responded that the lease would say pets not allowed since we don't have one, but could be amended it we got one.  That doesn't really work because if/when I want to get a dog, I have a lease that says "pets not allowed" and they could tell me to fuck right off if I request a change.  She seemed to have trouble grasping that nuance.  I need it to say "pets allowed with notification; if pet is obtained it would be an additional $500 deposit [or whatever the terms would be] so that I've locked in my right to get a dog at some point, and under what terms, and they have secured their right to know about it if/when I do, and get whatever their terms specify.


For our tenants, we customize the lease for their particular situation.  If they already have pets, we do a walk through of the property with their pets before signing the lease, so we get an idea of their behavior.  If they think they might want additional pets, we write in the lease that it is at the landlord's discretion.  Our most recent tenants came with two cats and told us they might want to get a dog.  We wrote in the lease that a max of three animals would be allowed, but any animals beyond those already owned would need landlord approval.  They happen to be very messy and decided they want to get a 9 month old great pyrenees--- we said no.

That said, the lease should at least specify the additional deposit, fees, etc, so if pets are ok, its already agreed what the rules are.

If that's their policy, it would be fine.  If they said "no pets at all", that would be fine, too.  (Well, fine in the sense that I'd understand.  It would make us reconsider and I'm not sure what we'd finally decide.)  My issue was that she said the lease would read "no pets" when in fact we would be allowed to have a pet as long as we paid a deposit.  I can't have her telling me something would be allowed, then having a lease that specifically calls out that it isn't.  Taking her word, especially when she has given me reason to think she is not especially on top of things and may not even be discussing all of this with the owners, and then signing something that says otherwise doesn't work.  I'm trying not to be difficult because I don't want to scare her/the owner off by nitpicking, but these seem like things she should know.  Don't tell me I can have a pet and then tell me that I will need to sign a document that says "no pets", while asking me to take her word that they would amend the contract if needed.

This really does seem like basic PM 101. 

I agree with your general frustration with PM, but also understand why they wouldn't want to give a written ok for a dog before getting to know your behavior in the house.  In your first statement you said you wanted the lease to say "pets allowed with notification", so my point was perhaps they'll budge a little and write up something that says "with landlord approval for any animal at the premises, pets would require additional $___ (non)refundable deposit plus $___ /month fee".  Could try asking for that wording.

Villanelle

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2020, 03:23:52 PM »
I asked about the pet policy.  We don't have a dog, but would like to keep open the possibility of having one.  Current tenants have a dog and told me the pet policy for them, which would work more than well for us if it stays the same.  But I wanted to make sure it would be the same policy.  She responded that the lease would say pets not allowed since we don't have one, but could be amended it we got one.  That doesn't really work because if/when I want to get a dog, I have a lease that says "pets not allowed" and they could tell me to fuck right off if I request a change.  She seemed to have trouble grasping that nuance.  I need it to say "pets allowed with notification; if pet is obtained it would be an additional $500 deposit [or whatever the terms would be] so that I've locked in my right to get a dog at some point, and under what terms, and they have secured their right to know about it if/when I do, and get whatever their terms specify.


For our tenants, we customize the lease for their particular situation.  If they already have pets, we do a walk through of the property with their pets before signing the lease, so we get an idea of their behavior.  If they think they might want additional pets, we write in the lease that it is at the landlord's discretion.  Our most recent tenants came with two cats and told us they might want to get a dog.  We wrote in the lease that a max of three animals would be allowed, but any animals beyond those already owned would need landlord approval.  They happen to be very messy and decided they want to get a 9 month old great pyrenees--- we said no.

That said, the lease should at least specify the additional deposit, fees, etc, so if pets are ok, its already agreed what the rules are.

If that's their policy, it would be fine.  If they said "no pets at all", that would be fine, too.  (Well, fine in the sense that I'd understand.  It would make us reconsider and I'm not sure what we'd finally decide.)  My issue was that she said the lease would read "no pets" when in fact we would be allowed to have a pet as long as we paid a deposit.  I can't have her telling me something would be allowed, then having a lease that specifically calls out that it isn't.  Taking her word, especially when she has given me reason to think she is not especially on top of things and may not even be discussing all of this with the owners, and then signing something that says otherwise doesn't work.  I'm trying not to be difficult because I don't want to scare her/the owner off by nitpicking, but these seem like things she should know.  Don't tell me I can have a pet and then tell me that I will need to sign a document that says "no pets", while asking me to take her word that they would amend the contract if needed.

This really does seem like basic PM 101. 

I agree with your general frustration with PM, but also understand why they wouldn't want to give a written ok for a dog before getting to know your behavior in the house.  In your first statement you said you wanted the lease to say "pets allowed with notification", so my point was perhaps they'll budge a little and write up something that says "with landlord approval for any animal at the premises, pets would require additional $___ (non)refundable deposit plus $___ /month fee".  Could try asking for that wording.

I can see that I wasn't clear.  I wanted it to say, "pets allowed with notification" because that's what she said would happen.  Is she said "no pets" or "pets considered with approval from the owner; meeting of the pet may be required; if the specific animal is approved, it would be a $500 deposit [or whatever]", or something else, then I'd expect the lease to say that.  But she told me "you can get a dog, and if you do, we'd amend the lease", so that's what I want the lease to say, because it's very different than "no pets allowed", which is what she wants me to sign. 

The owners are on the other side of the planet, so they aren't going to be meeting any pets, but the PM could.  Again, I'm not necessarily opposed to a meet-and-greet requirement, but that's not what she said would be required. I just want the lease to reflect what she's actually telling me (and perhaps that will encourage her to actually speak to the owners and figure out their policy.  Current tenant said it was n additional $500 deposit (refundable), no breed or size restrictions (previous tenant had 3 large dogs, according to current tenant), and no meeting or approval.  They are certainly entitle to chance their policy, but I just want to know the specifics, whatever they may be, and have them be included in my lease.  That doesn't seem extraordinary or needy. 

Paul der Krake

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Re: Telling an interested tenant to wait 6 weeks to apply?
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2020, 03:44:47 PM »
Yeah you're just dealing with a mediocre property manager. Some people just aren't good. They end up in jobs where the feedback loop is broken and coast for years, largely unnoticed.