I understand that The California Code of Regulations stipulates that a building of 16 units or more is supposed to have a Resident Manager who shall “have charge of the apartment building.” It looks like certain landlords enjoy making sport of circumventing the clear spirit of this regulation (which certainly could benefit from being more specific) by making the defined duties of their Resident Manager non-existent.
I live in a 30-some-unit former Citiapartments building on Nob Hill, which is now in receivership.The interim property management (we’ve redacted the company’s name) company has installed a company employee in the unit that has always been the Manager’s Apartment. We received a paper notice announcing this person’s arrival as our “Resident Manager.”
However, the phone number the notice provides is answered, during their regular business hours, by the “Guest Services” desk of the property management company’s short-term rental operation. I’m not at all sure these humans are aware of the existence of actual tenants here, as opposed to short-term “guests,” and I believe not one of them has ever or will ever set foot on the premises.
So, when the police arrive at 2 in the morning and want to get in, they wake the first tenant listed on the directory. Likewise when a “guest” arrives after hours. Or the cable guy, exterminator, emergency plumber, or elevator repair team. I often find these kinds of folks standing helpless at the door or randomly dialing on the entry box, as do my neighbors.
The property management company can and does send repair people here, but they don’t buzz them in and show them where the problem is or give them access to it (e.g. the boiler room is locked). Sometimes these folks are given the entry code to buzz themselves in, which creates a whole other security issue, with all kinds of people having the run of the building.
Just this week, there was no heat for almost a week and there was never a notice posted or distributed about it. The phone answerers either had no idea what was going on or were providing nonsensical and/or contradictory information, and that only if you called and pushed for it. When the elevator goes out (not an infrequent event, given its age) there are no repair status reports posted or, more importantly, distributed directly to the disabled, so no way for disabled tenants to work around the outage or even know enough about what’s happening to ask for assistance to survive it.
When I needed repairs in my unit, the property management company told me to leave my door unlocked because they aren’t here to let the folks in and out of my apartment.
They also can’t, from their offices, supervise any repair work or the people doing it. So one comes home to complete messes, incomplete or incorrect repairs, and, in once recent case, a creepy note from a young workman affixed to a female tenant’s fridge.
We have reported the it’s-just-pretend Resident Manager situation to the Department of Building Inspection but when they investigate the complaint, the powers that be at the property management company points to this faux Resident Manager and the BI throws up his or her hands helplessly. The people who answer the phone at the property management company don’t even bother to pretend that this person living in the building has anything resembling “charge over the premises” when we call now. So the message to the regular tenants on this issue, seems to be “Suck on This.”
But must we? I’ve Googled up at least a couple of cases* in which the Rent Board granted “decrease in services” petitions to renters who reported the absence of a Resident Manager. Truly we would rather have the real thing than a bit of extra cash, but we’ll take what we can get.
Is there another or better way to persuade the property management company to comply with the spirit as well as the letter of California Code of Regulations, Title 25, Article 5, Section 42, Page 105? Or, if indeed the reg is too vague to be enforced in cases like ours, any chance there’s a campaign afoot to give it some real teeth?