my new job is a nightmare built on a hellmouth

A reader writes:

I spent almost seven years in property management before vowing to never, ever, ever go back. I don’t know if it is just my local market or if it is like this everywhere, but in the course of working for several different companies I encountered everything from sexual discrimination, retaliation, and a whole host of other crazy, unacceptable things culminating in being fired by a manager because she thought I might try to take her job.

After that (and my vow to get as far away from property management as possible) I was lucky enough to be offered a great job as a project manager at a local printing and direct mail company. I loved working there, not because I was on fire for the industry, but because I got to use problem solving skills daily, I liked having a lot of interaction with various departments and coworkers, I got treated like a human being by everyone, and I didn’t have to worry about any of the crazy shenanigans that seem to plague my old field. Unfortunately, I was unlucky enough to be the last project manager hired before an extreme slowdown in their business, and after just shy of a year I was laid off.

I was terrified when it happened. I had been unemployed for a stretch before that job, and my savings still hadn’t recovered from that. The day I got laid off, I called a former manager of mine (one of the good ones) from my not-so-long-ago property management days because she was always one of the most plugged-in networkers in town. I was absolutely floored when, the very next day, she offered me a position as her assistant manager at a nice pay upgrade from what I had been making at the printing company job. Apparently they were about to move forward with a candidate and then I dropped in out of the sky. She told me that both account delinquency and the paperwork at the property were a mess, and that she was in the process of retraining the residents (apparently previous management had been, um, not good and the residents were running wild), but that it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t handle. Even though I really never wanted to go back to property management, I felt that I wasn’t in a position to say no. And hey, I figured that maybe things would be different this time, and if not I could just do a good job for a year or so, save up a ton of money, and then move on to something I would enjoy. I went in legitimately filled with optimism.

Well, I am two months and 19 days in, and … I think I’m about to crack. It’s a nice looking property in a nice area, but I legitimately wonder if this place is built on a native burial ground, or perhaps a Hellmouth. In the short amount of time that I’ve been here, I’ve experienced the following:

1) Been verbally assaulted by residents in what I would consider an extreme way four times, two of which resulted in me crying in the back room after they left

2) Witnessed an unstable employee losing it/dramatically quitting and then coming back three times in one hour

3) Discovered an employee running a side car repair business all day, every day at work instead of actually doing work for the company

4) Been present when a dude high on meth and road rage followed my coworker onto property and spent an hour chasing maintenance employees with a bat and trying to break into our front office (this is one of three times we have had to call the police SINCE I’VE STARTED)

5) Had a resident I had never spoken to before walk into our office and then aggressively run up to my desk with no preamble and scream that I am a “bitch from hell” in a possessed sounding voice while throwing money orders for her late rent in my face

6) Been questioned in an extensive and vaguely threatening way by what turned out to be an unmedicated paranoid schizophrenic resident about whether or not I am “of God” before he left the office, had a full meltdown, and had to be handcuffed by the police and taken in for psychiatric observation

7) Been present for the hit and run of a maintenance man driving the company golf cart on property (he is okay)

8) Had a non-resident family that was crashing our pool refuse to leave and instruct their children to poop in the pool after we asked them to go (yes, they pooped)

9) Discovered that a convicted murderer somehow got through our criminal screening process and now runs a large number of sketchy illegal occupants (who may have something to do with a number of car break-ins and acts of vandalism that have recently occurred on property) in and out of his apartment

All of that is in addition to two apartment fires, buildings being struck by lightning, a host of just plain WEIRD natural phenomena, and EVERYONE HERE ACTS LIKE THIS IS ALL VERY NORMAL. But it seems like a LOT for under three months. I’ve never worked anywhere that has had a comparable volume of this sort of stuff happening. And as far as rest of the job goes, well … I cleaned up the account delinquency pretty quickly and have largely done good things, but frankly the training has been inadequate and I’m repeatedly being assigned numerous impossible tasks/deadlines. Which I hate. I’m also extremely isolated, as the front office only has three other employees and there’s this weird dynamic because I’m under the manager but over the leasing consultants. Everyone is pleasant, but it’s really stratified and it doesn’t seem like that will change. I’m very unhappy. It’s so bad that lately I find myself increasingly freezing and being unable to even complete simple, doable tasks (which really isn’t like me!). I have to give myself a pep talk just to get in the car and go to work (also a new, not normal for me thing).

I obviously can’t just bail, and a big part of me feels like a terrible person for wanting to head for the hills already when my manager just brought me on in good faith (at a great salary). But the place itself is terrible/appears to be cursed and I don’t enjoy the work. I honestly don’t think I can make it a full year. When is the soonest I can start applying for new jobs without looking like a total flake to prospective employers? How do I explain the reasons why I want to leave my current job to prospective employers in a way that is honest but doesn’t make me sound like a melodramatic crazy person? “Because if I stay I’m pretty sure that I will be murdered or possibly swallowed by the sinkhole that is inevitably going to drag that place to some netherworld/hell dimension; also, I would like to be given projects that are challenging but not unrealistic” is clearly not the way to go.

And finally, if I find a good, non-property management job, how do I leave without upsetting my manager, who will almost definitely feel personally betrayed? I’ve worked with her before, and I’ve seen her get touchy about things like this with employees at other properties. The person before me left the place in a shambles, and she moved me into that slot because she knows I’m trustworthy and loyal. I know she’s expecting me to be in it for the long haul.

I have to admit that I printed this letter in part because of your amazing list of disasters.

You can start applying for new jobs now. You’re presumably going to be applying to jobs outside of property management since you want to get out of that field, so you can explain your search this way: “I have a lot of experience in property management, but when I left in 2016, I’d hoped to move to a new field permanently. When I was laid off from my job at Teapots Inc., a previous manager offered me this position, but I really want to move into the ___ field, and I’m I’m excited about the position with you because ___.” (And then with that language at the end, you shift to why you’re applying for this job and take the focus off why you’re leaving the current one.)

Leaving quickly without upsetting your manager is a harder question. And it may not be possible, because her reaction is up to her rather than up to you. But what you can do is be very honest and very apologetic. Say something like this: “I’m incredibly grateful that you gave me a chance at this position, and I’ve been trying hard to make it work, but I’ve realized in the last few weeks that I don’t think I’m the right person for this role. I’m becoming so unhappy that I can see it impacting both my work and my off time. I’m so sorry about this because you really went out of your way to help me out and I know you put your faith in me. If there was any way I could make it work, I would — but I’m at the point where I need to be up-front with you that I’ve realized this isn’t for me.”

Now, will she she this as a personal betrayal? Maybe. But it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect you to stay in a job where you’re miserable out of loyalty to her. And you definitely shouldn’t stay in a job where you’re miserable out of fear of her reaction.

All you can do is to be up-front with her about where you’re at with this, acknowledge that it’s not a great outcome for her, and apologize that it didn’t work out.

She might be upset, but no reasonable manager wants someone to say in a job where they’re miserable. She might not be a reasonable manager, of course, and it’s not ideal that she’s so well-connected in case this really does piss her off (although fortunately you want to move out of her industry anyway), but none of this is a reason to stay in a job that you’re describing as a hellhole and where it’s starting to affect your ability to function.

You’re allowed to get out.

Read updates to this letter here and here.

{ 570 comments… read them below }

    1. valentine*

      OP, the phone call is coming from inside the property. (Mainly the pool, which is crying out for mercy, but you can’t save the pool. You can only save yourself.) Even if you could bar 1/5/6 from the office, fire 2/3, and evict 10, the health you will recover as soon as you resign is worth leaving immediately. I would only stay if the job were stopping me being homeless. All this horror, including literal fires, yet you think you can’t leave and your concern is for the feelings of the terrible person who lured you. That’s something to reflect on from the great distance I hope you’ll put between you, her, and this field.

      1. Ali G*

        Yes – this! That story about the other candidate is bull. She knew what she was getting you into and probably made that up to lure you in without having to divulge what a horror show this place is. Don’t worry about upsetting her – she clearly wasn’t worried about you when she offered you this position!

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Pretty sure the pool is the entry to the hellmouth. What OP thought was kids’ poop was actually demon and nephilim feces.

        (Btw: It’s amazing that anyone is loaded enough to poop on demand.)

        1. Friday afternoon fever*

          (Thank you!!! I have always marveled at those individuals able to, for example, spontaneously decide to drop trou and poop in a potted plant after an interview. Do they always have a bullet in the chamber?)

      3. TardyTardis*

        Got that. I suspect this property management company has a lot of um, lower income residents which does not help (since I have a schizophrenic son who has had conflicts with managers, I so feel for you, although certain managers should not give up their day meds, either).


    2. AnonReader*

      I would just like to suggest that OP look into commercial property management, as in office parks/REITs/office buildings. I worked in commercial property management for years and never had anything like this. Residential is a different beast since you are dealing with where people live and their personal stuff. For commercial properties you are dealing with businesses and generally people are rational, calm and professional. I would shoot for a Class A property with a larger company like Hines, CBRE, Jones Lang LaSalle or other similar. They have infrastructure to provide resources and oversight. A lot of the OP’s skills/experience would be transferable and should give them a leg up.
      Good luck & I’m so sorry that you are in this terrible situation.

      1. Anon55*

        Second this! Residential is obviously way more drama-prone, but I’m guessing a lot of the problems the OP is running into have to do with sloppy screening processes and the owner being too cheap to take proper security measures.

        Quick question for the OP in the meantime: Are any of the problem tenants subsidized? If so, your local housing authority technically should be stepping in to remove people who are acting like threatening loons. Granted, their resources may be stretched even thinner than normal now (great job, Ben Carson!) but it’s worth a phone call. Good luck and wishing you all the best and a wonderful new position!

        1. OP*

          Nope, none of them are subsidized. We have been evicting and non-renewing problem tenants as we go, but seem to keep replacing them with tenants bringing the same kind of drama. Also, the evictions and non-renewals are starting to impact our occupancy enough to start freaking corporate out, so… I suspect that will be happening less moving forward. :/

          1. Michaela Westen*

            Sorry I’m late, but this sounds like there’s no screening or common sense at all with leasing to the tenants. I’ve lived in rental apartments all my adult life – 30+ years – and never seen anything like this.
            If there’s no background check, income check, and no awareness of red flags when the agent meets the tenant, I can see it getting to be like this. If tenants get away with paying rent late or not at all for a while, then someone cracks down, I can see them saying “you bitch” because they resent being held accountable… If I was a tenant I would GTFO, breaking my lease if necessary. I think you should get out ASAP too, before it starts affecting your health.

            1. OP*

              There are background checks, income checks, credit checks, and rental history checks at this property. Just to clarify!

              1. Michaela Westen*

                Yes, it does seem like low standards. To give you an idea of what I’ve seen:
                I lived in the same 7-apt. building for 21 years. My landlord mentioned evicting someone who hadn’t paid their rent. At one point a young couple sneaked out in the middle of the night without paying rent. There was never any violence, except the time one of my neighbors threw out a friend who had hit her. All of us were civil to each other, and some were friends.
                I moved from there to a building that was being hastily renovated. There was a woman who was borderline begging, and a man who turned his TV very loud (probably deaf). The man next to me made smoke in the middle of the night trying to make something and the fire dept. was called at 5am. There was no fire, but exciting.
                After several months a different management company took over and was clearly trying to get all the $$ they could from us. Most moved out. I stayed another year. Some sketchy people with a fluffy dog moved in. One day one of the dryers in the laundry room was dented. I had to ask some young men not to smoke in the hallway. After they doubled the price of laundry, someone broke into the machines and took the money. This building is the closest I’ve seen to violence and it wasn’t much.
                I did research and found a better building. One of the managers mentioned cleaning up puke in the elevator at 1am. From time to time solicitors get into the building and have to be asked to leave. Those are the only problems I’ve seen or heard of in my current building and I’m in my 5th year here.
                The difference between what I’ve seen and what you’re experiencing is huge. There must be something wrong with the standards or checks. Are the checks actually being done, or do the people who are supposed to do them just say they did?
                I suspect the managers at my old building (where the dryer got dented) lowered their standards.

                1. OP*

                  I hear you, but for real, the checks that we have in place are not low. We use very reliable third party verifiers for credit and criminal (which are the same vendors that have been used at many properties that I have worked at, including the high end super luxury properties). We require proof of income, and you must make 3.5 times market rent to qualify, period. And the apartments are not cheap. And federal Fair Housing laws are pretty strict, these standards and checks are the same for everyone across the board. The management company we are under is a reputable.
                  I would really love this to be the explanation, guys, because hey, then I would have a reason, but the standards aren’t low and the checks aren’t lax. That’s why everyone is still flabbergasted that the convicted murder got past background screening, it should not have been possible.

                2. Michaela Westen*

                  It sounds like the background screeners aren’t doing their job.
                  One slacker on the staff can cause a lot of trouble!

      2. anontoday*

        I came to say the same thing. It should be an easy transition to commercial property management – way way way less drama.

    3. Hey Nonnie*

      In addition to agreeing that your manager knew what she was getting you into, I’d add that “I’m in fear for my safety” is an excellent reason to leave a job, and if your manager gets angry about hearing THAT, she is a horrible human being.

      1. Radical Edward*

        I came here to say this, so yes. Seconded very loudly. If you don’t feel safe (and you can’t trust anyone around you to work on changing that), you owe nothing to nobody except yourself. Take care of you. Good luck!

        1. Hey Nonnie*

          Frankly, if the manager got contentious over my leaving something like that, I would happily, very calmly, explain to her that she didn’t accurately describe the working conditions or personal risk involved before I accepted the job (to say the least). I’d say OP is more betrayed than her manager would be.

        1. Chinookwind*

          Add a sprinkling of holy water around the entrances as well and on your car. This should be free at any Catholic Church as long as you bring a container to take it away in (and contains only water, no oil or other stuff that can stain). Just ask at the Parish Office.

      1. TardyTardis*

        And if Nell Carter says, ‘Honey, you is on your own’, run! (Modern Problems ref, with Chevy Chase).

    1. Alli525*

      And check repeatedly for nargles! Mistletoe season is coming up, after all, and it sounds like you can’t afford much more mischief.

      1. researchmanager*

        sage. crystals. Pink sea salt lamps. get a rescue pitbull and bring them in for an office dog. sage every day and find someone to give you specific rituals and chants. I know this all sounds a bit nuts, but there is a full moon, it’s halloween, and if you are thinking hellmouth, then protect yourself from the hellmouth.

        1. FaintlyMacabre*

          How is a rescue pit bull cleansing?

          (Not meant to be snark- I am owned by a rescue pittie, and need to know if I am not using her full potential!)

          1. Kj*

            They have sniffily noses and can sense evil spirits! Their cuteness drives away demons! They can butt wiggle-wag their tails to get rid of ghosts (making stuff up here….)

            1. BookishMiss*

              No no, you’re spot on. The butt wiggles are the most important part. Source: practicing witch owned by a rescue doggo.

              They’re also good at catching nargles.

              In all seriousness: get a rescue dog AND a new job.

            2. Jean*

              If you get hit by their tail it can leave a welt. My pit mix excitedly wags his tail when ever he sees me, but I can’t get too close to him when his tail is at high speed. Unfortunately his Bichon sister’s head is at his tail height, and I often must quickly pick her up to avoid eye injury. This situation becomes especially dangerous for visitors because soon after they arrive he turns around and “asks” them to scratch his butt. He is a complete softy and simply wants everyone to scratch his back or butt. When you pair the welt inducing tail with the fact that he looks like he wants to tear you apart when he barks, it makes him an excellent guard dog.

          2. whingedrinking*

            It cleanses your presence of people who are inclined to become threatening. Strangely, randos who want to get up in your face tend to lose interest when there’s a big muscular dog around. (I know pit bulls are not inherently aggressive, before we start that argument. But enough people think they are to act as a deterrent.)

            1. Sacred Ground*

              Agreed that big dogs make awesome personal security. (I live with an Akita. She’s a big sweet fluffball, like one of those giant teddy bears at the carnival nobody ever wins, loves everyone who isn’t another dog, and has a warning bark like a waking dragon. My neighborhood’s a bit sketchy but we walk without worry.)

              Unfortunately, in many (most?) corporate owned and managed apartments such as described here, pit bulls and other large breeds aren’t allowed for the residents, supposedly because they’re dangerous enough to be a liability risk. It would be poor form, I think, to then have one in the manager’s office. People who are scared of big dogs would hate going there and people who like big dogs might resent not being permitted one. And though it would certainly cut down on tenants’ aggression, if anyone ever did get loud and threatening enough for the dog to react and bite, then there’s a potentially big lawsuit.

        2. Pit Bull Rescue Lady*

          I am surprised to see Pit Bulls enter this conversation, but as a Pit Bull rescue volunteer and fanatic, may I just say, as loudly as I can, “YOU’VE ALL MADE MY DAY!” :) wiggle butts, and all LOL

    2. Oh So Very Anon*

      And adjust your Feng Shui. Something is definitely off there as well. A snake plant in your Fame gua should do the trick.

    3. Manatees are cool*

      And I would recommend having garlic, onions and (wine or apple) vinegar. Even if it doesn’t help break any curses the smell might be enough to drive off any evil spirits or evil humans.

  1. Snarkus Aurelius*

    I did a temp job as a property manager, and I believe everything in this letter. My experience wasn’t as crazy, but I’d still never do it again.

    There are a large percentage of residents who sincerely think that just because they pay an HOA fee, that means they’re the dictator of the whole building.

    1. MatKnifeNinja*

      My brother is a apartment property manager. I sent him this link and he ROARED.

      Best one of his story is people using a half bath as a litter box. Like pouring kitty litter on the floor. And just putting the clean on top of the dirty.

      Fixing a sink and noticing knives stuck in the ceiling. Like 15 knives.

      A guy carved a hole in the bedroom closet, and used it as a 2L empty pop storage bin.

      These apartments run $1K/month in the suburbs. People are nuts.

      Run and save yourself. Where I live, if you can pass a physical, pass a drug screen and not be a raging psychopath, you can get another property manager job.

      Good luck. My brother feels your pain.

        1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

          well… they were using it as a bathroom… just not a human bathroom…


          For real though, that is absolutely nuts!

          1. Beaded Librarian*

            My mom who is mentally ill and unmedicated at the time had the plumbing in one of their bathrooms disconnected and filled the toilet with pine pellet cat litter for Her and my brothers to use. I have no idea why my step dad who is a doctor allowed her to do it but he always used the other fully plumbed bathroom.

            1. SavannahMiranda*

              Wait, I can’t…what? How?

              How, when, was it changed?

              I have experienced that pine litter. It expands profoundly in contact with wetness, becomes goopy sawdust, and does not keep the smell down that much.

              The problem solving part of my brain is overtaxed trying to understand what the end game or solution to a ‘full’ toilet would be.

              I’m…I have to walk away now.

        2. Magenta Sky*

          My dad managed apartments for many years. The worst thing I recall was the woman who would clog up the toilet, let it overflow, and let her kids play in it. We had to tear out the drywall *on* *the* *ceiling* to get rid of the smell (and repeatedly bleach the bare concrete floor). She did more damage than the drug addict hooker who started a fire.

          Evicting someone in California is not easy, even with the best of lawyers, but this woman literally had county Marshall’s deputies put her furniture on the sidewalk – while she was 8 1/2 months pregnant.

          I find nothing in this letter even slightly implausible.

            1. Magenta Sky*

              None of us wanted to know. I still don’t. Four children by four different men, none her husband, and a fifth on the way (by a fifth man), living on welfare, literally in her own filth. The woman was a nightmare.

          1. turquoises*

            speaking of cleansing, I’m feeling an urge to sanitize my aura. This entire thread, jeepers…

        3. Half bath?*

          What’s a half bath? Is it half a bathtub, like a children’s only bath? Or a shower room without the tub?
          Or is it a toilet?

          1. Anonners*

            It’s usually a toilet & a sink, no shower or tub. A 3/4 bath would also include a shower or a tub, but not both.

            Interestingly, we toured a house once that claimed a 1/4 bath and it was exactly that: just a toilet, with nary a sink in sight.

              1. Chinookwind*

                I had one like that in Japan. I had a room with a tub and across the (tiny) hall was the toilet room. My only sink was the kitchen sink. the toilet, though, was set up so that the top of the tank where the clean water goes had a sink on it and the faucet ran only when you flushed the toilet. It was quite efficient.

                1. syseng*

                  They also usually have bidets and even air dryers built into the toilets in Japan, which at least for me would ameliorate the lack of a sink some of the time.

            1. Moo*

              I have one of those. It’s just a toilet in a closet. My father-in-law refuses to use our actual bathroom, and uses that one instead. It’s weird. I don’t get it. I’d rather just rip it out, but everyone tells me “Well it could come in handy someday……”

              Surprisingly, in my area, there are a LOT of houses with a random toilet in the basement. I’d never seen this before until we started looking here. Apparently because it was a big manufacturing town back in the day (like, 1960s-1980s when these houses were built), the workers would come in their houses through the basement so they didn’t get grime all over the place. They’d take off their work stuff, use the toilet (although why there wasn’t a sink or shower I never understood if that was the point), then go upstairs into the main house. We put in a few rejected bids on a house like that, except this was in 2012 and she was *just* putting the bathroom in, and had only gotten to the toilet with no walls before she decided to move.

            2. Kaitlyn*

              Also known as a water closet! Very handy if you’re in a situation where someone’s showering and someone else needs to poop.

          2. Emma the Strange*

            Oh, it’s so much worse than what you’re imagining. A half-bath is a bathroom with a toilet and sink but no shower or bathtub. Those tenants were literally spreading kitty litter *on the bathroom floor.*

              1. Kat in VA*

                Oh jeez, my keys are sticking. A PowDer room.

                A Power Room might have, uh, different accoutrements than a toilet and a sink,

      1. aeldest*

        My parents did some property management when they were newlyweds and they also have some wacky stories.

        My favorite is the tenant who complained there was water leaking from his living room ceiling. The maintenance guy was confused, because there shouldn’t have been pipes above it, until he went to check out the apartment above. The family living there had covered their living room carpet in about a foot of dirt, and they were growing vegetables. ?!?

        Also, the nudist guy who refused to cover up or leave when my mom was trying to show his apartment (with proper notice, for the record).

        1. MatKnifeNinja*

          My brother had a guy who was cutting open bags of top soul and growing vegetables is living room. At least it was 1st floor and dripped into the basement. The dude was growing tomatoes, peppers, peas and corn. No grow light. Just whatever sun was coming threw the living room.

        1. MatKnifeNinja*

          I don’t even own 15 knives. I wouldn’t have believed him, but he snapped a picture on his phone.

        2. Little Annie*

          I suggested growing veg like that in a room to my parents when I was about 7. I thought it would be as simple as having a layer of soil on the floor, and away we go. My parents laughed at me for about 3 days and then explained to me why it wasn’t an option.

      2. really anon for this!*

        In fairness the worst I ever did was drop a gallon ziploc bag of roaches on a property manager’s desk. they’d been ignoring our calls for weeks and we’d had enough.

            1. sigh*

              We were and we were young and didn’t know how to get stuff resolved yet. The internet wasn’t the bastion of readily available information it is now, and everything was infested with german cockroaches. We had to do something to get the situation resolved.

              1. sigh*

                It did get us out of the lease promptly and cleanly and with a full reimbursement of our security deposit too. They had been ignoring our service requests for weeks.

              2. SavannahMiranda*

                Oh those suckers are terrible! They will travel with you.

                The big, fat, dark brown ‘tree’ roaches are just as happy living under leaf litter on the forest floor.

                The small, red suckers, though, those guys are habituated to humans, if not actually evolved to live off of humans. They prefer humans. We are their target. And they will do everything they can to survive, persist, and travel with you to your new place.

                Ugh, shudder.

                Yes, to getting out of that lease, no penalties. Excellent work.

          1. Perse's Mom*

            As much as there are some terrible human beings as residents making life miserable for the property managers, there are some terrible human beings as property managers making life miserable for their tenants. I can sympathize with the impulse to make a point like this when they should be taking action and refuse to even take your call.

            1. OP*

              It won’t necessarily get your problem handled, though (if they are truly awful). In my state at least, the best thing to do is to send the office emails requesting the issue be dealt with, then when the issue is NOT dealt with you send a legitimate estimate in from (in this instance) a pest control company and ask when and how will they be handling the situation as their responsibility is covered in your lease contract and state that you will need to be reimbursed if they are not able to assist you in a reasonable time frame and you are forced to pay the pest control company out of pocket. That should get pretty immediate compliance.

                1. mrs__peel*

                  Some cities also have Housing Courts where you can put your rent money in escrow, and the landlord can’t access it until they complete the needed work.

        1. aebhel*

          You know, I had a resident do something similar with a dead rat in a trap. This was right after our regular maintenance guy had committed suicide and my boss didn’t want to call an exterminator until after we hired a replacement because he had some idea that we could handle it without paying extra (yeah, he was that kind of guy. IME, most property owners are.)

          It did not, suffice to say, get the resident’s problem addressed any faster.

      3. Fergus, Stealer of Pens and Microwaver of Fish*

        An acquaintance of mine found an apartment filled floor-to-ceiling with dolls, all with a date and “A real little girl’s baby doll” written on them in Sharpie.

        There is not enough money in the world to deal with that kind of crazy.

    2. irene adler*

      Yes- exactly.
      I served on an HOA board. Worked alongside the property manager.

      LW is not exaggerating one bit.

      I was shocked at the behavior of my neighbors towards me and the property manager and anyone associated with the property manager (like the landscapers or the handy man). The vitriol, the harassment, the ugliness, the pettiness. These were people I’d lived next door to for 16 years! These people were my friends! It’s like some kind of demon possession that occurs.

      I sold my townhouse and left town to get away from them.

      Never again.

      1. MM*

        My mom just FINALLY stepped down as president of her condo building’s board and it has been, genuinely, the albatross around her neck for the last six years. You wouldn’t think the phrase “the flower committee” could be ominous, but it is now. I’m so glad she’s done.

      2. Red 5*

        This comment and the replies are making me feel better about the recent insanity I’m dealing with as part of my HOA board.

        It’s just completely absurd, and not even just from the other residents, sometimes from other board members. I’m constantly gobsmacked by the lack of common sense or decency. And that’s not even getting into the day an emergency led to me going into a neighbor’s unit without them present (with the property manager) and I saw how they lived…There’s a lot of rules that I used to think were absurd about maintenance requirements on our units and stuff and now that I’ve seen what happens and how people handle things…it’s depressing that we need to actually specify the tiniest things like “if your pipes are leaking, you should FIX THEM.”

        1. OP*

          Oh dude. The stories I have about apartments I have walked post move out. I’m not even just talking about at my current gig! (Although, unsurprisingly, some of the very worst ones have been here.)

      3. Aaron*

        I belong to a mental health organisation and our facility is on the bottom floor of an apartment building. The building has an alleyway along one side. One tenant, whose door opens on the alley has decided that they own the alley and has actually threatened some of our members that use the alley as a shortcut. The threats were so bad that they actually stopped coming to our activities. The building manager is also afraid of antagonizing them and won’t evict them. We’ve asked.

    3. 1.5 years til Retirement*

      Currently live in a condo and agree with “Snarkus Aurelius” completely. Of the 210 units, 2 are owned by people who think they know all and are should have final say on everything. One owner has send so many demands that the legal fees dealing with them alone are almost $20K.

      I would never be a property manager and all those who are have my gratitude and sympathy

    4. Antilles*

      I sent this letter to my mom, who did served on the board for our condo association for a couple years*, then property management for a few years afterwards. Her exact response, verbatim: “That all seems fairly standard.”
      We could have a great Talk To Readers Thursday thread about all the insanely crazy stories related to HOA and property management.
      *Technically just short of ‘couple years’. The board had been waiting on some construction until they had the appropriate permits approved by the City. So the residents staged a coup and forced a special election to throw out the board, about six weeks before regularly scheduled elections, solely to get a new board which wouldn’t “waste time and money” on following the municipal law. Instead of getting permits, the new board had the brilliant plan of (a) ignoring all permitting requirements and (b) pretending the Department of Code Enforcement doesn’t exist. Said brilliant plan lasted all of two days before the City Engineer happened to drive by on his way to work, saw some ongoing construction, then checked the records, saw no permits had been filed, then drove back to shut the construction down and issue a bunch of citations for failing to follow procedure.

      1. Red 5*

        We’re currently dealing with a resident trying to do this with their unit and so this entire story made my hair stand on end.

    5. Free Meerkats*

      When I was in voir dire for a civil suit where a group of mobile home park residents were suing the owners and management company (I was eventually seated on the jury), one woman in the jury pool worked in property management. When she was questioned, her response was pretty much, “I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and every renter is a lying POS who will say whatever they think they need to say to get what they want, no matter how big a lie. Most of them are deadbeats who only pay when they are up for eviction and I wouldn’t give them a dollar.” She was dismissed for cause. And she was pissed!

      I enjoyed the 4 months I spent on that jury.

    6. Tired*

      My DD was in residential property management for years. Her best job was at a luxury high-rise. She had some stories at other locations but nothing quite as bad as what was described here. It can be a good career field for people without four year degrees, her positions paid pretty well after a few years. Her experience was that commercial property management positions in our area all wanted four year degrees at a minimum. She is an accountant now in an unrelated field but her experience as a property accountant prepared her well. I think this letter will make her laugh.

      OP, get out now. You were laid off and n your haste accepted an unsuitable position. Your manager will just have to understand. Tell her that you hope she does and that you don’t want to burn a bridge, but you have got to go.

    7. Wine Slinger*

      We rent in a condo building and our current favorite pastime is reading the reply-alls to the (non BCCed) emails from our assistant property manager about new pet rules. Somehow we got on this list (I assume they don’t really want to hear from non HOA fee paying lease-holders) and it is just ABSURD the things these people are saying to each other. The rudeness and entitlement on all sides of whatever issue everyone is having is astounding.

      At first, I thought the emails the assistant PM sent out to pet owners were pretty rude, but hoo boy, if she is dealing with emails like the ones I’ve seen all day… I don’t blame her! I just keep thinking “These are your neighbors! You have to live near them! See them every day! Walk your dogs in the same space! The incident you’re referencing happened YEARS ago!!! Come on!!!!” I keep saying I wish she would BCC people so these threads don’t explode, but I secretly love it.

    8. aebhel*

      I was a property manager for a little over a year when I was just out of college, and everything here sounds eminently plausible. Something about that field, man.

  2. CatCat*

    A lot of this could work well as a sit-com a la “The Office” but with the property management angle.

    But it sounds absolutely hell-ish to actually live.

    Please update us on when you get out of there!

    1. From the High Tower on the Hill*

      That would actually be a great idea for an Office/Parks and Rec-esque TV show.

          1. Meghan*

            Have an episode of The Good Place where they’re property managers.

            How fast before they figure it out? About 30 seconds.

    2. Tired*

      I told my daughter several times that there should be a property management TV show, or that she should at least write a blog.

  3. Goya de la Mancha*

    Given the other list of disasters, I’m not sure if apartment fires are all that surprising ;)

    Offta OP…PERSONALLY, I’d be job hunting while in this job. Financial security is a big anxiety driver for me, but if you’re able to make do without this job, RUN. If not…hunt, and document, if only to provide notes for your upcoming “based on a true story” Horror book.

  4. Nep*

    This is the part in a horror movie where the audience is telling you to run, run far away, and don’t look back.

  5. Allison but not Alison*

    You know, I am not one for the spiritual stuff, but it is time to start conducting some seances and burning sage. Goodness gracious, I thought I had it bad working for as a property manager in a party-centric college town but you take the cake. You take the whole dessert table.

  6. LinesInTheSand*

    Caveat: I’ve never worked in property management.

    OP, from reading your letter, the thing that jumps out at me the most is that this work environment doesn’t sound *safe*. So for that reason alone, I’d encourage you to job hunt guilt free. Use Alison’s scripts with your manager if you feel it’s the right thing to do, but the situation you described in your letter sounds a lot less like a problem of politeness and courtesy than about self preservation.

    1. Psyche*

      I was wondering whether or not that would be a good reason to give for job searching. Calling the police three times for three separate instances in 3 months is not normal. And there are so many instances that did not escalate to the police stage.

        1. OP*

          It’s a between-middle-and-high-end property in good condition with a lot of fancy amenities. So, the property ITSELF is nice. It’s just everything else that is, um…not.

          1. Cucumberzucchini*

            Um. Do you have security and/or effective? If this is a large property without security this seems like a liability waiting to happen.

            1. OP*

              We are gated, and we HAD a courtesy officer on property, however, he bailed. My manager is looking for a replacement, but has yet to find a law enforcement officer who meets the necessary criteria.

              1. Hold my tea, please.*

                Is your manager aware of all of the crap happening here? Is there a housing board you can report to anonymously?

                1. No Mas Pantalones*

                  Literal crap. In the pool.

                  (Sorry, I had to. I just drank an energy shot and have poor impulse control right now. )

                2. OP*

                  Yes, she is often (but not always) present for most of the stuff going on. I actually found out after I had been working here for about a month that (maybe a month prior to my being hired) a resident tried to physically attack my manager, so… it’s safe to say she is very aware. (The woman was evicted for this, and is not still around.)

              2. From the High Tower on the Hill*

                He bailed? Color me shocked. Maybe should have the manager put into job listing that the officer must be comfortable with a lot of tasing. Just a lot of tasing.

              3. ella*

                I work in public libraries, so this might not be applicable, but would it be possible to ask the local police force to do a circle of the property once a day or so? Or to call in and ask about their response time/procedures if you call them about a disturbance on the property? One thing I’ve noticed in Library Land is that once people realize that the cops arriving is a real possibility, they’re less likely to cause trouble to begin with.

              4. Drop Bear*

                The necessary criteria! The mind boggles as to what they are if some (many?) law enforcement officers don’t meet them. I’m going with one being the ability to identify the Axe of Dekeron.

              5. RUKiddingMe*

                I’ve lived in these condos for eight years. It’s a nice place, mostly adults, a few families, and a pretty small property overall.

                The worst things that have happened are 1) a revolving door or on site managers (trés annoying, but no huge deal) and 2) this past summer there was an ongoing issue with our fire alarm system (the system not the individual smoke detectors) that seemed like it would never end. When it was all said and done and everything figured out, we ended up replacing the system (we=everyone).

                That’s it in eight years. You’re talking three months?! Oh leave and don’t feel the tiniest bit guilty.

          2. bunniferous*

            I work in real estate, have worked in rental departments before, and it is not the price range of the properties that matter when it comes to The Crazy.

            I am another one that sees this as just a tick above Business as Usual.

            (My personal belief system would call for an intercessory team from a charismatic church to walk thru….but tbh anybody in rental management needs your prayers if you are a praying person…not even trying to be funny.)

            1. EPLawyer*

              Got a friend who is the lawyer for property management companies. Based on her stories, this is par for the course. Except the lightning strikes and other natural phenomenon regularly occurring. That makes me support the ancient burial ground or hellmouth theory.

              Either way – never split up. Pay attention to ominous music. Don’t open any doors. Get the hell out.

              1. Troutwaxer*

                Nonsense, it’s the old guy who wants to buy the property cheap! (And he would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you stupid kids.)

          3. Tired*

            Yes, properties can look nice from the outside and be hiding problem tenants. Depending on the location, the law may require renting to certain populations that have issues. I hate to say it, but many of the problems were Section 8 residents, who could not be arsed to pay their minimal copay. Problem tenancy had nothing to do with race though.

        2. ThankYouRoman*

          The property value. You’d think these antics were happening on Trailer Park Boys not a higher value neighborhood

              1. OP*

                Honestly, I’ve encountered breathtaking entitlement just as much at the lower end of the leasing spectrum. But at the luxury end residents were more likely to threaten ridiculous law suits or flat out tell me that they could buy and sell me.

      1. TootsNYC*

        pointing out the unsafe parts is something you can do when you give your notice. You have experience in this field–you know this isn’t normal.

        And make it be about how you’re helping her by telling her how abnormal this is, so she can focus on it.

      2. mrs__peel*

        I would think that “I’ve had some concerns about my physical safety” would be a VERY good reason, if an interviewer asks why you’re leaving your previous position after only a short time.

    2. WellRed*

      I’ve never worked property management either, but I have worked in newsrooms and there are I am sure lot of other environments where everyone has to be buzzed in. Sounds like property mgt would be a good one to include.

    3. No Mas Pantalones*

      This, this, this thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis, this this thiiiiiiissity this.

      OP, your safety should be your #1 concern. People screaming at you, running over your groundsmen, having psychotic breaks in front of you… NO. Just, NO. If someone asks why you left so quickly, show them this letter. (Okay, not really, but once you’re hired, definitely tell some war stories!)

      No. Just no. GET. OUT.

      1. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

        I feel like the OP will have the best answers to those interview questions about dealing with difficult/stressful people/personalities/situations. “There was this one time a man high on meth and road rage followed my coworker onto property and spent an hour chasing maintenance employees with a bat and trying to break into our front office” is going to beat out 99.99% of project management stories.

        1. Roja*

          Right? Every interviewer’s eyes will pop out and tick the “yes, I completely understand why this person is job-hunting” box.

          1. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

            And suddenly she’d seem like the perfect person to deal with Fergus in Accounting, who may be persnickety, but at least has never chased anyone with a bat during work hours

        2. No Mas Pantalones*

          “Also, I learned how to fix side cars!”

          (I know it wasn’t side cars, but cars on the side. I like the side car visual better.)

    4. LJay*


      I left two jobs mainly due to the safety angle.

      One was a low-end hotel where I was the night auditor and had run-ins with some less-than-stable/less-than-sober people, and where the door stopped locking so I couldn’t even lock myself in safely at night. (There was a small window that was supposed to be used for after hours check-ins so I wasn’t supposed to be left alone in the lobby with customers at night, but since the door stopped locking they just walked in anyway.) One night all the computer equipment stopped working and I couldn’t get ahold of anyone. I had to call emergency services for someone who fell down the stairs outside due to being intoxicated. And there were bedbugs.

      One was a sex/smoke shop where I was hired because the previous two clerks had quit due to an armed robbery that happened, and another armed robbery happened about a year later where a pregnant clerk was shot in the back. I was also locked out after driving an hour there one time because the woman who worked before me left early and didn’t tell me, and I couldn’t get ahold of her or the manager or the GM. I wound up driving one of the regular customers to get donuts and then driving home. The other cashiers kept a folding knife at the cash wrap with which to defend themselves, I put it away when I worked because I figured it was safer to not have it out and around. The company was also fined for selling synthetic marijuana in violation of city law after I left.

      Both of those jobs I left pretty much immediately, interviewed for different jobs and pretty much gave a tl;dr explanation – for the second one, “Right before I was hired there was an armed robbery at the shop. Nothing about the procedures and conditions at the shop have changed and I’m very concerned it will happen again while I am working there” – as the reason for leaving.

      Nobody ever expressed anything other than complete sympathy and understanding about why I wanted to leave when I put it that way and I had no problem getting other jobs.

    5. ideasoflight*

      It’s not safe and … yeah, that’s pretty much standard for that industry. I had a friend describe my last leasing job as “meat shield”. I got followed around the property and threatened and screamed at like, daily.

  7. Boo Hoo*

    Wait? Is this my old apartment? We had a roof cave in and the whole complex moved out for months, four fires, non stop fire alarms going off for no reason, three car thefts, a hit and run, a reality show filmed (90 Day Fiance for those wondering and yes Anfisa was insane, constant screaming all around the building and threatening to key my car for thanking her husband for holding the door for me while my arms were full), a high speed chase end in the back of my boyfriends car, a guy die by plowing into a palm tree on our property, a flood (numerous), on and on. haha. Seems familiar.

    1. From the High Tower on the Hill*

      Please tell me you were able to see Anfisa and Jorge interact. They intrigue me so much.

      1. boo hoo*

        I did. She screams and walks away he follows and apologizes. Just like the show. They were doors down from me so I saw them frequently and they never once looked anything but miserable.

        1. From the High Tower on the Hill*

          Oh poor Jorge. Always felt so bad for him (I can anonymously be into 90 Day Fiance on here which is amazing)

          1. Boo Hoo*

            Me too. I can only say all my brief interactions with her were always pleasant. I think he is a cutie too. I love those chubby Spanish boys (married one hehe). Of course, now he is in jail!

            We all have our guilty pleasures! I for sure hide it from anyone other than my husband and mom. That and my OC Housewives obsession. I lived where they did when it started so got into it. I can barely watch anymore but I fast forward to get the gist. Fun fact I have seen many in person and Laurie is the most beautiful….and so kind. Also at Target one day I heard this guy just bashing his ex “I am going to take her for everything, take the kids, turn them against her she’s a this and that, bla bla”. Horrible things were being said. I turned around to see what it was all about and it was Simon (Tamra’s husband). Put some of her crap from him into perspective.

            Oh and I am in the back round on an episode of Overhaulin….with no makeup, and a hat, and sweatpants, ughhh, no idea they were filming footage for it at my business as we were just there on an early Sunday morning for a car delivery.

            Who knew OC was such a reality show melting pot.

            1. From the High Tower on the Hill*

              Dear lord, have an extra bedroom you are looking to rent out? This sounds like my dream home. Promise I am not the meth head from OP’s letter.

    2. Cucumberzucchini*

      This comment has absolutely made my day. My husband and I got really into 90 Day Fiance and Anfisa was maybe the second weirdest on that show. Of course Muhammed and Danielle were the “winners” but still.

      1. Boo Hoo*

        My husband has started to get a bit into it too. He said he hated the last “before the 90 days” season the just ended. He didn’t like the couples. We just on Sunday watched the new batch of 90 Days and he said he is way more into this season. That’s good for me also because I don’t feel bad forcing him to watch it.

        I actually never had watched it until my mom called my one day telling me to turn on the show. She said “isn’t that your apartment building, omg isn’t that your car!” haha. I turned it on then and followed out of curiosity.

        Danielle and Muhammed, I mean, ugh. How she didn’t see the obvious is beyond me. I want to feel bad for her but she is just so freaking ridiculous I cannot. Nicole and Azin? are the same. There’s being blind to love and there is sheer stupidity.

        1. ThankYouRoman*

          I’ve never liked the couples. The whole process feels so skin crawling to me. I’m fascinated that people feel bad for anyone on this shameful show. But it shows y’all are such better people than I am (not throwing a dig, I’m a cold soul in regards to what reeks to me as mail order spouses in most situations portrayed on the show).

    3. Canadian Public Servant*

      I had never heard of this show, and read it as “90 day finance” (like, some sort of real estate closing period show?) One quick google search has now led me down a lot of rabbit holes…

      1. From the High Tower on the Hill*

        Trust me, stay away from the YouTube rabbit hole, there are somethings you can never fully escape.

      2. boo hoo*

        But the question is did you find any new real estate financing options? Or just disturbing stuff. Haha.

    4. anycat*

      omgggggg. my trashy tv loving alter ego LOVES this.
      i think i really enjoyed the wholesome couple where he was from new orleans and she was from thailand, and i think they moved back to thailand? i felt bad for him because his family seemed cruddy. i honestly wish them the best.

      mohammaed and danielle are insane, so was the other couple where he bought everything for his new wife the exact same as his old wife (same color/year/model mazda, kept comparing her to the old wife).

  8. Amber Rose*

    Have you considered a salt circle around your desk to keep the demons out? 0_o
    I mean, that’s basically how the hellmouth in Buffyverse worked. Everything was crazy and violent all the time, and everyone just ignored it and acted like all was well.

    You don’t have to be that way. You can leave. You can decide that hanging out on a hellmouth is not conducive to a long, happy future. You can decide that getting out is worth burning the bridge behind you (and quite frankly, that’s not a bridge you should wanna go back across.)

    1. I Love Thrawn*

      Well, remember what happened eventually – the entire town was swallowed up. Nobody wants to be there for that.

    2. Angela Ziegler*

      I mean, if we’ve learned anything from the Winchester brothers, it’s that holy water and/or salt takes care of like 90% of supernatural problems!

      Interesting how everyone else at the property acts like it’s all normal, though.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      This is why Alison says not to stay at a toxic job, we grow numb then we lose a sense of what normal looks like.

    4. researchmanager*

      I love you all. Can we be BFFs? I’m currently re-watching and am on season three. Five by five

  9. I wrote this in the bathroom*

    I hope you pressed charges on the pool crashers. We deal with those types at our complex, too. Take them to small claims court for the cost of cleaning the pool.

    1. The Original I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I agree with this comment, but I am not the one who wrote it! I guess there are two of us here now! What are the odds?

    2. irene adler*

      A good idea. Can’t let people get away with damaging the property.

      Sometimes more hassle than it’s worth. Getting a judgment is one thing; collecting on it is quite another thing.

      1. FaintlyMacabre*

        Yep, collecting is the hard part. And I know from experience in my state at least, it’s basically impossible if they have children.

    3. ThankYouRoman*

      But to sue them they have to breech a contract. This works if it’s a resident or you can tack it onto a resident as an unruly guest.

      You can’t get a judgement because a vagrant poops on your property. Pooping on residential properties is a huge issue around here because of the homelessness issue…

      1. ThankYouRoman*

        Oh wait. By pressing charges you mean by using the criminal system as well.

        Sigh. Cops won’t show up for this here.

      2. Hannah*

        I think it is more in the arena of malicious vandalism. Pooping next to a tree because you don’t have access to a toilet is one thing. Pooping in a pool as a form of protest for being asked to leave is malicious, and damages property. You have to go through a whole thing to clean the pool now.

      3. Hallowflame*

        You can sue them for damage to private property, and attempt to collect the cost of draining/cleaning/refilling/shocking the pool. It’s the same as if someone put graffiti on the side of your house, you could sue them for the cost of fixing the damage.

        1. ThankYouRoman*

          I’m curious about the burden of proof involved.

          Like unless you catch a vandal on tape, can’t it come down to if someone is willing to commit perjury? What’s to stop my psycho downstairs neighbor from scrawling on their front door and swearing they saw me doing it? Won’t it be thrown out without tangible evidence like a video or witnesses that shows mom telling junior to squeeze one out? Even then witnesses are subjective.

          1. Hallowflame*

            IANAL: I would expect a witness to the event, like a resident that was also at the pool at that time, or another staff member, would be sufficient for small claims court, where this would be litigated.

          2. Magenta Sky*

            If you’re feeling vindictive enough to spend the money, human feces can be DNA tested. I suspect Mom would be very, very resistant to having her little hellions give up a sample, but judges take a dim view of that.

            There’s even a small chance you could recover the cost of the testing as part of the judgement.

      4. Mimi Me*

        But couldn’t they pursue trespassing charges or something similar? The non-residents were asked to leave, they didn’t. This isn’t quite the same as a homeless person pooping on property because there’s no where for them at the time. This was a family who had been told that they weren’t allowed and literally revenge pooped before they left. I’m not a lawyer, I don’t know…but there ought to be something the property could do.

  10. 1234567891011112 do do do*

    I presume that you meant the employee was repairing cars as a side hustle, but I definitely read “side car repair business” as a business that repairs side cars for motorcycles. I don’t see enough side cars to think that it’s a big enough market for a business, but maybe I’m wrong.

      1. OP*

        Yeah, sorry, he was repairing cars as a side hustle. And making employees under him help… while they were on the clock. It was crazy.

    1. Phony Genius*

      With all of the other nonsense going on here, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a specialty business repairing side cars. (Anybody else here flashing back to the Harpo/Groucho motorcycle scenes in Duck Soup?)

    2. whomever*

      A friend of mine races motorcycles with side cars. And puts his kids in the side car to go around town. There’s definitely an active community; no idea who repairs his but I assume someone.

    3. FaintlyMacabre*

      I used to live near a guy who had a sidecar for his golden retriever*. Who cares if the business is profitable? It’s adorable!

      *The dog wore goggles!

      1. mrs__peel*

        At the moment, my *only* retirement goal is to drive around town with a dog in a motorcycle side car. Preferably wearing a little leather jacket and aviator goggles…

  11. Bee's Knees*

    Wow, OP. Wow. That is bananas, and I’m sorry that it’s happening to you. I mean, my work place gets a little weird, but if you described that to me and told me it was an episode of Supernatural or Buffy, I’d believe you. I kind of want to hear from some of the other people who work there, and what they did previously that they are seemingly unfazed by this. My guess is retail.
    Also, think of the stories you’ll have to tell once you’re at your new job. People might not believe you, but still.

    1. OP*

      I actually asked how everyone was so unfazed one day. They all just kind of looked at me blankly for a sec, shrugged, and said that it was just the way things always were around here and that they’ve been around long enough to be used to it. Then they told me a story about a wall full of dead squirrels that COULD HAVE CURLED MY HAIR.

      1. Eloise*

        I am just so incredibly grateful that nothing in my work life to date has required using the phrase “a wall full of dead squirrels.”

        1. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

          I now have a new go-to phrase for “It could be worse”: At least it isn’t a wall of dead squirrels.

            1. an infinite number of monkeys*

              It’s cumulative, like one of those nursery rhymes where each verse adds on to the last. “It could be worse! At least it’s not cancer or an eating disorder! Or a wall full of dead squirrels!”

        2. Jen S. 2.0*

          I just made a noise I’ve never made before, which was somewhere between a squeal, a laugh, a sob, and a gasp. “Wall full of dead squirrels” has officially taken me down.

          1. WonderingHowIGotHere*

            I was reading this thread at close to midnight last night, including bits out loud because my husband wanted to know what the funny noises I was making were all about. Mild hysteria followed the vegetable garden, and 15 knives in the ceiling, to the extend that now both of us are going to have to function at our work place on less than 6 hours sleep. But at least it’s not a wall full of dead squirrels!

            (I feel bad that I have giggled throughout this entire thread, including – I’m sorry – the initial letter. It’s not that I’m laughing AT your misfortune, but the sheer scale of it just boggles my mind. I almost think someone really ticked off the GoodLuck Fairy.

      2. Torch*

        Yeah, it sounds like my stint in retail. I was there for five years and by the end had seen just about everything. We had meth heads who would come in to steal DVD box sets threatening us with knives, someone we called the Unipooper because they’d left a single turd at the top of our escalator, mentally ill people who at best would rope you into a 20-minute conversation and at worst would scream expletives at you. Towards the end of my tenure, the newbies would be completely freaked out and I’d just be like, “Eh, just another Tuesday.”

        1. MatKnifeNinja*

          My brother was a retail manager. The feces elves are real.

          People would poop under the circular clothing racks, and grab a small, new trash can and poop in there too.

          Had two guys run out of the store with a kayak. Good times.

        2. Mimi Me*

          I worked for a store that had a working sink to test product. Every day we’d have a guy – who worked in the mall!- come in and brush his teeth at our sink. Literally every time he would work a shift in the mall he’d come in and brush his teeth in our store. Brought his own tooth brush and toothpaste too. And we’d just stand there and watch him do it. We tried to stop him in the beginning but security told us he wasn’t breaking any laws so it got to the point where we were like “hey, I guess Larry’s not working today. He didn’t come in to brush his teeth.”

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I don’t understand why he had to be breaking a law. That’s not his sink and he needed to stop.

      3. Hallowflame*

        OP, it sounds like there is going to have to be some significant staff turnover before there is any significant change at this property. The existing staff is so numb to the chaos they either don’t notice it or they have made it work to their own advantage. Either way, they have no incentive to change.

      4. Bee's Knees*

        Mind control, maybe. And we had a tootsie roll rat at one place I worked, but it was just the one. And not asterrifying as I’m sure a WALL FULL OF DEAD SQUIRRELS would be. That’s when I would just walk to my car, nope-ing the whole way home.

      5. Autumnheart*

        A wall…full…of dead squirrels. What.

        I’m dying to know more about all the shenanigans.

  12. Yep, me again*

    I would think the manager ‘retraining the residents’ would have been a red flag. Coming as one whose ignored those in the past, I don’t blame OP at all for that.

    1. Hallowflame*

      Eh, if you mean a red flag about the manager, I disagree.
      I live in an apartment complex where the ownership and management have changed hands a couple of times in the past two years, and the most recent management is definitely having to retrain the residents on what to expect from the from office. Under old management, routine work orders would take weeks to be completed, and usually required the resident making a lot of phone calls and visits to the office to get the issue addressed. And no one in the office rarely answered the phone. You had to go to the office in person, during their very limited open hours, to talk to anyone.
      New management is having to redefine the residents’ expectations on how the office and maintenance staff will respond, and “train” us out of thinking that we all have to be a squeaky wheel in order to be heard.

  13. Elle*

    Do you care more about this woman’s feelings / opinion more than you care about your own mental health? Because that’s the choice you’re making by staying.
    If this woman was having to talk herself into the car every morning (yes, I’ve been there, it sucks) you better believe she wouldn’t extend the same courtesy to you.
    I know, I know. Guilt is a powerful thing. But sometimes you need to put yourself first.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Totally agree and adding this woman is NO friend of yours, OP. She knew how this place was a out right lied to you. You owe her zero.
      I notice at no point in your email do you mention your boss’ concern or management’s concern. Just my experience but when the higher ups are not worried about serious stuff like this that is because they have their own full set of corruption going on. My bet is if you stay, this story will get worse than it is now.

  14. wheeeee*

    OP is not just miserable, s/he is in physical danger on a daily basis. If the boss gets upset over the resignation, so be it. I think the OP should be upset because the job was misrepresented prior to the hiring.

  15. the_scientist*

    You may want to consider hiring an exorcist while waiting to leave for your new job (jk, jk).

    Until you’re able to leave, one small suggestion: I used to work at a mental health hospital that treated people on an inpatient and outpatient basis. Wearing a hospital lanyard clearly identified you as staff and it was virtually impossible to walk anywhere on the grounds of the hospital, or eat lunch outside, etc. without being approached by hospital clients. Some of these clients would want to start conversations that could be difficult to follow or aggressive in tone, and the most valuable thing I learned at that job was from a psychiatrist who was a legit expert at cutting these conversations off quickly but politely. You need to develop a few “conversation closers” so that in the case where someone is trying to rope you into a weird or uncomfortable conversation, you’re able to extricate yourself quickly. Even something as simple as “well, thank you for your feedback, you have a nice day” and then turning away/going back to your computer can work. Moving into another space (say a back office) is even better. Maybe you’ve already tried these things- but just a reminder that you don’t HAVE to get stuck in long-winded, unproductive conversations. You can shut the conversation down politely and safely!

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Great point. We also used redirects, “And where are you supposed to be right now?” If you can think of redirects,too, OP that might help.

  16. Sammy*

    It’s been a couple months. Why do you even need to acknowledge this job when you apply for others, in a totally different field? You were in property management, moved to project management, and that’s it. Since then you’ve been looking for another project management position, but you haven’t found it yet. Why you left your “last position” is you got laid off for financial reasons and you’re excited about what you’re interviewing for because it matches x, y, and z things you liked about your “last position”.

    1. OP*

      I thought about that, but the current job came with a very hefty pay bump (and now I know why), and I’d like to match it (or at least not be too far off from it) at my next job.

      1. Daniel*

        I hear you…especially considering that your savings took a hit after the first spell of unemployment. But yeah, start applying for new jobs now. There’s no reason to put up with this level of insanity if you have ANY other option.

      2. Ka*

        Well, you might not be able to, but there are more important things in life than money.

        It sounds like this job might have some serious ‘hazard pay’ built in because they know how insane it is. So you might not be able to match that elsewhere.

      3. OlympiasEpiriot*

        Then ask for that amount. You don’t need to tell them what you are making now or were at the old place.

      4. Mrs. D*

        You may need to do some research on the market rate for jobs you’re applying for (if you haven’t already done so). If the salary range for similar positions is around what you’re looking for, then no reason why you can’t try to negotiate for that. I would hesitate to try to ask for the same pay if it’s wildly above what the typical salary is for the jobs you apply for; employers may see that as a red flag that you’re out of touch with the industry.

        1. OP*

          Oh, I’m not planning on applying for anything where the pay rate that I want would be wildly out of range! That would just waste everyone’s time.

      5. [insert witty username here]*

        Ideally, you shouldn’t have to give out your salary in the first place. Try to avoid it if you can. Whatever new position you move into doesn’t have anything to do with this one (even if, god forbid, it’s in property mgmt) so your current salary shouldn’t be relevant to any new position. If they ask what your salary range is, pick a range based on the new job requirements, not what you’re making now. Best of luck!

        1. OP*

          Unfortunately, pretty much every job application I have ever filled out has specifically asked for salary information. I’d hate to leave that blank when there isn’t anything on the application indicating that filling that part out is optional, you know? A lot of the listings for positions that I’m interested in are also pretty sparse regarding salary information, or list a pretty wide range (the amount that I would like usually falls squarely in the middle in those cases.)

          1. Alli525*

            I wonder if you could do something similar to a list of references, where you can just say “salary history available at request” (ignoring the fact that the application technically “requests” it). IF that works – I don’t know if it would – you’d then be able to have a conversation with the hiring manager.

            State laws in the U.S. are starting to change to prevent employers for asking for salary history – this is a great thing to write to your representatives about… you know, between dodging flaming chainsaws and scooping poop out of pool filters.

            1. all the candycorn*

              Yeah, but with online application, if there’s a box for previous pay and it won’t advance the page if you leave it blank or try to put letters instead of numbers, you have to either put in a number or skip applying for the job.

          2. Quackeen*

            Well, it is being phased out as a legal question in some states, so perhaps you won’t have to deal with that.

            I do think your former manager knew exactly what she was getting you into and threw a ton of money at you/the problem. I hope you can get out soon. I’m in a similar position of looking for a job 3 months in, and it stinks.

          3. Tara S.*

            Oh no, fill out that information with all zeros! And OlympiasEpiriot’s link! Sometimes big orgs add that without thinking too hard about and if they really care they’ll bring it up during the screen/interview.

          4. Not So NewReader*

            Not snark, I promise. It may come down to having the rate of pay you like or having your sanity and your health, you have to pick one.

            So if you are sure this is the route you want to go how many months do you think you can last at this job? Serious. Because it sounds like your life is in danger daily, so weigh it out, how much more of this do you want to do?

      6. ideasoflight*

        I took a pay cut to get out of a place like this, but it got me into a stable union job with a reputable local company, which ended up very worth it (both long term and from the standpoint of my health/safety). You don’t have to find the right thing right away, even! Just _getting out of there_ should be your priority.

    2. Daniel*

      That’s what I was thinking, too. It sounds like the OP’s previous job ended only about three months ago; that’s not an unusual stretch of unemployment at all.

    3. TootsNYC*

      You can also cast this job as “taking on a short-term project / doing a favor for a friend in my old field”

      1. TonyTonyChopper*

        This this this this this. Just say you were laid off, took this role as a favor to a former colleague/manager/whatever and that you never intended it to be long term. They don’t need to know your short term was originally a year, but is now 2-3 months.

    4. MLB*

      It’s better to be honest than to be caught in a lie. I think any reasonable person would be fine with Alison’s script when interviewing for a new job. And if they aren’t reasonable, you’re better off avoiding another possible toxic environment.

    1. Rat in the Sugar*

      OP really needs to write all this down and sell it as a sitcom script after she’s escaped and recovered from this place!

      Also, OP, you say that your friend expects you to be in it for the long haul, but she didn’t take the time to warn you and keeps giving you impossible deadlines–I’d say her expectations are a little off. I’m sure she’ll be surprised when you leave but she really, really shouldn’t be.

      1. mark132*

        I’m not sure anyone would buy it. It’s just true crazy to be fiction. (I do believe the OP btw, just it’s over the top for fiction).

      1. Yep, me again*

        When that happened the cops could have been called. I would have. You’re trespassing and you’ve damaged property.

        1. Cochrane*

          I’m jealous. I can barely get my kids to clean their rooms, let alone defecate on command into a swimming pool.

    2. No Mas Pantalones*

      Ditto. Though I appreciated the follow through on the story.

      Sidenote: How do kids poop on command??

      1. OP*

        It was a very, very large group of kids and several moms, and only one kid actually pooped, so my best guess is just some sort of mathematical equation? “If you ask X children to poop, Y will be able to comply.”

      1. Oh So Very Anon*

        Mom: Do you need to go to the bathroom before we leave?
        Kid: No.
        Mom: You’d better go.
        Kid: I don’t have to.
        Mom: Are you sure?
        Kid: Yeah. Leave me alone.

        10 minutes into car trip:
        Kid: Moooommmmmm…..

    1. Amber Rose*

      Actually, this reminds me that the winners of the Economics Ig Nobel prize this year did a study on whether using a Voodoo doll to retaliate against a terrible boss was effective.

      Their conclusion appears to be that yes, it was. :D

  17. Doggies Everywhere*

    OP, could you please come and take over as property manager at my apartment? You sound like a responsible person. The staff here is HORRIBLE! The property manager yelled at me when I brought up concerns of my neighbor abusing her dog (actually fought with me about it). She will also tell tenants it’s “not her problem” when they raise safety concerns. The maintenance guy is currently sleeping with my animal abusing neighbor and is now neglecting all his duties (there’s been trash all over the grounds for over TWO WEEKS). I haven’t been comfortable around him for a few months now when he tried to ask me out (I’m in my mid twenties, and he’s in his fifties). It’s just a disastrous zone here. I’d take you as my property manager, OP!

    1. Animal shelter volunteer*

      Hey, total side tangent as to what is being discussed, but please call animal services on your neighbor. You can ask to remain anonymous. I volunteer for a city animal shelter (that receives animals from animal control) and think that some people are hesitant to call AC because they think the animal will 100% be put down. That’s not usually the case! We have had many a happy dog or cat adopted that was previously abused or boarded but ended up in our care because a neighbor called in! Just my two cents

      1. Dankar*

        Yes! Call animal control immediately. I did the same when our upstairs neighbors were abusing their dog. The sheriff’s department sent someone down the next morning (I called late the night before) and took the dog to a local no-kill shelter. It was all over before I even left for work.

        They took my first name down and my building number, but not any other information, and kept my complaint completely anonymous. My neighbors moved away a few weeks later, so there’s no telling what could have happened if I didn’t call when I did!

        1. intrinsically blah*

          At my apartment complex there were some neighbors who were always just this side of abuse. Animal control would be called, they’d come out, look at the poor dog and say “technically he’s got enough water, etc.” . But my fellow renters nonetheless called animal control so many times on them they finally gave the poor dog up.

    2. Yep, me again*

      Ohh, my turn! At the apartment community I lived there was gym. However, the office wouldn’t buy a lock for the door so kids would go in an vandalize the bathrooms which you accessed through the gym.
      Well, the apartment manager finally bought a lock-for the bathrooms. The gym door was still open and free for all. So between running on a full bladder(and needing to do #2) and the homeless people sleeping on the treadmills (you read that right. One had a blanket and everything) it was pretty damn inconvenient. My property manager’s response-Meh. Don’t bother me about it, I have to make a Starbucks run.
      True story. Wish it wasn’t.

      1. Hallowflame*

        It would definitely become that manager’s problem when you started leaving Google reviews about the property and reporting those problems to corporate/the owners of the property.

        1. Michaela Westen*

          Yelp is good too. I used it to find my current building, which is the best management I’ve seen.

    3. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      Yeah. The apartment I lived in while I was in college had horrible property management. They sent me eviction notices THREE times and I was NEVER late on my rent. They just applied my rent check to the wrong account, even though I put my apartment number on my rent check! (They conveniently skipped all the steps that would come before an eviction notice – like a late rent notification, late fees, etc, and just posted an envelope on the outside of my door that basically said “You have 3 days to move out”)

      They also refused to give me a receipt when I went in to pay the rent, so I would make them make a copy of the check and sign that they received it. I was a perfectly decent tenant. I wasn’t loud, I left the apartment pretty clean, was a decent neighbor, but could not wait to get out of that place!

    4. OP*

      WHAT. NO. Not acceptable! (For either the manager or the maintenance worker.) There are different things you can do depending on whether the property is being run by a big management company, is owned and run locally, etc, but NONE OF THAT IS OKAY. I would definitely start by leaving many online reviews (encourage any decent neighbors to, as well!) on many different sites, call or email corporate (if there is a a corporate headquarters to contact), document EVERYTHING, and definitely look into giving notice and moving once your lease is up. And DEFINITELY call Animal Control on your hideous neighbors.

      The sad animal stories you collect in property management can be enough to break you. :(

  18. This Daydreamer*

    Great Googly Moogly.

    Leave. Now. Before Halloween if AT ALL possible. In the meantime, stock up on salt, sage, and holy water and try to track down a young priest and an old priest. And a witch. And a voodoo practitioner.

    And write a book once you’ve escaped. I’d like to pre-order it if you don’t mind.

    1. From the High Tower on the Hill*

      My mom keeps a bottle of holy water in her kitchen at all times, just in case.

  19. Master Bean Counter*

    What to say to your manager when you leave? “Sorry you don’t need a property manager you need an exorcist.”
    But really can you talk them into security for the complex? At least temporarily? Somebody with eyes out and the ability to document and call the police should calm down the residents a bit or give you the grounds to evict the problem children.

    1. FD*

      This is me too.

      Where are the cameras? Security measures? Protocols for what to do with people who behave inappropriately?

      Are they not evicting people? The convicted murderer presumably lied on his application–unless they spectacularly messed up in their paperwork, misrepresentation is usually grounds for eviction and repeatedly keeping residents who aren’t on the lease definitely is.

      You have several problems, realistically here, and NONE of them are solvable by you.

      1) Where the blue hell are the property owners in all this? Surely they can’t be OK with how this property is being run right now. Unless they don’t care as long as it cash flows in which case…

      2) The owner of this company cannot possibly be setting proper expectations with her clients (e.g. the owners of the properties) with what they will and won’t put up with. Good PM companies don’t take clients who want to run their properties this badly. Which means…

      3) A good PM company should have systems and plans in place for this. Heck, our manual actually describes what to do if you’re onsite in case of a nuclear emergency. Clearly, the owner is not doing this or isn’t acting on it, which means this whole thing is a dumpster fire.

    2. MatKnifeNinja*

      Being mentally ill isn’t a crime. I rent in a huge complex, and had the schizophrenic neighbor HOWL like a wolf for hours. Couldn’t do crap about it. He could howled between 7 am to 10 pm, outside of those times the apartment could have done something.

      Rental security is usually worse than mall cops. Maybe in Manhattan with zillion dollar owned apartments you get good security. Suburban slum lords making $1K on 1000 sq ft townhouses aren’t going to sh*t.

      1. Master Bean Counter*

        I know being mentally ill isn’t a crime. Camping out by the pool when you aren’t a resident and defecating into it are both crimes. Trespassing and at the very least criminal damage. Being high while in public is a crime. Hit and run is a crime. #9 may not be a crime in and of itself, but I’m betting there’s something illegal going on there. Even if there isn’t, knowing that’s there’s a extra set of eyes watching the situation can curb anything illegal that might happen. Not to mention all of the break-ins and vandalism…both of which are crimes.

      2. Karyn*

        You can get out of a lease for not getting reasonable enjoyment of your apartment. Consider calling the police non-emergency line to do a wellness check (balance this against your local police’s track record of working with mentally ill people).

        1. TootsNYC*

          that’s not quite what that means

          From the NYTimes:

          A ”A lot of people are confused by the term ‘quiet enjoyment,’ ” said Lucas A. Ferrara, a Manhattan real estate lawyer.

          ”The term basically means that the landlord is assuring you that he has the power to give you a valid lease for your apartment and that some third party won’t claim an interest in the premises that conflicts with yours,” Mr. Ferrara said. He added that if a tenant can use and occupy an apartment without someone else claiming an interest in it, the promise of ”quiet enjoyment” has not been breached.

          From the American Bar Association:

          What does “right of quiet enjoyment” of the premises mean?

          That legal phrase does not refer to noise; it refers to the tenant’s legal right to occupy the apartment. The landlord would violate the right by renting the same apartment to two different tenants or by removing the tenant’s belongings.

          Caveat: Some states may have laws that define it differently.

  20. loslothluin*

    You need to fill the pool with holy water exorcise the hell out of that place. I’ve never heard of so much in one place in my life.

    The only other advice I have is: RUN, FOREST, RUN!

  21. Ghostbuster*

    OP, if you don’t update us within 6 months we’re going to assume you’ve been murdered. Please get out and let us know you got out.

    1. OP*

      If I don’t have an update in 6 months, that may be a fair assumption. Or maybe a tree will have fallen on me, or I’ll have been run over by a golf cart…

        1. serenity*

          I think OP should send her deets to Alison, who can follow up with her (and with authorities, if need be) in 6 months time.

      1. SignalLost*

        Possessed golf cart drives itself into a tree, which falls on you. Golf cart drives itself away, chuckling demonically.

  22. Jerry*

    >I obviously can’t just bail

    I’m going to give you push back on that. You’re allowed to leave whenever you want. You work at a place where they have demonstrated that they have a security risk, but I haven’t heard anything about a security strategy.

    Some jobs are just inherently riskier than others: psych wards, prisons, public hospitals, war zones , some schools, and evidently some segments of the property management market, but they all have robust security strategies to mitigate risk to the customers and employees. It doesn’t sound like they’ve done that here. Unless the *specific* reason you were hired was to develop that strategy, the conversation isn’t about you being unable to bail, quite the opposite. You can’t work there. Your safety comes first.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      >I obviously can’t just bail

      Sure you can. Just do it. The boss lies to you, the company does not worry about your safety, you are left with handling situations that need to be handled by specific professionals and on and on.

      It’s only been two months and this culture is starting to warp your thinking already. Someone punches you in the mouth and steals your wallet, you are not indebted to this person. Likewise, someone lies to you about a job, pays you so much money so they own you (you feel you cannot leave) then has total disregard for your safety and well being, you owe these people NOTHING.

  23. BadWolf*

    Since your friend basically hired you on the spot with a pay bump…it is possible that she knows it’s a hellhole and is hoping you are Buffy.

    So if you say, “Wow, this isn’t for me, I’m more of a Xander and don’t want to lose any eyes” she might just sigh deeply and regretfully, but understandingly.

        1. AKchic*

          She needs Constantine, the Scooby gang *and* the entire Winchester entourage. Maybe even the Halliwells.

    1. Else*

      +1 for the eye reference! Also, Buffy DIED at least once, and most of us don’t come back from that

              1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

                And a wall full of dead squirrels (but I don’t think this lyric scans very well…)

    2. Jennifer Thneed*

      This was my impression. Also “Apparently they were about to move forward with a candidate and then I dropped in out of the sky.” No. Either she bailed completely on someone she was interviewing, or there wasn’t actually a candidate. Both of these situations are no bueno.

  24. Caryn Z*

    So sorry. I found property management to be horrible, both individual residential rentals and apartment management. You can just bail though! You can’t risk your safety and mental health.

  25. Nita*

    Hmm. I think this needs lots of holy water or something, but trying to tackle this from a non-supernatural angle… is there any screening process for tenants? If there is, something seems to be lacking in it. Also, is there an eviction process for tenants who create an unsafe environment? The company may need to work with a lawyer to make sure they’re not breaking laws with screening/eviction, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be done. Also, I can’t speak to the natural disasters, but it’s quite possible that the other disasters (accidents, fires, random people wandering in) are happening thanks to the general atmosphere of chaos and frustration.

    All that said, I once had a run-in with a property that hated me. I was there once a month, or less, but every time there would be some kind of minor accident. Nothing obviously impossible, like rocks falling upward – just things that were very unlikely to happen. This didn’t happen when I was at other sites. This didn’t happen when my coworkers were at this one. But put me on the job, and expect to lose heat in January, or have a routine repair turn into a week-long saga of accidental property damage. I stopped coming to this property before I really put two and two together, but I had some business on the same block a few years later, and walked past it without thinking. It was being demolished. I really should have known better – not half an hour later, the building collapsed. It’s a lucky thing no one was hurt badly, but if I’d taken the same road back to the office, I might not be here today. The entire sidewalk was buried in bricks and rubble – it even reached the cars parked in the street.

    So my advice is, get out before it gets worse, and don’t feel guilty.

  26. TootsNYC*

    when it comes time to quit, point out to her that you HAVE done lots of great things for her–you cleaned up the account delinquency, for one–that’s a big thing to have left behind you.

    And emphasize to her any other things you will have left behind. (Training is deficient? See if you can at least make procedures manuals, etc., even if no one is willing to use them–it’s something you can control the doing of, and it will look good to her.)

    Also–you may have burned a bridge with that manager, but it’s better than being dragged into the netherworld!

    1. Essess*

      It should not burn a bridge with the manager to simply tell her that you cannot continue to have your life threatened as part of your job so you needed to leave for your own personal safety.

  27. Temperance*

    I’m wondering if it might be an issue where there are a good number of people living there who are getting some kind of housing support (like the paranoid schizophrenic man, who very likely can’t support himself), so the property owners/management team care less about the actual residents and quality of housing. Which leads to a shitty situation for OP and others who *do* care, because you end up taking on craptastic tenants who are unpleasant to live near, so anyone who can afford to leave, will leave.

    When my former LL bought the building that I used to live in, she proactively booted all of the problem tenants and let the police know that she was aware of its reputation, and encouraged them to swing by more often (if they wanted).

    1. Anon for CYA*

      Honestly, I think it’s likely more a matter of the management not doing their jobs and/or taking on clients who aren’t willing to deal with issues.

      We run several complexes that have about 30% of the tenants receiving some sort of support, ranging from Section 8 to programs that help people get out of homelessness/help with mental health issues. If that’s the case–where are the case workers in all this?

      That’s usually where we go first in a case like that. First, if someone is having that sort of issue, a case worker may be able to connect them with resources a property manager can’t. Second, tenants getting assistance often have a big incentive to behave if we stay in contact with the program, as they can loose their assistance if they break the terms of the lease. (Truthfully in my experience, we do fewer evictions and often have fewer problems with tenants getting assistance than with those who aren’t because we have someone who truly WANTS to make it work for both the landlord and the tenant. Obviously this isn’t true in every case, but more often than I had expected from the reputation you hear sometimes.)

      Badly run properties are about badly done management.

    2. OP*

      Nope! We don’t accept housing assistance. And there are pretty standard leasing criteria that all applicants must meet in order to be approved and moved in. That was part of why I was surprised by the resident end of everything, the sheer amount of crazy is unusual (even for property management). Like, some crazy, yes. That is not surprising. But the amount here is more crazy than I would typically see in a year or two at previous properties (with the addition of a lot of brand new to me experiences).

  28. SometimesALurker*

    I don’t mean to scold anyone for use of language, more to ask people to keep in mind for the future — a lot of Native Americans don’t like their customs, especially religious practices, used for profit or for jokes, and some of the “Indian burial ground” and “burn all the sage” remarks can fall into the latter category. Can I make a plea for more Buffy, less of that, unless it’s your community?

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I didn’t think sage was a Native American thing. It’s also very common in Wiccan circles.

      1. Else*

        Common Sage is native to the Mediterranean region, not either American continent, and burning herbs for purification is something that MANY cultures and religions around the world have done historically. Avoiding using terms like “Indian burial ground” and “smudging” which are specific references to a culture is respectful; avoiding mention of a common practice is not.

    2. Dance-y Reagan*

      Sage burning is not only Native American. Historically it is also Celtic and Criollo/indigenous Amazon.

    3. Little drummer girl*

      Yes, yes you do mean to “scold” and nitpick language choice – which is against AAM policy!

      1. Dee*

        I’m sure that “don’t nitpick” is not intended to be a shield against using someone’s religious practices as a joke.

    4. Member of the Lumbee Tribe of NC*

      I’m a card-carrying Native American and didn’t take offense. It was clearly meant as an offhand joke and I took it as such.

      1. And? SO?*

        Well, you don’t get to speak for all native Americans, though. Best to err on the side of not offending people (OP has addressed this in a separate comment below).

        1. dovidbawie*

          Wow, way to erase there. They didn’t say they did. Clearly Member of the Lumbee Tribe should speak their own voice, without degradation for it.

    5. No Mas Pantalones*

      I took it as a nod to the original Poltergeist movie, wherein the house from hell was indeed built on an ancient burial ground.

      That said, I am always in the More Buffy!!! camp.

      1. Rat in the Sugar*

        Actually, I thought it was a regular modern cemetery. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie, but that famous line about “you only moved the headstones!!” always makes me think of a regular graveyard and not something specifically Native or ancient. I could be making some incorrect assumptions about which burial sites have headstones, tho.

        1. curly sue*

          Poltergeist was about a 19th century European cemetery, yes- the sequels went into that as well. I think Pet Sematary used the Indian Burial Ground trope… also Amityville Horror and The Shining, iirc.

          1. OP*

            You are correct! I was conflating two movies. At any rate, I feel pretty bad about causing any offense. I definitely didn’t mean to, and will be more thoughtful in the future.

              1. Sacred Ground*

                Yeah, it does. It may have been unintentional and she may have been unaware of it but that doesn’t change anything. And the correct and decent thing to do when someone tells you the thing you said offended them is to acknowledge it and apologize, which she did.

                If you don’t realize you stepped on my foot, you’ve still stepped on my foot.

    6. Shark Whisperer*

      Isn’t the whole point of the “Indian burial ground” trope that Native Americans’ religious practices were trampled all over so there’s bound to be a ton of negative energy? I am sorry if I am wrong about this. I am not Native American myself. It just doesn’t seem to me like it should be widely viewed as offensive to say ‘building stuff on top of dead bodies = bad, building stuff on top of sacred sites full of dead bodies = extra bad, building stuff on top of a scared site full of dead bodies of horribly mistreated people = probably the most cursed something can be’

      1. Nancie*

        My guess is that Native Americans don’t love that some people are thinking of their ancestors as being all ghost-y and vengeance-y, instead of resting in peace or whatever the ancestors believed their optimal afterlife experience would be.

        I think Poltergeist had the right idea. If you want to go with the burial ground trope, punch up at a bunch of vaguely identified white settlers.

  29. Ginger*

    Please look for another job! This post brought back memories of when I worked in property management part-time while in college. I was the receptionist and got yelled at on a regular basis by property owners and tenants. The most memorable call was when an HOA for a condo building decided to increase their HOA payments by about $5 a month. My company had nothing to do with this decision, we just collected the payments. A lady called in 5 minutes before closing and screamed and cursed at me. I kept trying to tell her we didn’t have anything to do with it but she was determined to curse someone out. We closed at 5:00 everyday so promptly at 5:00 I told her we were closing and hung up. She called the next day and complained to my boss about how rude I was.

  30. FORMER_Property_Manager*

    I have managed properties – from high end luxury, to a 1950’s travel trailer park in a Detroit suburb… and I am never, EVER going back. I hear you! But do what you need to do to protect yourself – mentally and physically! I would suggest giving notice, but detailing why, and meanwhile apply for so many jobs and temp agencies!

  31. Gandalf the Nude*

    OP, I know you said everyone acts as if this is all very normal, but have you asked your manager or anyone else to be sure? I work in HR, not property management, but it seems like every couple years we just have a couple months where everything seems to happen at once and someone on the outside would probably think we’ve attracted the ire of a vengeful cosmic superpower. And we wouldn’t necessarily act like it was out of the norm because, in a way, it’s not, even though it’s short-lived. You probably know if that’s typical for property management. The problems with fellow employees notwithstanding, is it possible there’s just been a full moon over your property the last three months, and things could calm down? It could be worth talking to your manager and to see if she tells you something that helps you see a light at the end of the tunnel.

  32. Anon for CYA*

    I am depressingly not that surprised. I’ve encountered some completely insane dumpster fires in the property management companies just around my town. My favorites:

    – The owner who is frighteningly incompetent and I have anecdotal evidence of financial malpractice (not enough to prove anything). I have it from several tenants that she wouldn’t let people inspect units before they signed a lease, which is SUPER illegal in our state.
    – The large company operating 1,000+ units with several typos in their lease. My favorite is one (in the lease I signed) that accidentally specified that there would be a late fee if rent was paid on the 5th of the month.
    – The company that operates 1,500+ units and is notorious among local tenants for just–not doing maintenance, resulting in tenant lawsuits.

    And this is all in my local community! In a lot of states, you can start your own property management company if you have a real estate broker’s license. You usually get that by taking some classes, passing a test, and then practicing real estate for some number of years. (3 in my state).

    But you don’t ever have had to actually, you know, DONE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT to start a business in it, so a lot of people who were adequate (rarely exceptional–if you’re great at selling real estate you stick with that) at real estate sales go into it.

    1. Ama*

      Good, competent property managers are seriously undervalued because everyone thinks it’s just collecting rent and whatever, and no one thinks through the maintenance, tenant disputes, etc. I worked an academic administration job once where the grad school was considering buying a few apartments to rent out to our grad students (the school was located far away from the grad school housing on main campus and in an area where renting a decent apartment with no credit history — extremely common for our international students — was almost impossible). Only the big bosses were always looking to cut corners so at one point they floated to my boss that I could just handle collecting the rent, etc. (on top of my already ridiculous workload and with no additional money, btw).

      It’s actually one of my proudest professional moments that I managed to calmly tell my boss the numerous ways why this was an extremely bad idea (including pointing out that the larger university employed property managers to manage the issues in apartment buildings they owned, so clearly they considered academic administration and property management two different types of jobs). Because what I was thinking in the moment was “If this goes through I’ve finally found the thing that will make me quit without having anything else lined up.”

    2. Jennifer Thneed*

      Ditto for just being an owner of rentals. I shared an apartment with my sister in a building of 6 units. The new owner’s experience with rental properties was a single family dwelling, which she rented for over a decade to a handy guy who did all the repairs. Then she wanted to invest in an apartment building, and hoo-boy she was an interfering horrible person who, just as an example, didn’t want to put screen doors on our west-facing doors because she didn’t like the way they looked. (She didn’t live anywhere nearby. When I learned that she lived in a development with an HOA, a lot of her ridiculous behaviors and expectations made more sense.)

      I came out of that convinced that landlords should be licenced in the same way automobile drivers are, and they should have to pass a test to prove they know what the actual laws are in their area.

  33. Phony Genius*

    The list omits #9. I wonder if this was just a typo, or something really outrageous that was edited out for content.

    1. OP*

      That’s my bad! I had to cut the list way down before I sent it in–I realized that 1) my letter was REALLY REALLY LONG, and 2) Uh, the amount of stuff I originally had listed was maybe a little hard to believe. I guess I missed the numbering error when I was trimming the list up.

      1. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

        Oh now that’s dirty pool. We want the ones that didn’t make the cut!

        Sorry OP, I can’t imagine working in this environment. I did a part time stint in property management, but it was nothing like your experience. Good luck!

        1. OP*

          Well, there’s… a lot. You could always pick a category! Like:
          Resident Issues
          Where Did the Water in the Pool Go, It Was Just There
          Snakes, Snakes, and More Snakes
          Office Issues
          Move Out Horrors
          I Guess I’m the Courtesy Officer Now
          Pond Theft
          Eviction and Non-Renewal Stories
          Or you could just make up a category and see if I have a story for it…

            1. OP*

              Well, all of the ponds on the property have been steadily draining away (and at one point turned pink and all of the fish died, but that was before I started), and it turns out that some folks building a subdivision somewhere behind us started construction without permission and tapped into our ponds, which (along with the wetlands between us and them) are now draining into/filling the giant lake they are digging for their development.

              1. Snickerdoodle*

                Ohhhh, that’s a criminal offense. That is my field, and in my state at least it’s a felony to discharge wastewater without a permit. I hope that’s pursued.

              2. researchmanager*

                You can actually call the EPA on that – not sure if the current administration will be supportive. But the Army Corps of Engineers is also supposed to review and permit. I stopped a development near a wetland doing that about four years ago.

                1. OP*

                  The Army Corp of Engineers has… not been helpful. But the manager has done a lot of investigating, pulling of documentation, and also used a drone to get pictures. It’s now being turned over to the legal team, so fingers crossed, it will be taken care of.

          1. Rat in the Sugar*

            Echoing the call for the pond theft story! Please say it was about stealing the pond itself and not just something that was in it!

          2. AKchic*

            Why Is There A Used Condom There?!

            Um… I’ve worked in rehab and I have teenage boys. I don’t have to guess at all.

            1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

              Actually, it kinda depends where the “there” was…

              Based on the evidence so far, there’s ALWAYS room for guess work and surprise.

          3. LGC*

            NOT THE BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES, because I need to hear about a workplace that is LITERALLY FULL OF EVIL BEES.

            1. OP*

              Well, a hive of bees decided that what they really wanted to do was move in to a nice second floor two bedroom floor plan with a view. So they moved in via the dryer vent. The tenant already living there was displeased, so we transferred him to a new apartment (although he stalled for several weeks before he switched over). This sort of thing happens sometimes. Although NORMALLY you don’t also have a sudden wasp infestation AND a yellow jacket infestation at two other separate buildings and also discover the existence of insects called red velvet ants (I had to do a lot of googling to figure out what they were when I discovered them as they were not a bug I had ever seen anywhere before, fun fact, they are also known as “Cow Killers” because their sting is so painful) hanging out around the property all in the same one week period.

              In spite of deploying specialists, all of stinging insects keep returning. They always. Come. Back.

              1. Avatre*

                I am mildly disappointed that LGC has beaten me to the “literally full of evil bees” reference, but I hereby second that reference wholeheartedly!

              2. Michaela Westen*

                What kind of flowers do you have around? I used to be involved in a community garden and there were some orange flowers on vines, I think they’re called trumpet vines.
                The flowers were always full of wasps.
                They grew down off the lattice so the wasp-filled flowers were at eye level.
                After about 3 weeks when no one had done anything, I cut them down.
                I’m always the only one to do anything about obvious problems…
                Anyway, could there be flowers that are attracting the stinging insects? or something in the building? or the tenants’ perfume or air fresheners?

              3. LGC*

                and also discover the existence of insects called red velvet ants

                At first I was going to say that I’m glad I live up north away from those things, and then I Wiki’d and found out those evil things actually range from Connecticut to Missouri as well as down south.

                I don’t know how I managed to live this long without knowing about cow killers, but now that I do I’ll never be able to sleep again.

          4. Darrow*

            If you are taking requests, OP, I have GOT to hear about ‘Where did the Water in the Pool Go, It was Just There.”

            1. OP*

              Well, our office overlooks the extremely photogenic, VERY nice pool. It’s the main thing you see when you are in the office. And one day we came in, and the pool was totally normal. But then, shortly before lunch, I glanced outside and the pool was almost totally empty. ALMOST. TOTALLY. EMPTY. I went outside and walked out to the middle of the pool, guys. And did not get wet. Because the water was just GONE.
              Apparently this was all caused by a broken pipe. But it took awhile to figure that out, and since creepy stuff happens here a lot, there were theories ranging from determined-skate-boarding-resident-with-a-shot-vac to oh-maybe-there-really-is-a-poltergeist.

          5. Kyrielle*

            Made-up category, if you come back and want to do it: “I don’t even know how to begin explaining this one” (seems like it may apply to several of the stories we’ve heard, there must be one more, right?)

            1. OP*

              Well, three incredibly large pressure washers apparently disappeared without a trace sometime between yesterday and this morning…

      2. hey nonny nonny*

        Wait, what did you cut? Do you feel comfortable sharing that? I just… can’t picture what didn’t make this list!

      3. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

        Wow. You need to have a blog or a YouTube channel done Blair Witch Project style and share it with all of us so:
        A) We can know you are still alive
        B) We can hear more of the madness because O_O

  34. Emi.*

    Hi, you need an exorcist. In the meantime, go into any Catholic church and help yourself to the holy water in the font. If you catch the priest as he’s shaking hands after Mass he should bless some salt for you. Also, I will say a novena.

    1. From the High Tower on the Hill*

      One time as I was leaving church someone literally took a gallon sized milk jug and dunked it into the baptismal font. When I looked at them with a puzzled look on my face they said “what? it’s holy water for the week” which lends the question why they were using that much holy water each week.

      1. Emi.*

        My guess: they have their own doorside holy water font to bless themselves as they go in and out. It evaporates like crazy!

  35. chnellociraptor*

    Me, starting to read this post: Cool, a timely Halloween-ish TV character post based on Buffy!

    Me, halfway through this post: Oh. Oh no. Oh NO.

    1. chnellociraptor*

      As a side note though, yes, you definitely can just bail. I am a big proponent of sticking things out and honouring the spirit of an agreement, but everything you describe here voids that entirely. This is not a safe work environment. You 100% can bounce from this situation for your own safety.

  36. Dance-y Reagan*

    As the spouse of someone who left an unsafe job, I recommend highlighting that aspect if pressed to explain your reason for leaving so quickly. Being in bodily danger (especially in situations involving police reports that are traceable and thus easily proved) goes a long way in justifying what might otherwise look flaky.

  37. ThankYouRoman*

    I’ve always had the feeling that property management is a wild and crazy crapfest but I don’t have the strength after reading the letter.

    Please. Get out. You were thrown into a trap. Thank God they seemingly pay you well for the torture but precious few can deal with torture for enough money.

  38. Lana Kane*

    “I obviously can’t just bail, and a big part of me feels like a terrible person for wanting to head for the hills already when my manager just brought me on in good faith (at a great salary). ”

    So my first thought when I read this part of the letter was that I’m not so sure you were brought in on good faith, OP.

    It doesn’t sound like this property was represented correctly to you. There also seems to be a fairly legitimate reason as to why the previous manager left the place in shambles (maybe not completely deliberate, but with all this chaos not a lot of people could be expected to keep the admin side of things in tip-top shape. I have a suspicion that the person who hired you felt more confident that you would not bail as quickly as a brand-new person would, precisely because of the situation you were in. And if she wasn’t frank with you about this property, I’d suspect that she was not operating in good faith.

    Please put your own air mask on first. This place isn’t safe for you mentally or physically.

    1. Janet (not a girl)*

      Yeah, I think it couldn’t hurt to do some introspection about your relationship with this former/current manager, because I agree with Lana Kane that it doesn’t sound like she was operating in good faith at all. I think she knew how bad the place was, and deliberately underplayed that part of the story when she hired you. The raise would be part of her strategy as well, likely an effort to ensure your loyalty to her.

      I mean, your first step is to GTFO, as soon as you possibly can. Run, burn the bridge, and don’t look back. But once you’re safe and have some time to plan your next steps, please re-think the value of using this woman as a network connection. I’m just an anonymous person on the internet, but honestly I wouldn’t trust her for anything after this.

      Good luck, and please send an update when you have one!

    2. Lisa Babs*

      I came on to say the same thing. Your manager didn’t do you a kindness and brought you in good faith. There is no way she didn’t know what she was putting you into. She either just brushed it the rug and called it “retraining the residents” OR you didn’t hear her correctly (missed the red flags) because you were just laid off and desperate.

      She won’t be shocked that you quit after only three months. Plus you did leave the place in better shape then you got it. So the manager just has to find someone to deal with the craziness and not have to fix the paperwork. So it might be easier for her.

  39. RC Rascal*

    Contrarian position here. Have you thought about putting together a plan to clean the place up, and then presenting it to your boss along with details on resources you need to make your plan happen (I.e. money for police secondary, attorneys to help you evict problem tenants, etc.?). Planning to leave is easy; managing through is hard. Sometimes though, managing through is the right choice. Cleaning this place up might be a career growth opportunity for you. Professionally, O am finishing a 2 year clean up on a wreck of a business. I can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel & it isn’t a train.

    1. This Daydreamer*

      I think it would take more than one person to fix this mess, and it’s dangerous. The OP was just thrown into the middle of this disaster with no warning and it’s not her responsibility to fix it.

    2. I Love Thrawn*

      Totally not her problem to do all this. Change agents are rarely appreciated anyway. I hope she gets out while she still has some sanity.

      1. ThankYouRoman*

        And so would all the others before you and most of us reading your situation! You’ll get out of there, don’t let anyone guilt you about it.

    3. LawBee*

      I’d be with you on this if it weren’t for the physical safety issues. LW is in actual danger. She needs to go go go; if her boss were willing to actually manage the residents, things would never have gotten to this point.

    4. ThankYouRoman*

      Maybe it’ll be career growth. Maybe she’ll also win the lotto.

      I’ve cleaned up messes for career growth but it’s in a career I want to be in. OP doesn’t want to be in this field.

    5. Evan G Grantham-Brown*

      This is the sort of thing that requires the enthusiastic backing of upper management–including the willingness to fork over cash in large quantities, and wait to see results. It isn’t the sort of thing I’d want to attempt as a newly hired employee, unless I was hired specifically to do it.

    6. Jen S. 2.0*

      The reason I wouldn’t be on board with this is that OP hates this field. There is someone for whom cleaning this mess up would be their dream job — someone who loves property management, and looks forward to opportunities for growth in the field, and wants a challenge where they can really shine, and then can use that as a springboard to go on to glory and win the property management Oscar, whatever award that may be..

      OP isn’t that person and doesn’t want to be that person. She hates the field and wants out. The problem is not just that Sunnydale Estates here is a rough place to work; that problem is that OP would hate this job even if it were great..

      1. Gumby*

        I’m sure there are multiple awards. I only know of the TOBYs (building of the year) (for commercial real estate though) because my sister did property management in a building that won. Her stories were nowhere near as exciting though she did have a worrying number of elevators getting stuck until she explained the number of elevators on site and that actually they were well under the average.

    7. Gloucesterina*

      No, cleaning up poop and used condoms and enduring verbal and physical threats is not a career growth opportunity!

      Wishing you peace and safety, OP, in making your exit!

  40. nonymous*

    I’d add that as an interim step it would be very reasonable to bring in a second person to be on your team, not as a leasing consultant, but as a peer in the hierarchy. It sounds like you can make a case for it in volume alone, but you could also frame it as a training role for someone who is capable but needs some seasoning before they PM a different building for the company. This would address the isolation that you’re feeling and provide a succession plan for the manager when you have the next job offer.

  41. Où est la bibliothèque?*

    Now I want to start a property management company exclusively employing huge, tough-as-nails, ex-military fixers who would get paid really well to handle the hell properties.

    Like Cobra Bubbles from Lilo and Stitch: “I am the one they call when things go wrong, and things have indeed gone wrong.”

    1. Hallowflame*

      This sounds like an excellent business model, and possibly a highly entertaining reality tv show!

    2. nonymous*

      My local housing authority has a couple buildings that they operate themselves – for the most difficult cases – and the guy who runs the day-to-day is extremely coarse. Basically, it’s in everyone’s interest that he can meet the tenants where they are at (and not some idealized Class A level), because stuff like “honoring the terms of the contract” and “being neighborly” is beyond their capacity to handle for some very legitimate reasons.

  42. Working Mom Having It All*

    I promise that, in a job as routinely horrific as this, they are used to high turnover. I get your concern about resume gaps and short term employment for future jobs, but in terms of giving notice to your current boss? I’d say there’s a real chance you got this job because that “previous candidate” they were “about to move on” was in fact hired by them but walked out of the place on day three.

  43. nnn*

    If you read through the post titles in chronological order, it sounds like this LW is trying to one-up the previous LW. (“My new job isn’t what I signed up for.” “Well MY new job is a nightmare built on a hellmouth!”)

    1. Janet (not a girl)*

      I was thinking the same! And hoping the pattern doesn’t continue…can you imagine what the next letter would have to be, in order to top this one?

      1. Quackeen*

        It would have to be something really over-the-top, like a person who works in an office where one employee has OCD and people have to do things like line up by gender and wear symmetrical outfits and…oh, wait.

      2. AKchic*

        Bobby Singer writes in: “My younger coworkers / mentees started the apocalypse and have boundary issues, help”

        1. Chopped*

          I like this. Mostest. Btw, I had an uncle called Bruce Campbell. He was a Royal Scots Dragoon Guard who played bagpipes in their band then wrote for the Scotsman newspaper. He could have been more Scottish if he were made of haggis and we aren’t certain he wasnt

      3. Jen S. 2.0*

        Or someone who is dating the letter writer’s father and is dragging her to couples therapy. Or someone who parades the staff around in dunce caps. Oh, wait…

    2. Sacred Ground*

      “My new job is an a hell dimension that’s just like this one except there are no shrimp.”

      “Well, MY new job is in a hell dimension where there’s nothing but shrimp!”

  44. Shay*

    LW, please set aside your worries of upsetting your manager. I can’t help but wonder if your manager knowingly brought you into a complete mess (yup!) and there was never another candidate they were moving forward with when you dropped from the sky. These problems didn’t instantly emerge … this situation has been neglected for a long, long time and sadly, along you came. RUN!

  45. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone*

    Old priest and a new priest? Ok now that I got the exorcism joke out of the way.

    First off, no this is not normal :) It’s normal to your coworkers because they are used to the crazy. This is part of your challenge to get them retrained in ‘normal’.

    Yes, look for a new job. Your manager knows the situation, they know it’s loony tunes town and they know that any person with an ounce of sense isn’t going to stay long.

    To a certain extent, embrace the lunacy. Don’t let it become normal, but try to reframe this in your own mind like you are just doing an immersive study on a different culture.

    Please start a blog to share your misadventures. At the very least, please give us all an update!

  46. Jordan Quinn*

    OP – I’m a property manager. I strongly encourage you to look into COMMERCIAL property management in your area. Residential PM is a notorious hellhole. Commercial provides so much more growth. In my experience, it’s also also both more interesting work, and waaaay less personal.

    I’m happy to talk to you more about the specifics if you’re interested, and have a conversation about what you might be able to expect. I’m in the PNW, but I have some experienced colleagues in several parts of the US if you want to chat with someone in your market.

    1. ThankYouRoman*

      My only property management experience is commercial.

      We evicted a guy. Finally. It took a year to renovate a warehouse unit because he built a home in there. It felt like walking into someone’s dungeon. But he was nice enough…just filthy, creepy and unable to pay his rent.

      1. AnaEatsEverything*

        I’m the same poster as above (going back to my normal username – oops). The eviction process totally sucks. A year or two ago, we had to evict a guy running a one-man teapot store, and ended up getting some of his furniture in the process, supposedly to pay down part of his debt. Paying to store this big pile of stuff that wasn’t valuable to anyone except him was a total bust and cost us even more money on top of the attorney’s fees. Sheriff sales are only useful when someone is actually interested in the merchandise.

        1. ThankYouRoman*

          Bless his heart for thinking the furniture had value!

          My old boss was once given piles of toys from a company that went bankrupt and felt bad they couldn’t pay their debt with money. At least he had kids. It’s super not i okay to do that with assets either tax wise but when you’re up the creek, you just start doing whatever pops to mind.

    2. OP*

      If it were significantly different from residential, I might consider it. Although, I have to be honest, I’m skittish about anything property related at this point.

      1. AnaEatsEverything*

        It really is quite a bit different. At the high rises you might still have to deal with transients and therefore poop (in my market, some people call them “code browns” which at least adds a little levity). And retail tenants are notoriously difficult for all sorts of reasons (if they’re small they’re difficult to contact, if they’re gigantic you’re going through corporate, sometimes their rent is based off of the CPI). Office and industrial/warehouse aren’t too bad, and I’ve found these suburban properties to be a sweet spot for me. Office tenants can occasionally be a little demanding, but nowhere NEAR as bad as residents. Seriously, talk to someone in your market about the differences. Commercial companies hire residential people all the time… and that typically happens after residential PMs realize there’s less growth, less pay, and a whole lot more work involved.

  47. Equating a Native Burial Ground with a Hellhole? Really?*

    I’m surprised you did not edit out the OP’s reference to being on a native burial ground. Would you have published this with any other race referred to before the words burial ground? I don’t think so. This is not okay.

    1. OP*

      My apologies. I had recently watched Poltergeist and did not realize referencing it in my letter would be offensive. If I had, I would have stuck with just the Buffy comparison.

      1. Equating a Native Burial Ground with a Hellhole? Really?*

        My comment was really meant for Allison, but thanks for the comment. I make a real effort to check my own language use – I might have made the same comment myself until 5 years ago without realizing it could be offensive. Hope you get out of this messy work situation soon!

      2. No Mas Pantalones*

        I immediately went to Poltergeist, which might say something about our respective ages. :-)

      3. Close Bracket*

        In modern thinking, using a native burial ground as a movie trope is offensive. So I get that you were just thinking you were referencing the movie, but try to think one step backward to the fact that such a movie would be offensive, so it wouldn’t be the best choice to base a joke on.

        However, the house in the Poltergeist movie was not build on a native burial ground. It was built on an ordinary cemetery, hence the line, “You just moved the headstones!” So go ahead and keep making Poltergeist references! If you make them accurately, no offense should be given! :)

  48. Four lights*

    Wow, that’s an awful lot to deal with in such a short time! You should definitely work towards leaving, and don’t feel bad about it. You can tell your colleague- look, I was in property management for 7 years and this was too much for even me to have to deal with.

    In the meantime, you walked into a giant mess, but do you feel it’s getting better? Even a little? If so, it may help your mental health to repeat to yourself, “It won’t be this bad forever. Things here will get better.”

  49. LawBee*

    Dear lord. If there ever was a case to be made for off-site management, this is it. Do you 100% have to be physically on the property to do your job? You have legitimate safety concerns that, frankly, your boss is not handling at all.

    I understand not wanting to quit, etc but this is pretty darn scary. Your personal safety is in danger, and your boss sucks – and has sucked for a long time for everything to get this bad. Run for the hills, don’t look back, and leave this disaster off your resume.

  50. Autumnheart*

    If there was even a candidate, and the friend didn’t just say that to build in some urgency to get OP to accept. Under-represent the issues with the property, not say anything about the crazypants residents, proactively offer better-than-market salary without negotiating first….friend knew exactly what she was getting OP into.

    If Friend doesn’t feel guilty for subjecting OP to delusional meth-heads, ex-cons and aspiring murderers (the one running people over with the golf cart), fires and pool poopers and other catastrophes, then OP should not feel one damn bit guilty saying “Sorry, 3 months of insanity isn’t worth even this much money” and getting TFO while her whole life is still ahead of her.

  51. Bunny Girl*

    Yup. I’ve had a job like this. It was at a self storage unit. I didn’t last long. My first day on the job we had to have a conversation with someone to let them know they couldn’t A) live in their storage unit or B) pee all over the property. My first day alone some wack job showed up and threatened me because he hadn’t paid his bills and our managers asked him to leave because he had assaulted another client. I ended up having to lock myself in the office and call the police. So I refused to work at that location and got transferred to the other one. My first day over there and someone broke into our bathroom (it’s locked after we close the business office). I watched the whole thing on our security camera while I was typing up an email to the manager to tell them I quit because their clientele was all unhinged. They begged me to stay because I guess they were having problems keeping staff. I told them how odd, maybe it was because they let everyone behave like wild animals and didn’t warn anyone, make efforts to keep their employees safe, or pay them enough to deal with it.

  52. researchmanager*

    Haven’t read yet, but wanted to say plus a thousand points for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference

  53. ideasoflight*

    This is my old industry and… yep, sounds right. Honestly, as you know, LW, the best part about having property management as an industry in your background is that it’s always there as a fallback? The worst part is everything else. But like… while burning the bridge with this manager sucks, it’s not an industry you’re likely to get blackballed from based on having to leave this role, if you still want to know that it’s there as a fallback; there’s too much turnover. The good news is that there are ton ton ton ton ton of other jobs where the extent of problem solving and relationship management stuff you have to do is relevant. Start applying to a bunch of stuff and don’t look back. Someday this will be a lot of really good stories, at least.

    (Something you may want to look at that worked for me is whether there are openings with some of the industries/vendors that pop up with maintenance billing stuff – I spun everything I learned about gnarly utility billing issues doing property management A/P into a job at a utility.)

    1. OP*

      Worth checking into! Honestly, a LOT of what I’ve had to do and actually really enjoyed (here and at other properties) seems to be very similar to the descriptions in a number of HR positions I’ve seen posted. Maybe that would be something I could cross into.

  54. blink14*

    OP, the manager is not your friend. Repeat this to yourself, many times, the manager is not your friend. She’s in a crappy situation and offered a former, trusted employee a job she clearly knows is also crappy.

    I would worry less about her potential reaction to you leaving and focus on your own safety and finding a new job. In the meantime, I’d save everything you can and plan an exit strategy to get out sooner than later. Perhaps try hanging on another month or so and then give your notice. If you can’t comfortably leave the job without having something else lined up, you may have to take something with a lower salary. This is a perfect example of salary not being the top priority, but instead making it the work environment (and your safety!).

    I worked about 7 years in a commercial property office with a boss from hell, and I was able to transition into academia based on my college degree and the skills I’d acquired in the last job. Think hard on all the ways your current skills can translate to a different job, and go from there. Problem solving, multi-tasking, dealing with customers, etc, it’s all transferable to many industries!

  55. Sara without an H*

    Hello, OP —
    I second those commenters who think that your supervisor sold you a bill of goods. She was about to move forward with another candidate and then you “dropped out of the sky”??? Please. Trust me, that other candidate is mythical.

    As Alison has said many times before, it’s not one short-term job that makes you a job-hopper, it’s a pattern of short-term jobs. So clean up your resume (lots of good advice in the AAM archives) and start looking now, because lining up the right job may take longer than you think. If you’re asked at interviews why you’re looking so soon, just say that the job turned out to be significantly different than you were told before hiring. (Which it was, right?)

    One thing to beware of: If you’re in a truly awful job, it’s very easy to ignore warning signs when looking at other situations. It may be hard to imagine a worse job than the one you have now, but it exists. You don’t want to go from Hellmouth to the Bottomless Abyss. Spend some time taking inventory of your skills and what you’re good at, and look for something that would be a good fit.

    Good luck to you!

  56. Been There*

    I feel for you OP. I used to work in Property Management too and it was the worst/craziest years of my life.

    Maybe you should talk to your boss about being unhappy before you quit? When I quit my job, all my higher ups had mentioned how they wished I would have brought up my unhappiest beforehand. Also, your boss is probably completely drained too and will understand your feelings when you quit.

    Side note, have you ever thought about switching to HR? It has a similar background like Property Management, but no emotionally destroys you and you won’t have to worry about poop or people’s homes starting on fire.

    1. McWhadden*

      “but no emotionally destroys you and you won’t have to worry about poop or people’s homes starting on fire.”

      That is optimistic.

    2. ThankYouRoman*

      Unless you are HR where you have to remind people not to smear poop on the walls. Not joking.

    3. OP*

      I actually have been thinking about switching to HR! There are a few positions open around me that don’t require 2-3 years of specific HR experience, I am definitely applying to them. The postings for them all sound like they entail doing stuff that is very similar to/the same as the stuff that I actually really enjoy doing here and at previous jobs.

      1. Been There*

        Best of luck to you on your search! Even the biggest problems in HR seem small compared to the crap you deal with in Property Management.

  57. Caitlin*

    The “Native burial ground” thing is actually rooted in racist ideas of who Native and Indigenous people are (and the belief that they’re all dead). I totally get that the LW was trying to express just how out of control the situation is, but I really wish people would stop using that phrase cavalearly, the same way more people are aware that saying “this is crazy” or “this is insane” is ableist.

    LW, I hope your new job search goes quickly and smoothly and you get out fast!

    1. ThankYouRoman*

      Thank you for the background. Now it clicks in my mind.

      I was assuming it’s just the idea of “if you build on a graveyard, you’re gonna be haunted”. And the idea Natives didn’t have clearly defined burial grounds so you unknowingly built on them and angered the spirits.

      I value this new education you’ve provided to replace my ignorant assumptions.

      1. Nita*

        That’s where my mind went. One of the departments at my company often checks possible construction sites for whether there might be a forgotten burial ground under them. And sometimes, there is. Not always Native, but often some group that was not given enough respect for the burial ground to be preserved.

      1. ThankYouRoman*

        Old movies and literature are ripe with massively inappropriate outdated phrases and slurs though. They have removed Laura Ingalls Wilder from awards for her language towards Natives.

        1. Michaela Westen*

          “They have removed Laura Ingalls Wilder from awards for her language towards Natives.”
          That’s extreme! I read all her books as a child and loved them. I remember her describing what she saw of the Natives and some of the attitudes of the whites. I never took it that she had any problem with Natives. Seriously, this is PC going too far! :(

    2. Michaela Westen*

      But so many things really, literally do seem insane. I am not joking when I say “this is insane”.
      Hmm, what other phrase can I use to express, say, a corporate store ignoring what customers obviously need?
      “This is out of touch with reality”
      “This company is oblivious”
      “This company doesn’t care”
      And for those who try to market with lies and deception, “This company is trying to hurt/take advantage of us”.
      IMHO all these things are indications of mental problems in the people who do them.

  58. Evan G Grantham-Brown*

    Wow. Just… wow. I thought I had some war stories from my old job, like when we called in the phone company to fix the phones and they discovered an ecstasy lab next door, but you have me beat in spades.

    Obviously, you need to get out of there. In the meantime, have you talked to your manager about ways to make the job safer and/or buffer you against the worst of the insanity? That’s a good discussion to have, not just for you but for whoever comes after you… and it will also be good for the manager, since she’ll never be able to keep your role filled with any remotely competent person if this goes on.

  59. TootsNYC*

    I had one other thought: A great many of these things sound as though they are things that resulted from having a really crappy day-to-day management going on:

    1) Been verbally assaulted by residents in what I would consider an extreme way four times, two of which resulted in me crying in the back room after they left

    I’ve seen this sort of customer reactions arise when they were consistently met with jerky behavior and rudeness behind the counter at my post office (literally, no kidding, ranked worst in NYC during that timeframe). Customers were pissed off from all the previous times, and they just started off mad.

    2) Witnessed an unstable employee losing it/dramatically quitting and then coming back three times in one hour

    A bad manager may have let this employee go on too long instead of easing them out or making them shape up.

    3) Discovered an employee running a side car repair business all day, every day at work instead of actually doing work for the company

    This absolutely is something that a bad manager would have let go on–but now that it’s discovered, it should end, and similar situations shouldn’t arise.

    9) Discovered that a convicted murderer somehow got through our criminal screening process 

    Again–lax management.

    So…not saying you should stay; you should go.

    But for peace of mind, as you’re looking, can you see whether any of these things were created by bad management, and can you evaluate whether that bad management has persisted?

    Also–is this boss of yours the hands-on manager? If so, don’t feel so bad about leaving when you do find other work–or when you can’t take it anymore.

    1. TootsNYC*

      Jackson Heights, in the very early 1990s. One of the newspapers published a list of the post offices ranked by customer satisfaction, and we were at the VERY bottom. Last place.

      We got a new postmaster shortly after, and things are much more pleasant. I could tell that they were trying.

      The people behind the counter were just snotty and unhelpful.

  60. CMBG*

    “Native burial ground”? Why “native”? (If you’re wondering why not, insert “black” or “veterans” or “slave” instead and see if it sounds ok.) Maybe an editor can quietly edit that word out and just leave “burial ground.”

    1. BookishMiss*

      OP has mentioned that she was referencing the Poltergeist movie and has apologized for using that phrase.

      1. ThankYouRoman*

        It’s less about the OP and more about the lack of editing at this point.

        OP can’t fix this blog post even if she wanted to…only one person can do that

  61. Technical_Kitty*

    OP, when you find a better job, not in property management and are submitting your resignation, make sure to include this list. Add any more insane things that happen. Anyone who looks at that list and “feels personally betrayed” by the person fleeing that list, is unhinged from reality.

  62. LadyCop*

    Sounds like a slow couple of months for me… (seriously if this is actually true you should be calling the police a lot more than 3 times in 2 and a half months)

  63. Zillinith*

    I know this isn’t helpful and the OP should absolutely leave a job that is making them this miserable but I sure can tell I’ve been working in housing for too long because I was 75% of the way through the list of disasters and still thinking “I don’t know, this doesn’t really sound that out of the ordinary.”

  64. Karyn*

    OP, you are on your way out, so you’re under no obligation to do this–and really, should not–but:

    A person who was going to try to make this work would need the property owner and the legal department on their side. Review the standard lease; is there language around how residents treat each other and building staff? If there is, you have recourse against residents who verbally abuse you, and throw money orders in your face while cussing you out. You have recourse against residents who create a nuisance, a constant ruckus, or unsafe situations (such as unauthorized ‘roommates’). You have recourse against employees who work side jobs while on the clock for you–and demand that their subordinates do the same.

    If the owners and lawyers will back a property manager, they can clean all this mess up. But it’s a lot of work, and it’s certainly not something anyone is obligated to do.

  65. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    Wow, LW. It’s uncalled for for the residents to treat you that way.

    My wife and I hate our property manager because he’s an inconsiderate jerk who frankly gives people a “something is wrong” spidey sense, makes it really hard to get packages because he is never in, yelled at me for (legally! He had a background check to hell and back with the program! It was allowed!) informing him with a few days’ notice that we would get an exchange student who would need a key, and he takes every chance he can to evict or charge fees. (Once, on the last day due at 5 o’clock, office closed at 6, we put the rent in the manager mailbox for the office because he had gone to take a break. Jerk then either ignored or didn’t check the box before leaving because we got an extra late fee that caused a lot of problems).

    But, we’ve never been more than a bit short with him. Certainly not calling him a bastard from hell or screaming at him. That’s not normal, LW.

    (For those curious, the worst I have said is this month when I waited around for half an hour to personally hand him the rent on day of. Said, now here it is, I gave it right to you. So you can’t charge us a late fee, you…mumble mumble…jerk. Because of the one you wrongly charged us last month we couldn’t take the cat to the vet right away because we didn’t have that $120ish. He could have died. Don’t pull that shit again.

  66. RUKiddingMe*

    Oh OP when you give your notice just show her a copy of this letter listing all the issues you’ve been facing (use yellow highlighter!) and maybe she will see why you just can’t stay.

  67. nnn*

    Reading this thread, I think I now understand why my various landlords over the years have been so insistent that I’m such a good tenant…

  68. Kristine*

    OP, I hardly know what to say, except to suggest in addition to applying for a new job STAT (and I’ll bet your manager won’t be surprised), you encourage your manager to do so as well, and perhaps suggest the idea of you both going into consulting (if you want to continue to work with her) as property management experts who know how to head off these problems. I don’t know if there are consultants who do that, but if there are you sound absolutely qualified.
    And if this industry doesn’t use consultants maybe it should start to.

  69. Mynona*

    And this is why residential and retail property management are horrible fields. Consider trying to transition to office, industrial, or medical property management. Pay is so much better and the tenants aren’t nearly so crazy.

  70. MrsRamsey*

    I work in property management, and though we have had some crazy stuff going on, nothing even comes close to what you are experiencing. It is a tough job. I have been sworn at, verbally threatened, called incompetent and run off properties that I had a right to be on. Fortunately my coworkers and I get along well, and support each other. There are days where you do cry because people are so nasty. Other days we laugh and say we need to write a book. We had someone move into our HOA with a goat wearing a diaper coming off the moving van. Yes, a resident sent us proof. I feel for you, and wish you the best.

  71. Indie*

    – Boss needs someone to manage this dumpster fire. Preferably someone desperate and with no other options.
    – You call her, saying you’re legit desperate; but also experienced and capable! “BINGO” says bosslady.
    – Boss thanks her lucky charms, but concludes you may have exit routes. While you’re still gratefully unaware of the deal, she capitalises on said gratitude and drops hints of longevity expectations.
    – Does she drop hints about the reality of the job? Nahhhhhhh.
    – Should she talk to you about making lasting and real change? Nahhhhh.
    – When you quit, and go into a field where this becomes a blip, she will decide to carry on doing things this way; its her business model.

  72. Emmie*

    When you feel guilty leaving, remember that she never told you how horrific this property is. She had an obligation to do that especially since you two were friendly.

  73. MamaSarah*

    OP- If you are otherwised unattached, I would just leave. Like right now. Can you get out of town for awhile? Visit friends, family, some national parks. Money will be what it is. You do not owe your employer any favors. Perhaps you could sign on with a Starbucks just to keep the cash coming in. No job is worth your health. Hugs!

    1. OP*

      Alas, a great boyfriend, shared apartment, and adorable dog that requires being fed make immediately bailing impossible, and Starbucks won’t cover the bills. I’m basically here until I find something new.

  74. Granny K*

    Please run (do not walk) to the exit. But also, please write everything down in great detail. I think you will find this A) cathartic and B) profitable! You could easily turn this into a book or a screen play.

    Hang in there and thinking positive job thoughts in your direction.

  75. Bobster*

    If you are a skilled PM/AM, any large firm like Greystar, Alliance, Pinnacle, or Bozzutto would snap you up to run a lease up. You firm will know this and would/should actively be working to keep you happy. Talk to them about getting assigned to a new property.

    1. OP*

      Oh man. I know that this is actually meant to be helpful, but my immediate, visceral response to this is a soundless scream followed by “No. No no. No no no no no no. NO.”

      I am an experienced AM, and I have actually already worked for some of those bigger companies, and my experiences with them/ their culture definitely played a part in my leaving property management the first time. I am good at my job, but I do not like it. At all.

  76. Ellen*

    Um, do you work at my apartment complex? Because this sounds scarily like what the new management at my place has been dealing with. We’ve had 2 apartment fires in under a year, the pool area telephone was struck by lightening (as well as an apartment building – that caused one of the apartment fires) and the rest of the stuff sounds like what the people at my complex are capable of. I am so sorry.

    1. OP*

      I don’t THINK so… the two fires are just the ones that have happened since I got here (there were one or two more this year before I started, I think), and the lightning strikes only hit apartment buildings (and did not cause any fires, just messed with the alarm systems mightily). But man, reading through the threads here, it really does sound like Hellmouths just love to be under apartment complexes!

  77. Quill*

    LW, this sounds dangerous.

    When I left my absolutely awful but somehow normal looking job I used the excuse of wanting to go into a related field extensively, and now (A year and two contract jobs later,) my coworkers find my admittedly far less distressing story of how my boss decided he was going to buy us 22 pound turkeys on the tuesday before thanksgiving in lieu or a bonus quite amusing. (It was one of the funnier moments of him lacking the ability to do anything long term – nobody was harmed, the turkey eventually cooked after eight. whole. hours.)

    That said, it can be perfectly fine to let people know that your last workplace was whack… just not during the interview process. Make your interviews about this being an opportunity you can’t refuse now that you’ve tried out the field and liked it better, not about the fact that your current job is the set of several horror movies and also The Big Lebowski.

    1. Fergus*

      yup you are allowed to leave any place you don’t want to be except jail, and I don’t think this jail.

  78. Jennifer*

    The boss should have warned you. I recommended a friend who was in a desperate situation for a job for a previous company but I told her the truth about what was going on there. I let her make the choice as to whether or not it was worth it. She should have done the same for you.

    It’s possible the complex is just in the kind of area where most people who apply are going to be kind of sketchy. Many complexes have had to relax their standards a bit to keep occupancy up and corporate doesn’t care as long as the money keeps coming in, even if that means employees and residents are unsafe. Full disclosure – I did laugh a bit about the side car repair business. Just…wow.

    We complain about our property management all the time but this gave me some compassion for how terrible that kind of job must be. I hope you find some peace. It’s never selfish to take care of yourself.

  79. Space Turtle*

    Do you really all say ‘pooping’ in America? It always surprises me to see this word being used. I’m British and must find ess it sounds like baby talk to me so I’m surprised to hear adults use it, but from what I’ve seen on it really is common over there?

    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      Um, in Britain y’all say “poo”, right? As a verb and a noun. At least, to judge from Alan Davies on QI. I don’t really see a big difference there.

    2. Nita*

      Yes, it’s totally normal word usage here. (Really doesn’t feel right to use the word “normal” to discuss anything to do with OP’s job…)

    3. Anon Anon Anon*

      It’s considered slang and not polite, but it is a standard word. It’s in that grey area between polite speech and curse words. So you might hear it more frequently from children, but adults regularly use it among friends, family, and in other casual settings. It wouldn’t even be weird to talk to your doctor about “pooping”, but not something everyone would do.

      Bonus fact: “poopy,” as an adjective to describe something unappealing, is mostly used by children, not adults, in America. Mostly.

  80. Shawn*

    I wouldn’t just walk… I would RUN from that place. I have also done property management before and although a majority of it was pretty unpleasant, it was NOTHING like you just described here. I’d rather live on the street than deal with that crap all day. Run as fast as you can!

  81. Greg*

    As long as we’re referencing TV shows, I think it’s fair to say that the OP’s supposed friend FOISTED the job on her.

  82. Anon Anon Anon*

    I was thinking, “Ok, fairly normal for my area,” until I got to the fires and lightning strikes! Multiple fires is not normal at all. I hope you can find a calmer, safer job soon, LW.

  83. J.E.*

    Has anyone else mentioned that this sounds eerily like what often happens in public libraries? Ask anyone who has ever worked in a public library-large, small, urban, rural, there are lots of “interesting” people who frequent them. I work in a library, but not a public one and have still seen my share of problem patrons, but not like what public libraries get.

  84. Anon for this manager*

    I work at a corporate office of a property management company and I used to work on-site. I got out of working on-site because it is dangerous and BS but it is so so hard to get a different kind of job. Now I spend about 10% of every week on the phone with people who want to quit on the spot, trying to get them to at least find something else first and give notice. That said, I absolutely do not begrudge anyone for leaving. I don’t think anyone who moves from on-site to not on-site seriously does. I’m going to school and applying for other jobs, trying to get out of this profession. I totally get wanting to leave and I feel like your boss will too. The people who actually last either move up and away from the chaos of on-site, or become 100% dead inside and become all those terrible property manager stories you hear.

  85. Janet*

    Well its not nice for you but at least I can see that another property is somewhat like the one I worked in while working in public housing for numerous years. The senior buildings were fine – others could be horrible. A lot of our issues were a result of de-centralization leaving building managers to work alone and could be very scary at times. My recommendation to you is to not quit because you don’t know if this manager will punish you and deny a reference but get out and get out quickly because working in such a toxic environment without doing anything about it leaves you stuck, trapped and you start losing your confidence which then impacts your personal life. I recall the last four years of my job which I had to stay in because I had a family to support where I stopped talking to my friends because I had no energy left for anyone after a day of deflecting screaming people away from me and tensing my shoulder blades all day in anticipation of who next was going to walk in that door. One day a local police officer who patrolled that building asked me what I was doing in that place and I finally woke up and started the interviewing process and the only question I have now is what took me so long? Good luck. You can only vent for so long but its up to you to get the process started.

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