Learning Centre

The Naked Truth About Property Management

Property managers need to expect the unexpected and be tactful negotiators, as in this story about a leaky pipe, a barricaded door, and a standoff with a confused tenant.


Over the past several weeks I have discussed some of the more technical aspects of property management. People always say to me that I must have some interesting stories to tell and so I thought I would share this one – I am calling it “The Naked Truth about Property Management”.

Several years ago I received a phone call from my caretaker on the morning of Christmas Eve. We managed a Seniors high-rise in the West End and many of the tenants became confused or scared quite easily.

There was a burst pipe in a suite of an elderly lady and she was refusing entry to the building manager. The manager had called me because the elderly lady was convinced that if she opened the door, the caretaker and the plumber were going to attack and rape her. No amount of talking was going to convince her otherwise and she had actually barricaded the door.

While the Caretaker was trying to convince her to open the door, water was beginning to leak into several of the suites below. The caretaker was receiving telephone calls from these tenants as well. He called the office asking what to do.

We advised him that this was a serious emergency and that if she did not cooperate he would have to remove the door and gain access that way. I gave him instructions to ensure that when he entered the suite that the female assistant manager be in attendance as well in order to calm the tenant down. I asked him to call me back with the results.

A short time later, the Caretaker called me back telling me the tenant had agreed to open the door but when she did, she was standing there completely naked and refused to get dressed. At this point, both the Caretaker and the plumber refused to enter the suite. Meanwhile the burst pipe was still leaking and flooding the suites below.

It took some negotiation, but they finally managed to persuade the elderly tenant to get dressed. The plumbers went in and fixed the leak and the restoration company was called to clean up the water and repair the damage.

Later on that day, a colleague dropped by my office to wish me Merry Christmas and say good-bye before going home for the holidays. He plopped down on a chair in my office to wait for me since I was on the telephone with my Caretaker getting a final status report on the incident. When I casually asked if the elderly tenant was still naked or if she had gotten dressed, my colleague looked up at me in surprise. When I got off the phone he asked me, “What kind of building are you managing?”

Property managers need to expect the unexpected and need to be the tactful negotiator. We deal with these situations so the landlords don’t have to.

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