CAN YOU TOP THIS?
Unbelievable or outrageous true stories about everyday experiences in
real estate management b Y STANLEY WATSON, CPM® | iLLUSTRATiONS b Y PAUL LUKAS
nO hOrSing ArOund!
AS A rEgiOnAl prOpErTy mAnAgEr,
pEriOdiC SiTE viSiTS ArE A vEry
impOrTAnT pArT Of Our rESpOnSi-Bili Ty to owners in order to inspect the properties and meet with office and maintenance
staff. I have always enjoyed this and generally
like to make surprise visits to sites and to walk
the property prior to meeting with staff. It is my
style to often stop by a property on a Saturday or
Sunday to see what happens on the weekend.
During the mid-1970s, one of the buildings
in my portfolio was a twin tower,
360-unit lift slab constructed building built along a river with a sloping
landscape. The building had various
entrances, offering access to the catacombs, underground parking, boiler
rooms and many “hidden” rooms and
hideaways. During the first month of
managing this particular building, I
made a Saturday inspection.
While walking from the parking lot
down the sloping terrain toward the
river I passed an open double-door
entrance about three stories below
street level. Out of the corner of my
eye I thought I saw something move
inside. Thinking it was a maintenance
person I called out and entered.
To my surprise, I found a Shetland
pony inside the building. After the
initial shock, I caught up with a maintenance person and inquired what a
horse was doing inside the building.
The maintenance person sheepishly
acknowledged that it was his horse.
He had been keeping it in the build-
ing to entertain his son, despite local
codes and management policies. It
goes without saying that I put an
immediate stop to this “horsing around.”
I still shake my head today when I think about
this incident. In property management we get
to see it all. Nothing surprises me anymore.
The lesson I learned that memorable day was to
always take time to completely walk the exterior
and interior of my properties, and to keep an
eye out for anything unusual that a property
owner might see. n
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