Why Does My Property Manager Suck?
As a property manager writing this, my actual goal is to try to dispel some of the beliefs you may have about your manager. Perhaps the best way to do this is to explain their actual role in all of this. As a note: I'm writing from Fayetteville, NC, and my insights here are likely not applicable to many, if any, other states.
Your lease agreement is not with your property manager; it's with the property owner. I know your manager is also named on your lease, but just as the middle man; the owner's designated point of contact. In reality, your manager works for your property owner, not you. Certainly they have duties to you: (honesty, fairness, and disclosure of material facts), but those duties do not always necessarily mean your manager is looking out for your best interests.
On the flip side, they are also at the property owners' mercy, to an extent. For instance: an agreement between an owner and manager may state the manager may only do repairs with the owner's prior consent. Seems easy enough, but what happens if you have an owner that is overseas? Or an owner that wants to get 12 estimates before deciding on one? Or an owner who just doesn't care at all? Yes, there are laws in place to protect you from slumlords, but your manager cannot violate the terms of their employment agreement with their owner, either.
And what about emergency repairs? Why does it seem that those are never treated as a true emergency? If you have this train of thought, likely your owner has a home warranty company. When this happens, neither the owner nor the manager can decide which vendor will be assigned, those vendors are typically overwhelmed and backed up with work orders, and they are very poor communicators. So, if you have an owner with a home warranty, the best thing you can do for yourself is to help keep the chain of communication moving. Let your manager know whether or not the vendor has made an appointment or for when. Let them know the current status updates as they happen; especially if parts have to be ordered. If your manager doesn't hear from you, then they usually think things are going well.
Why doesn't your manager like to talk on the phone?! I'm a millennial and definitely guilty of this. It's not that I don't want to, but more and more I have personally found phone conversations lead to bigger problems. I understand text is often difficult to convey a complete picture (unless the writer is a professional novelist or something to that effect), but it at least gives accountability to all sides. When communication happens in writing, whatever method that is, you now have a record of the information disseminated, and can hold your owner/manager accountable. So, for liability reasons, it makes you, the owner, and your manager more accountable for their actions.
Long story short, your manager is not working for you; they're looking out for the property owners' best interests. It sounds horrible, but it's the truth. Usually, they're just following their owners' directions, too, which means in your eyes, they suck.