Bill The Pill
A Day In the Life . . .
Some residents are quiet as church mice, others are well . . . not so much! Here’s a story submitted by an Austin property manager who had her hands full dealing with a very high-maintenance guy.
Bill the Pill
I felt like I’d gotten to know one of our residents pretty well, yet I’d never met him in person. You see, he’d moved into his apartment long before I started working at the property. He never came to the office during working hours and we never saw him in our fitness center or checking his mail.
If you’re wondering how I became so familiar with this man, it’s because he seemed to enjoy calling the office to submit work orders—a lot of work orders!
It was really strange because he’d always ask for me whenever he called the office. He didn’t want to talk with anyone on my staff about what he needed. I was the only one he’d give information to. In fact, if I were unavailable, he’d leave a message for “the property manager” to call him back.
He’s Got My Number
The following is an example of a typical phone exchange between he and I:
The phone rings.
Me: “We’re having a great day at Whispering Oaks Apartments! This is Linda, how may I help you?”
Resident: “This is Bill in apartment 222. I need to speak with the property manager.”
Sidebar: Because I spoke so frequently with this character, he knew my name was Linda and he knew that I was the property manager. One time, I started to make a joke about it with him; but the guy was totally humorless, so I would just pretend like each time he called was the first time he’d ever called. It was really silly.
I would write out his work order request and give it to our maintenance department. Most of the time when they’d go to the Bill’s apartment, it would be a bogus complaint or something that he could have easily fixed himself. (Case in point, one of his complaints was that something was wrong with his refrigerator. Brian, one of our maintenance men discovered that the utility light inside had burned out!)
There was one month when I counted nine different work orders from Bill in apartment 222!
What Does He Look Like?
I was really curious about what Bill looked like and had created my own mental picture of him. In my mind he was a cross between Charlie Brown and Bob Newhart. I asked Brian in maintenance if he or any of the other maintenance technicians had ever actually seen Bill, but was told that he was never around when they worked in his apartment. I thought that was strange because they were in apartment 222 on a pretty regular basis.
I was kidding around with Brian about Bill one afternoon. It was late on Friday and we were commenting about how unusual it was that we’d made it almost a full week without a work order request from our high-maintenance resident.
“Maybe he finally got a life,” quipped Brian and we all laughed.
“I’m not saying I miss the guy or anything, but this is the longest he’s gone without calling since I’ve been here. It’s strange... nice, but strange,” I added.
We found out a couple of weeks later why we’d not heard from Bill when he became delinquent on his rent payment. We discovered he’d skipped out on us. Apartment 222 was vacant and was also left in terrible condition.
Thanks a lot, Bill. And here I thought we were friends!
From the book I Have a Complex, But I'm Managing It!, stories from property managers compiled by Monica E. Simmons.
Monica E. Simmons, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JDC Enterprises, LLC, has worked in the multi-family industry in several different capacities since 1987. She is a published author whose books include; I Have A Complex, But I’m Managing It!, It Happened in The Hill Country and 30-Love.
Contact her at: Monica@TheVendorGuide.com