Well, the Tomato is hosting a Carnival of Scary Real Estate stories, and lord knows I can’t deny everyone this one…
It was a dark and stormy…morning. My third day on the job managing a one bedroom condo, also my very first property management gig. The owners moved out to Japan, and came to me asking about Property Management. I told them I’d never done it before, but it’s just a one bedroom condo, how hard could it be?
I got the contract, and we set up the appropriate accounts. They left for Japan, and I found a nice young recently married couple to rent the place. So a small condo, in a professionally managed association, the place was rented, and I was on easy street.
So before the tenants moved in, I wanted to have the place professionally cleaned for them. So I called a friend and asked if he knew a good cleaning lady. I call her up and set up a time, 9:00 Saturday morning.
I get there that morning to let her in at 8:45, 9:00 rolls around, 9:15, 9:30… I call her up to see where she is, and it goes to voice mail. 9:45, voicemail. Finally 10:00 rolls around, and I get in touch with her. She had to move around some appointments and wasn’t going to be able to make it. Now it’s short notice for me to find someone else, so I ask her if she can do it tomorrow morning, she says yes 9:00am would work.
I get there Sunday morning again at 8:45 to let her in. She shows up at 9:45. It’s her and her daughter, they have all their supplies… Awesome. I let them in and tell them to call me if they need anything.
Sure enough, I get a call from the daughter at 11:00. “Jon, I need you to come here, my mom cut her finger.” I ask her “Is it bad? Should I call 911?” She says no, but she wants me to come over. So figure it’s not pretty but it’s not bad, I stop by the store and buy some cotton balls and hydrogen peroxide.
I show up at the property and the mother is sitting on the ground with some paper towels around her finger, and the daughter is standing with her back turned to her mom (she couldn’t stand to look). I look around the room real quick, there isn’t any blood splattered around, the paper towel is not soaked, how bad could it be?
So they ask me to look at it because neither of them can. And I lean over, and thinking is a small cut, I give her the “let me see this little cut” So I remove the paper towel.
I saw blood and bone. This wasn’t a deep cut, THE WINDOW HAD FALLEN ON HER FINGER!! Think more like a fat guy taking down a chicken wing in one bite. The window had removed her nail and skin from the bone just under her nail bed.
The smirk dropped from my face and I freaked “WE ARE GOING TO THE HOSPITAL RIGHT NOW!” I ask which window, and they point me over (well the daughter did). So I lift the window, and underneath is the cleaning rag, and the fingertip and nail. I grab both, hand them to the daughter and hightail it for the nearest hospital. I made it in 5 minutes. During the drive, the cleaning lady told me I looked pale…. Yes, the fingertipless lady told me I looked pale.
After I got them to the hospital, I went back to the property and had the new tenants moving in within hours, and upon closer inspection, there were spots of blood all around the window and wall. I had to spend the next 3 hours on my hands an knees cleaning up the blood, and finishing the 1/2 done cleaning job.
Now if you think that’s bad. On top of all of that, the cleaning lady didn’t have workers comp, and the landlords owned the property outright and didn’t have homeowners insurance. My first communication with them after they arrived in Japan was telling them the story and advising them that they will be needing legal representation.
I figure, in my first 3 days I had an experience that Property Managers doing it for 20 years have never seen. Wonderful.
As far as the carnival, if that one doesn’t get me in the top ten, I can’t wait to read the ones that beat it.
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