Wednesday, March 18, 2015

***Consumer Alert*** Nagel Property Management Inc., Sioux Falls, SD ***Consumer Alert***

***Consumer Alert*** Nagel Property Management Inc., Sioux Falls, SD ***Consumer Alert***

On occasion, I exercise my First Amendment right to warn friends and neighbors about potentially shady businesses, including hotels and auto dealers who have ripped off my family. That time has come again. Renters and property owners thinking of listing property with Nagel Property Management Inc. of Sioux Falls should beware. Just this afternoon I tried to rent a property through the company only to learn that its leases contain some onerous terms. The company did not send out the lease beforehand so I arrived at the office cashier's check in hand and ready to sign. Several parts of the document and behavior of the company, however, put me on guard. Most importantly, the terms for contract violation were very heavy and breaking the lease inadvertently would be easy to do because it contains sweeping definitions, like banning all forms of "business" activity from the premises. Another clause limits guests to a 2 week stay. The first was easily negotiated but required positive action on my part. The company acted very strangely on the second. We negotiated a change in language from an absolute ban to "written permission" and then to "written notification." Nevertheless, the company tried to sneak a document changed to "authorization" by me, as if I don't know the difference between authorization and notification or that authorization is virtually synonymous with permission. Moreover, it tried to foist on us a second document with many of the same stipulations as the first, including the 2 week guest rule! We had already signed some documents re: security deposit and so forth, so I ripped them up when it became clear that the company was not going to budge on the rule, citing a bunch of bizarre irrelevancies, because I no longer felt I could trust it with my signature. Perhaps worst of all, the company tried to make all sorts of oral, side agreements about the guest rule although its lease clearly states, as it should, that only the written agreement binds.

Of course no one should make a decision about renting a property from, or with, Nagel on the basis of my experience alone but do look over all documents VERY CAREFULLY, know what you are signing, and don't be afraid to walk away if things don't look/feel right.

UPDATE 3/19/15: I've already received interesting feedback on this. I'm not alone in having doubts about Nagel. The most interesting comment so far has been the suggestion that property management companies work in the interests of owners rather than renters because without any properties to list there would be no renters. True, but without any renters there will be no demand for listed properties. So *quality* property management companies will balance the interests of both sides instead of just trying to suck renters into the maw.

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