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First Place Management

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JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA -- Anyone in the Jacksonville area thinking of renting from First Place Management should think twice. The warning signs of this companies inefficiency to work with their clients were blaring from the beginning, but, needing a place to live, my roommate and I signed a lease without thinking it through. It took this company 3 weeks to call us back just to see the apartment!

After being there for a year and paying rent on time every month, we decided to renew our lease for one more year. My checkbook and credit cards got stolen at this time and my bank put a freeze on my account. I notified the company of said freeze and they processed a rent payment regardless. They then proceeded to charge me a late fee, a "delivery" fee for a notice (which was never delivered), and told my roommate and I that we had to pay in money order form for the rest of our newly resigned year lease. This, after I told them I needed to cancel the check and pay in a different manner. Being two professional women who work all over town, you can imagine how time consuming it was to track each other down, cash checks, withdraw money and then get a cashier's check from one of our banks. I asked the company if there were a better way to handle it-they said no. I found out 6 months later there was indeed an easier method for us, but the company claims they "forgot" to tell us.

When I confronted the company with this I was treated as if I were an idiot and the disrespect from the OWNER of the company was appalling, telling me I deserved hardship for "writing a bad check," and I "must be irresponsible," and that's why he couldn't take my hard earned money from me. He repeatedly called me "young lady" as if I were his daughter and I'm 26 years old. I'm shocked. I've lived in a lot of rental units in the past 8 years and have never been treated like this.

It should also be noted that on one of my monthly visits to the office, I overheard an employee yelling at the owner telling him she did not appreciate his disrespect and lack of gratitude for her. If a company's own employees say this about them, why would anyone want to do business with them?
     
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grandma005 on 2007-10-02:
When your lease is up you should move.
Ponie on 2007-10-03:
Although their inefficiency was 'blaring from the beginning,' you 'signed a lease without thinking it through?' Then you signed for an additional year? I'd say that wasn't too smart on your part. The fact that your checkbook and CCs were stolen is not of concern to the company. They're in business for one thing--to make money. Isn't that your goal, too? Couldn't your roomie come through in your time of 'stress?' Would you have preferred to be called 'old hag?'

There must be some reason why you've lived in 'a lot of rental units' in an eight-year period. I think the owner got it right--you're probably irresponsible.
Jagster on 2008-09-29:
I'm a current tenant of a property managed by FPM and can tell you that I'm not very happy with them from this side either. Particularly their lease terms but also I just get a sense that they are not doing everything on the up and up. I can understand how some of their terms are appealing to the owners but there is also one item that if I were the owner I would have huge problems with and that is that if a tenant wants to purchase the home from the owner at some point, then the owner has to pay FPM 10% of the sale. That sounds crazy to me. Also I have offered to do some maintenance myself since I am very handy and they still send someone out to do it. This makes me think that they are billing the owners an amount larger than they are paying their repair guys in order to increase the profit from each property. I can't imagine why anyone would decline to have some items fixed for just the price of the parts, I would guess any homeowner would agree to that easily. And about their repair guys, they are very shoddy, it's like some guy that dropped out of high school 25 years ago an is living in a trailer. And if they are charging the owners for light bulb replacements, I can tell you they are probably not really getting put in. I had several lights I had to replace when I first moved in. And the toilet seats were not in bad shape but they certainly were not new.

From the tenant perspective, the biggest issues I have are with their lease terms. In particular 2 items. One is that it requires a 3 month notice to vacate whereas the customary terms are any amount but at least 1 month. The second is that there is an automatic annual 5% increase and that is not normal in my experience. For those reasons alone, I am going to look for someplace else (like granma005 rightly suggested c2gurl should do), simply because I do not think those terms are proper. You may wonder why I signed the lease if I didn't like the terms, well it was because I assumed the terms would be normal when I put down a deposit and if I had not taken the lease they would have kept my deposit. I was moving in from out of town so I figured I would just find someplace else after my lease was up, which is what I'm going to do. And in this market, because of those 2 items, the owner will unfortunately probably loose out on several months rent.. around $4500-$6000, if not more. And the lease also may have cost the owner a sale. I don’t know if they are even interested in selling but I am now in the market to buy but am not even considering this property simply because I do not feel the management company should profit from the sale just because they were paid to rent it. A realtor gets paid because they put a lot of effort into listing, advertising, and showing the property and FPM is not doing any of those in regards to selling (they already got a fee for doing that to get it rented.. which is a lot less work).

So I guess the advice I would give anyone looking to use FPM to rent out their home is to make sure they remove the sales terms and the 3-month vacate terms. My advice for prospective tenants would be to ask for the lease terms before putting down any money. It would not surprise me if they have 2 sets for terms, one for people that ask to see them before they have put any money down (with more normal terms) and one for others that are already on the hook. I've learned my lesson and will always ask to see the lease before I put any $$ down.
merlion69 on 2009-10-05:
I rented a 2 bedroom home in Jacksonville FL from a First Place Management Inc. I completed my lease which ended in June 2009. I sent a certified Letter dated 13 February 2009 to First Place Management stating I was unemployed and wanted to vacate at the end of April thereby giving my 60 days notice. I informed that I would be responsible for May and June so I stated I would remain until my lease expires in June.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, my father passed away early June and I asked for a month extension until 31 July to allow me to take care of personal business back in my home state. I received an email 19 June from First Place Management stating a month extension would be acceptable and I would vacate the premises by 31 July. I vacated the premises on 28 July to relocate to my home state. Now First Place Management states I owe rent/late fees and other charges for August and September after knowing I was vacating the home in July to relocate back to my home state. Since I asked for a 1 month extension, due to the death of my father in June, First Place Management states I was now on a month-to-month lease and required to give 60 days notice. This is completely absurd since they already knew I was leaving and I never agree to any such terms. There is no mention of any information in the mail I received stating I would be on a month-to-month lease requiring another 2 month notice. To make matters worse they send me a list of frivolous charges and ended up keeping my whole $850.00 deposit.
Ytropious on 2009-10-05:
Did you sign something that said you were on a month to month contract? You might have without even knowing it, which sounds like what happened. Like perhaps in your original contract it says if you need an extension you automatically move to month by month. Sucks but that's why contracts exist.
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What Management?
Posted by on
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA -- I own a home in Jacksonville which I am using as a rental property until my job transfers me back. I contracted with First Place to manage the property i.e., screen tenants, collect rent and ensure the property is maintained. In the past three years I've had three changes in tenants. With each change the "truth" comes out - the tenant wasn't financially responsible(Thought you guys screened these folks?!) and in the course of the move out, damages exceeding the security deposit are always noted and repaired by First Place's own crack "jack of all trades".

Oddly enough, their "invoice" charges always equal the security deposit and include such necessaries as changing 5 light bulb for $50 and new toilet seats(every new tenant gets a new toilet seat - Whoo Hooo!). The rent is never deposited on time and trying to get an answer or a returned phone or email - forget it.

I guess when the next tenant moves out, I'll be moving First Place out too!
     
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Ponie on 2008-07-24:
I've heard lots of complaints against property management companies (not necessarily First Place Management). I guess that's the chance you're forced to take if you're not fortunate to have a trusted friend handle these transactions for you. We owned a home in Indiana and when I was transferred to Illinois, we had a good friend find tenants and take care of necessary repairs. He charged a certain % of the rent. In time he even found a buyer for us. How long did you live in Jacksonville? When you're out from under your contract with My First Place, is there a possibility you could find someone like we did? Good luck!
moneybags on 2008-07-24:
Contact a well known Realtor that has a property management department. They are normally more thorough and if there is a complaint, you can take it to the Real Estate Commission. I'd report First Place to the RE Commission as they may not be following all the rules (where are receipts for repairs?) /laws and may not be licensed.
Jagster on 2008-09-29:
I'm a current tenant of a property managed by FPM and can tell you that I'm not very happy with them from this side either. Particularly their lease terms but also I just get a sense that they are not doing everything on the up and up. I can understand how some of their terms are appealing to the owners but there is also one item that if I were the owner I would have huge problems with and that is that if a tenant wants to purchase the home from the owner at some point, then the owner has to pay FPM 10% of the sale. That sounds crazy to me. Also I have offered to do some maintenance myself since I am very handy and they still send someone out to do it. This makes me think that they are billing the owners an amount larger than they are paying their repair guys in order to increase the profit from each property. I can't imagine why anyone would decline to have some items fixed for just the price of the parts, I would guess any homeowner would agree to that easily. And about their repair guys, they are very shoddy, it's like some guy that dropped out of high school 25 years ago an is living in a trailer. And if they are charging the owners for light bulb replacements, I can tell you they are probably not really getting put in. I had several lights I had to replace when I first moved in. And the toilet seats were not in bad shape but they certainly were not new.

From the tenant perspective, the biggest issues I have are with their lease terms. In particular 2 items. One is that it requires a 3 month notice to vacate whereas the customary terms are any amount but at least 1 month. The second is that there is an automatic annual 5% increase and that is not normal in my experience. For those reasons alone, I am going to look for someplace else, simply because I do not think those terms are proper. You may wonder why I signed the lease if I didn't like the terms, well it was because I assumed the terms would be normal when I put down a deposit and if I had not taken the lease they would have kept my deposit. I was moving in from out of town so I figured I would just find someplace else after my lease was up, which is what I'm going to do. And in this market, because of those 2 items, the owner will unfortunately probably loose out on several months rent.. around $4500. And the lease also may have cost the owner a sale. I don’t know if they are even interested in selling but I am now in the market to buy but am not even considering this property simply because I do not feel the management company should profit from the sale just because they were paid to rent it. A realtor gets paid because they put a lot of effort into listing, advertising, and showing the property and FPM is not doing any of those in regards to selling (they already got a fee for doing that to get it rented.. which is a lot less work).

So I guess the advice I would give anyone looking to use FPM to rent out their home is to make sure they remove the sales terms the 3-month vacate terms. My advice for prospective tenants would be to ask for the lease terms before putting down any money. It would not surprise me if they have 2 sets for terms, one for people that ask to see them before they have put any money down (with more normal terms) and one for others that are already on the hook. I've learned my lesson and will always ask to see the lease before I put any $$ down.
Chanise on 2013-08-21:
I was a tenant of a home managed by this company and have had similar bad experiences with them. The home was in sub-par condition when I moved in, with marks all over on walls, wires hanging out of uncovered outlets, etc. There was trash all over the back yard and furniture/garbage left in the house from the previous tenants. They never took care of any of it, such a shame. They made us jump through hoops to verify the legitimacy of a trained and registered service dog in the home, then tacked pet rent onto the rent even though that is against the Americans with Disabilities Act. To skirt the law, they added it to the rent without labeling it as a pet charge. Shady folks. On the bright side, at least the employees at the front desk are friendly.
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