Justice for Tenants: Where to Report Bad Property Managers in 2023?

Reporting bad property managers is vital for tenants’ rights, housing quality, accountability, and prevention of harm. It safeguards tenant rights by addressing issues like neglect, discrimination, and retaliation. It enhances housing quality by holding managers accountable and motivating improvements. Reporting also prevents harm to other tenants, ensuring they don’t suffer from poor management practices. Ultimately, it plays a pivotal role in protecting tenants and improving housing conditions.

Where to report bad property managers?

File a Complaint with the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM)

  • If the property manager is a member of NARPM, use this avenue to file a complaint.

Submit a Complaint to the California Department of Consumer Affairs (For California Residents)

  • If you’re a California resident, call the Communication Center at 800-884-1684 (voice), 800-700-2320 (TTY), or California’s Relay Service at 711.

Contact the Local Real Estate Association

  • Report issues to the real estate association where the property manager holds their license.

Contact the Property Management Company Directly

  • Discuss your grievances and give them an opportunity to resolve the issue.

Write a Detailed Letter or Email

  • Explain your concerns clearly and concisely, demonstrating your intent to resolve the issue amicably if necessary.

File a Complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

  • Visit the BBB website to file a complaint, prompting a review of the property manager’s rating.

Contact the Relevant Department or Agency

  • Identify the appropriate department or agency based on the nature of your complaint.

Contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

  • If federal fair housing laws have been violated, get in touch with HUD.

Inquire with Your Local City

  • Contact your local government to learn about complaint filing options for reporting bad property managers.

Consider Legal Action

In severe cases, consult with a lawyer and explore the option of filing a lawsuit against the property manager to seek legal resolution.

How to report a bad property manager

Steps to File a Complaint Against a Bad Property Manager:

Address the Issue Directly

  • Contact the property management company to discuss your grievances, allowing them a chance to resolve the problem before taking further action.

Contact Higher-Level Management

  • If initial communication doesn’t yield results, reach out to higher-level management, such as the regional manager or owner of the property management company.

Review Your Contract

  • Examine your contract to understand the property management company’s responsibilities and obligations, helping you identify any violations.

Document Everything

  • Keep a record of all communication and incidents related to your complaint, including dates, times, and relevant details or documents, serving as evidence if you need to escalate the matter.

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

  • Submit a complaint to the BBB, which will contact the property management company and seek a review of their rating. Use the BBB website to file the complaint.

File a Complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

  • If federal fair housing laws have been violated, file a complaint with HUD through their website’s complaint filing process.

File a Complaint with the Appropriate State Agency (for Rent-Controlled or Rent-Stabilized Properties)

  • If your property is subject to rent control or stabilization, file a complaint with the relevant state agency. For example, in New York, use the New York State Homes & Community Renewal (NYSHCR) website for this purpose.

Consider Legal Action

  • If your complaints remain unresolved and you believe you have a strong case, consult with a lawyer and consider filing a lawsuit against the property manager, understanding the legal process and requirements in your jurisdiction.

Explore Alternative Property Management Solutions

If your issues persist and you no longer wish to work with the current property manager, seek alternative solutions. This may involve finding a new property management company or taking on management responsibilities yourself.

Complaint Letter Against Bad Property Manager Template

Letter Template Download

Download Complaint Letter Template

Click the link below to download the template in a TXT file:

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Expected Response Times for Complaints Against Property Managers

  1. Non-emergency Issues (7 to 10 Days):
    • Generally, anticipate a response within 7 to 10 days for non-emergency complaints. This timeframe allows the property management company to review and address your concerns appropriately.
  2. Emergency Issues (2 to 4 Days):
    • Urgent matters, like major maintenance problems or safety issues, may yield a response within 2 to 4 days. Property management companies prioritize immediate attention for such cases.
  3. Legal and Regulatory Processes (Varies):
    • Response times for complaints filed with state agencies or regulatory bodies may vary. Agencies like the Arkansas Real Estate Commission assess violations of the law, and the timeline depends on their workload and the complexity of the complaint.
  4. Communication and Expectations:
    • Clearly communicate your expectations when filing a complaint. For instance, you can request a response within a specific timeframe, like 14 days, allowing the property manager adequate time to address your concerns.
  5. Documentation Is Key:
    • Maintain a record of all communications and incidents related to your complaint. This documentation serves as crucial evidence if you need to escalate your complaint or pursue legal remedies.
  6. Next Steps if No Response:
    • If you don’t receive a response within a reasonable timeframe, consider alternative actions, such as filing a complaint with a regulatory body or seeking legal counsel. Prompt action ensures your concerns are addressed effectively.

Escalate a complaint against a property manager if you don’t receive a response

Send a Notice to the Property Manager:

  • Initiate the escalation process by sending a formal written notice to the property manager, clearly articulating the issue and requesting a resolution. This may prompt them to take action.

Contact the Property Management Company:

  • If the property manager remains unresponsive, directly contact the property management company. Share a copy of your initial complaint and any supporting documentation to highlight the issue.

Contact Local Housing Authorities or Tenant Advocacy Organizations:

  • If resolution is still elusive, escalate the complaint by reaching out to local housing authorities or tenant advocacy organizations. They can offer guidance and support in addressing the problem effectively.

Consider Legal Action (Last Resort):

  • As a last resort, if the situation remains unresolved and your rights as a tenant are being violated, consult with a lawyer and contemplate taking legal action. This step depends on the specifics of your case and should be considered carefully.

When escalating a complaint, maintain meticulous records of all communication, including dates, times, and the individuals involved. This documentation serves as crucial evidence of your efforts to resolve the issue and can be invaluable if further action is necessary.

Examples of Bad Property Managers

Examples of Bad Property Managers:

Poor Communication:

Property managers who are unresponsive, fail to provide updates, or do not address tenant concerns in a timely manner.

Limited Availability:

Property managers who only maintain regular business hours and are not reachable for emergencies or urgent matters.

Bad Tenant Selection:

Property managers who do not properly screen tenants, leading to issues with non-payment of rent, lease violations, or unauthorized subletting.

Lack of Property Inspections:

Property managers who do not conduct regular inspections to identify and address maintenance issues, potentially leading to more expensive repairs in the future.

Unexplained Expenses:

Property managers who do not provide detailed reports or explanations for charges and expenses related to the property.

Neglecting Property Maintenance:

Property managers who fail to address maintenance issues in a timely manner, leading to further damage and potential safety hazards.

Inadequate Marketing:

Property managers who do not effectively market vacant units, leading to longer vacancy periods and potential loss of income for the property owner.

Mismanagement of Tenant Relations:

Property managers who do not effectively handle tenant disputes, resulting in a negative living environment for tenants and potential legal issues.

Lack of Knowledge and Professionalism:

Property managers who demonstrate a lack of expertise in property management, are unprofessional in their behavior or appearance, and do not prioritize the best interests of the property owner.

Failure to Comply with Legal Requirements:

Property managers who do not adhere to local, state, and federal laws and regulations, potentially exposing the property owner to legal issues.


In conclusion, knowing where to report bad property managers is essential for safeguarding tenant rights, maintaining housing quality, and ensuring accountability within the rental industry. By following the outlined steps and utilizing various channels, tenants can address issues effectively and hold property managers accountable for their actions. Reporting bad property managers not only protects individual tenants but also contributes to the overall improvement of housing conditions and the preservation of tenant rights, ultimately fostering a more transparent and responsible rental market for everyone involved.

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