I agree with others who have posted on this site ... rather than hire Avery Hess to manage a property, a person is better off even if they live miles away or in another state to do it themselves! In my experience and the experiences of the six tenants I have interviewed, Avery Hess personnel are lazy, unreliable, uncommunicative, dishonest, and worse!
As I served on active duty in the US Army, I was unable to manage my Arlington condo, I hired Avery Hess for property management. They received full payment for assorted management tasks for 12 years. In January 2013, when I began to ask too many difficult questions about their management practices and unsubstantiated charges, first David Hess implored "please don't leave us; we've been good stewards of your condo for 12 years". Later, when he realized that I was not going alone with his BS, Hess "fired me" as a client claiming I was an absentee and uncommunicative client and, essentially, too much trouble!
Here are only a few of the problems I experienced with Avery Hess Property Management:
a) As I was in Virginia in January 2013 and wanted to visit my condo that had been with Avery Hess property management for 12 years, I asked Avery Hess personnel to make an appointment with the tenants and go with me to the property on a day that fit best into my short schedule. Barbara Radvanyi declined to make an appointment. After I contacted my tenants when I was in the area and made my own appointment, I asked for Avery Hess personnel to accompany me to the condo. They declined. None of the property management staff members and none of the brokers would join me on a scheduled inspection of the condo under their management. As I discovered, the property management personnel and brokers do not work on weekends unless they want to do so. I visited the condo and my tenants and the condo without representation. I got an "earful" of complaints about Avery Hess from the tenants. To my surprise, the tenants' complaints about Avery Hess matched my own.
b) Avery Hess refused to provide me with any documentation pertaining to the deposit money charged following the departure of the most recent previous tenants. When the brand new tenants moved in, they reported to me that the condo was not clean: the kitchen stove and oven were filthy, the carpet had not been cleaned, all of the mini-blinds were missing, window screens were missing, parts of half of the windows were gone, the key to the storm door was not issued to them, and the doorbell was not there. I called the previous tenants (who had just moved out) and they informed me that they received nearly the entire deposit money back after they left the property. Only after numerous complaints from my current tenants did Avery Hess personnel arrange for somebody to clean the condo. As Avery Hess lost track of the mini-blinds that were in the condo, the current tenants purchased their own new ones. Eventually, my current tenants insisted on having my contact information as they realized that Avery Hess was uncommunicative; property management personnel refused to provide any information as to how they could reach me. When I happened to be in Virginia and contacted the tenants for an appointment, they had made plans to go to the Arlington property tax office to get my contact information. At that point, they were fed-up with Avery Hess.
c) Avery Hess property management personnel insisted that my current tenants sign a new lease document before the previous lease document had expired, so Avery Hess could increase the rent and get another commission for the new lease. The tenants were told that I insisted on a monthly rent increase prior to the end of the existing lease, but this was absolutely not true. The tenants were given less than one month to sign the new lease document; the tenants had no time to pursue other housing options.
d) When tenants called Avery Hess to make repair orders, Avery Hess personnel never checked to determine whether the repairs were actually necessary or what they entailed. As one example, the tenants claimed the exterior steps were "dangerous". With this Avery Hess hired their in-house laborer (known under different business names that appear not to be registered with the state) to replace the back steps for $1,000.00. In checking with contractors, the charge I paid was way too high. On this point, Avery Hess will not provide me with any paperwork to substantiate the assorted work projects that they authorized and billed to me. When I called the laborer directly, he put me in touch with his wife who has repeated told me that she mailed the paperwork I requested to me; none of the requested and promised paperwork supporting the laborer's work has ever arrived. Several "repairs" were unnecessary, but billed to me none the less. In reviewing the invoices charged to me, one bill was for an after hours plumbing job that was written to a different residential address, and then, with white-out, corrected to the address of my condo.
Avery Hess is a terrible property management company. I recommend that no property owner consider using these people to manage any piece of real property. And from my experiences with the two primary brokers, I would not hire this company for any real estate need.
If you're looking for a property management company, you're better off doing it yourself than using Avery Hess. I used their services for a few years to manage a condo, and was not impressed. They turned a bad situation (I was forced to rent it out because I can't afford the loss if I sell) into an even worse one. They didn't pay attention to simple things, like the month-to-month changes in the condo fees/utilities. They put one amount into their system, and paid that amount each month... which meant they sometimes overpaid, and sometimes underpaid (resulting in fines and a negative reputation for ME with the condo association). I also had to send THEM reminders of key things -- like the annual city homeowners' fee. At the end of the lease term, they communicated very poorly as to the amounts they were refunding, and ended up sticking me with a large repair bill with no advance notice. Poor communication, poor attention to detail... their services were not worth the money.
Replied to K. R. - Jul 9, 2012
Thank you for the opportunity to add my response to Kristine's public comments made regarding our management services....
When she came to us to manage her property, she disclosed she had just fired her management company for accounting reasons! I'll get to the jist of her reasons behind this posting.... She recently returned to occupy her unit, the vacating tenant had broken a bedroom mirrored sliding door. I told her that we were charging the tenant for the broken door from the tenants security deposit in accordance with the lease. I had a contractor order a new door. The new door didn't arrive until after Kristine, the owner, re-occupied the premises, which, in addition to the time it took to received, installation was also delayed by her standing up the contractor that agreed to meet her on a Saturday as requested by her. By this time, the funds that had been taken from the tenants security deposit had been credited to Ms. Roger's along with her account reserves in order to close out her account with our firm. She is now refusing to pay the contractors invoice claiming that she didn't know that the funds returned included the contractors amount although it was clearly marked on her owner statement. She is simply refusing to cover the invoice.