UPDATE: Local property management company blasts BBB’s ‘F’ rating
Excalibur Homes LLC is accused of delaying work and maintenance orders and withholding security deposits without cause.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The president and co-owner of Excalibur Homes LLC in Alpharetta said the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) recent warning does not consider thousands of positive Google reviews.
Tim Nelson, president of his family-owned business, spoke out after Atlanta News First Investigates reported the BBB’s warning and investigation about the property management company, “specifically, consumers are alleging difficulty in reaching the company and delays in getting their work orders or maintenance items completed.”
The BBB issued an F rating, in part, because of complaints and Excalibur’s decision not to respond publicly.
Excalibur Homes was founded in 1985 and manages 8,000 rental properties for landlords and investors. Nelson decided to drop his company’s BBB membership.
“It surprised me that your story came out, making a big deal that the Better Business Bureau had revoked our membership when the more accurate way it is that we just didn’t renew,” Nelson said. He said the BBB’s 137 complaints over a three -year period represent a fraction of the tenants and that Excalibur Homes chose not to respond because the tenants are not the customers. Nelson said Excalibur’s customers are the property owners.
“There were 137 complaints filed in the past three years; that’s over a period of time when we managed 13,000 tenancies,” Nelson said. “That’s not a lot of complaints. If you want to see complaints and accolades, you can look at Google reviews, and you’ll see there’s a whole blend of what’s going on in the market, and our Google review is a 4.3.”
A BBB spokesperson responded, and said, “We maintain an unbiased platform for consumers and businesses alike to share their experiences and raise concerns. It is the BBB’s responsibility to work with all consumers who have submitted valid complaints to the BBB.
“A business’s BBB Accreditation status does not impact the BBB complaint process or the transparency we aim to provide. We also encourage consumers to look into all available information, including Google reviews and other online platforms, to make informed decisions. We strive to work in the best interests of fairness, transparency, and integrity.”
Excalibur Homes LLC has 4,660 Google reviews, and most are positive. Unlike the BBB’s site, however, reviews and complaints are solicited.
“Whenever we accomplish a new lease, you can review us, whenever we accomplish a task, you can review us, and so we’re asking for the reviews so you can get one and threes and fives because we’re asking for them,” Nelson said.
According to BBB records, consumers have complained of significant difficulty reaching the company and delays in completing work orders or maintenance items. There have also been complaints of security deposit withholding without just cause. These complaints have led BBB to identify a pattern of service or repair issues associated with Excalibur Homes.
Last month a consumer reported to BBB they created a maintenance request in October 2022 regarding a fallen light post.
“It has been almost six months, and the request has not been resolved,” said the consumer. “I made a maintenance request because a light post that is in the front yard of the house I am renting fell over and needs to be replaced. I created four different maintenance requests because each one was left ignored. It is now an HOA violation and is still laying on the ground with no scheduled appointments to come and take care of it.”
In March, another consumer informed BBB they expected to receive their security deposit after moving out of Excalibur Homes’ property and completing a move-out inspection.
“My move out inspection was completed on April 4,” the customer wrote. “After I did not hear from the company for some time, I decided to reach out on April 12, to inquire about my security deposit being returned. My property manager advised me that my $2,450 of my $2,650 deposit was being returned. I asked when I could expect the check in the mail. [The property manager] advised that the check was mailed out on April 30 and it would take up to 30 days. I have since reached out pleading for [their] assistance to confirm what address they mailed the check to. I have emailed [them] several times with no response regarding the return of my security deposit.”
BBB requested the company’s voluntary cooperation in responding to and eliminating the pattern of complaints. Excalibur Homes responded with this statement:
“Our company manages over 8000 rental houses. Our ‘customers’ are the property owners and they are very satisfied with our service. The BBB is getting complaints from tenants. We do not represent the tenant. The BBB has made it easy for any tenant with a complaint to try to damage our reputation even after a judge has sided with the landlord. The BBB is unable to accurately reflect a property management company’s actual success. So we are withdrawing.”
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As of August 2023, Excalibur Homes maintains an “F” rating with BBB for failure to respond to 52 complaints; failure to resolve the underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints; and the volume of complaints filed against the business. Excalibur Homes’ BBB accreditation was revoked due to its failure to adhere to BBB accreditation standards. Consumers with similar experiences can file a complaint with BBB.
BBB suggests the following tips when renting from a property management firm:
- Research the firm. Take some time to learn about the property management firm you are considering renting from by searching bbb.org. BBB Business Profiles outline a company’s rating, consumer reviews, history of complaints, and whether or not the company is responsive to its customer experiences.
- Get everything in writing. Make sure you get all agreements and obligations in writing, from the lease agreement to the payment schedule and maintenance expectations. You should also keep copies of all documentation and written communication.
- Review the management agreement. The agreement should define the property owner’s and manager’s responsibilities. Check that the agreement details who is responsible for repairs, extra fees, fair housing laws compliance, and cancellation policies. Pay attention to the rental rate, lease term, renewal options, security deposit, pet policy, and any fees or penalties associated with the lease. Make sure the agreement includes any oral promises made during the agreement. Read everything thoroughly before signing, and do not sign if there are any blanks in the agreement.
- Who is responsible for upkeep? Find out how maintenance and repair concerns are handled and within what time frame.
- Know how to handle disputes. Even with the best property management, disputes can sometimes arise. If you find yourself in a dispute with your property management, the first step is to try to resolve the issue directly with them. If that doesn’t work, consider BBB’s dispute resolution processes or contact a lawyer. Always keep clear records such as emails, letters or detailed notes of any interactions that could help if the dispute needs to be escalated. The key is to remain calm and try your best to resolve the matter amicably.
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