The apartment industry has changed a lot over the past three years, let alone 300 years. While we’ll never quite know what it was like back then, I had a little fun imagining a conversation with a property management executive from the 1700s…
Me: I’m delighted that you, Leopold Hawthorne, the oldest property management executive in the world, agreed to this interview. Before discussing property management, I need to ask—to what do you attribute your long life?
Leopold: Red wine.
Me: Ahh, you drink red wine for your health.
Leopold: No. Most of my tenants are great, but the bad ones drove me to the grape.
Me: You must have run into some doozies. Can you share some interesting stories?
Lepold: I had a tenant in the 1870s. He was an inventive man but he didn’t like the color of the walls so I had I had repaint them. The outhouse was too far away from the back door and he tripped over a possum. We had to give a month of free rent.
Me: Demanding fellow.
Leopold: When he complained about the lighting, I drew the line—move out or take care of it yourself!
Me: Did he move?
Leopold: No, he created a contraption that brightened the apartment.
Me: What was his name?
Leopold: Thomas Edison. What a complainer.
Me: Well, you are an American pioneer. I understand you were one of NAA’s founding members.
Leopold: Actually, before NAA, I helped found the precursor organization. In the old days, apartments hadn’t caught on yet. Tenants mostly rented small bungalows. Some of us visionaries got together and created The Wooden Hovel Posse.
We commissioned a couple gentlemen to find ideal locations for rentals west of the Mississippi River.
Me: Good idea!
Leopold: Not good. We paid the two gentlemen quite a large sum. Not only that, I lent them my best canoe. But once they left, we never saw hide nor hair from them again.
Me: Terrible. What were their names?
Leopold: Clark and Lewis. Poor guys couldn’t follow a map.
Me: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark?
Leopold: You know where they went? If you find them, they checked out some books from the library that are quite past due.
Me: Umm. You are a legend. You must have earned a lot over the years.
Leopold: In 1732, my average rent was $10 per month plus utilities. But electricity hadn’t been invented and water came from the river, so…it was just $10.
Me: What was your NOI?
Leopold: $6 per month per unit.
Check out the Commerical Water & Energy Co. blog for more humor and information about submetering.