Renting with Pets

21/10/2020

I’ve previously written here about Animals in Rental Properties, but through the course of 2020, we’ve seen several highly covered Tribunal and court cases battling for pet owners to have the right to keep pets in apartments.

Recently we’ve seen COVID-19 effectively increase the number of tenants seeking approval to keep pets in rental properties and whilst there are fewer obstacles getting pets approved in some properties, the issues surrounding approval becomes complicated where the property is part of a Strata Plan, a community of apartments or townhouses.

In some high-profile cases in Sydney, we see appeal after appeal where ultimately, it’s up to the building’s individual Strata Committee to approve or decline applications for pets.

In New South Wales, the default is no longer to ban pets, but instead allow pets after you obtain written approval from the Strata Committee, which can’t be unreasonably refused. This was a New South Wales legislative change which forms part of the Strata Schemes Management Regulations 2016.

However, this doesn’t consider a strata property’s individual by-laws. Even though legislation provides for the occupier of a strata apartment to have a pet, that doesn’t mean you have the strata committee’s approval. Strata Committees get to choose which by-laws it wants to incorporate into their strata scheme. Saying this, the recent unanimous ruling by three sitting judges from the NSW Court of Appeal, on a four-and-a-half-year battle between Jo Cooper (pet owner) and the Horizon building in Darlinghurst, now means that no blanket ban on pets will be permitted in any building anywhere in the state of NSW. You can read the article here, written by Sue Williams, Domain Reporter.

Prior to bringing a pet into a strata property, you’ll need to send a written request to the Strata Committee seeking permission. This applies even if your building is pet-friendly, and some strata managing agents may have a dedicated application form for this process.

Every Strata Committee will require different information but some of the information requested could be;

  • A description of your pet i.e. the pets breed, size and age
  • Details of your pet’s disposition, such as temperament and its activity needs
  • Proof of registration, microchipping, de-sexing, and all necessary vaccinations
  • References from former landlords, agent, or neighbours that mention your pet’s behaviour, particularly if you have previously kept a pet in a strata managed complex
  • Records of any formal pet training

In the application process, I feel that what’s considered strongly will be;

  • The by-laws for the particular building
  • The type, size, and number of pets
  • The size of the property vs. the size and the number of pets
  • If the pet will suitably fit in with the Strata Plan
  • Your personal routine i.e. if you work from home or take your pet to work

Whilst applications can’t be unreasonably denied, I think it’s fair to say that a large active dog won’t be approved for a small apartment unless, for instance, its owner takes the dog to work with them all day, every day.

If you reside in a rental property, you need to be aware that the landlord of the property is allowed to exercise their discretion on whether or not a pet is permitted by tenants in their apartment. In order to seek approval from the Strata Committee, the tenant’s pet application should be first submitted to the landlord (or Property Manager if managed by an Agency) for approval and then once approved by the landlord or agent, they will submit the pet application to the Strata Committee for you, so essentially this two-step process has to happen before a pet can be kept at the property.

“It is important to note that under the Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009, any person who relies on a guide, hearing or assistance dog (and who has the right to be on a lot included in a community titles scheme, or on the common property) has the right to be accompanied their service dog, regardless of a strata committee’s by-laws on pets.” PICA Group.

So, it is worth looking into further.

For Tenants – find out what the owner’s position is on pets first, find out if there are other pets in the complex and therefore the by-laws are more likely to allow pets.

For Owners – it may be worth looking into getting a tenant approved to keep a pet, as I’ve written before most pet owners are responsible ones and can become long term tenants. For the most part, in my experience, renting to tenants with pets is a trouble-free experience.


Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one and end to end service for his Property Investor clients. For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/

Repairs, Maintenance & Fair Wear & Tear

16 September 2020

Taking care & looking after a rental property is a shared responsibility between tenants, landlords, and the Property Manager if managed by a Real Estate Agency.

The landlord is responsible for ensuring that the property is fit to live in and that repairs and maintenance are completed so that the property is in a reasonable state of repair. The tenant is responsible for keeping the property reasonably clean and undamaged and leave it in the same condition it was in when they moved in (fair wear and tear excepted). If the property is managed through a Real Estate Agency, then the Property Manager will act on behalf of the Landlord and will ensure that the property is fit to live in and is the go-to person, for the tenant to report any repairs or maintenance issues that arise during the tenancy.

What happens when maintenance and repairs are needed?

A tenant should contact their Property Manager or Landlord (if not managed by an Agency) as soon as possible and report the maintenance and/or repairs that are needed.

The Property Manager will need to identify how the maintenance and/or repair came to light. Was it due to damage caused by the tenant or just wear and tear?

If it was damaged caused by the tenant, then the tenant will be responsible for the reasonable cost of repairing, restoration and/or replacement to rectify the damage, however, if it is wear and tear, then the landlord will bear the costs.

What is ‘fair wear & tear’?

Fair wear and tear, is a term for damage that either naturally or inevitably occurs as a result of normal use and/or ageing. Another way to look at it is, fair wear and tear is damage that occurs even when an item is used competently and with care and proper maintenance. This covers property fixtures and items that deteriorate over time due to daily use and/or ageing.

Some of these are:

  • Worn kitchen benchtops
  • Worn handles or hinges
  • Scuffed flooring on the carpet on high traffic foot areas

On the other hand, it is not, wear and tear when the damage to the property is due to an accident, negligence, or even malicious.

Some of these are:

  • Burns on kitchen benchtops
  • Holes in the walls
  • Stains or burn marks on the carpet

As an example, carpet has an expected lifespan of 10 years, and therefore wear and tear consistent with its lifespan is expected, so daily walking on the carpet will result in wear and tear.

However, excessive staining, like from a spilled glass of red wine would not be considered ‘fair wear and tear’.

Somethings aren’t always as clear cut, so your Property Manager will need to apply some common sense and ask the right questions in order to make an informed decision on whether or not the damage is ‘fair wear and tear’.

Saying that fair wear and tear is not always something that requires repair, but simply needs to be taken into account based on the age and economical life of a fixture or fitting. Fair wear and tear always has to be a consideration, for example, at a final inspection at the end of a tenancy.

‘Fair wear and tear’ forms part of a Lease Agreement

The NSW, Residential Tenancy Agreement (Lease Agreement) and the NSW, Tenant Information Statement both reference the term ‘fair wear and tear’. Fair wear and tear is the responsibility of the landlord, and tenants are not responsible for paying for ‘fair wear and tear’, however, tenants need to be aware that it is there obligation to leave the residential premises as nearly as possible in the same condition, fair wear and tear excepted, as at the commencement of the tenancy.

There is though, excessive wear and tear, which takes into account, how long tenants have resided in the property or how long it’s been since things like repainting or flooring have taken place.

Excessive wear and tear, is wear from use that isn’t normal and that can come from a lack of overall care taken or just too many people residing in a property, above what has been agreed, as noted on your Lease Agreement.

Tenants need to be mindful that the cost of repairs, or the restoration of, the premises or goods leased with the premises if it is a result of damage caused by the tenant, other than ‘fair wear and tear’, may be deducted from the bond.

Landlords, what you need is a Property Manager that knows the difference and can step in accordingly, and tenants, you need a Property Manager that’s willing to take the time to Inspect the property and explain what’s what.


Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one and end to end service for his Property Investor clients. For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/

Landlords, Tenants, Property Managers & COVID-19

What else could my Blog be about right now.

I was going to post about depreciation & had a few other topics I wanted to put out but as you all know; life is on pause right about now.

These weeks have been tough.

Property Managers everywhere are struggling to get through the mass of information and ideas on how to manage this crisis.

I realise, first and foremost that this is a Health Crisis and I’m yet to come across anyone that doesn’t agree with the Stage 3 lockdowns and overall need to #stayhome.

But what about the tenants that are staying at home but are worried that they can’t pay for their home. Yes, they’re struggling and I hear their stress and sympathise with them. Let’s also not forget that landlords have also lost work and like everyone, the bills keep coming in.

We need to find some happy mediums, even if these aren’t necessarily happy outcomes, but outcomes that everyone can live with.

So, I’m giving some tips to all on how we can ALL get through this. It may be obvious and it may be common sense but here goes;

Tenants

  • Look into what assistance is available; there are ample links and fact sheets available. Get them from trusted sources i.e. Government websites
  • Rest easy, there is a moratorium on evictions but, it’s been made clear, that doesn’t mean rent won’t accrue a debt if you don’t pay and also don’t approach your Property Manager or Landlord. If you can’t pay the full rent, pay what you can to keep any balances of rent owing low. Reach out for help!
  • Property Managers are trying to help where we can to negotiate good outcomes, we’re still waiting on further advice and information from the Government though. It is coming!
  • Speak to your Landlord or Property Manager, let us know your situation so that we can get back to you as soon as we know more

Landlords

  • If you don’t have landlord’s insurance by now, it may be too late with most providers having already cut off new policies
  • Speak to your agent and let them know your financial position, so that we have the complete picture
  • Our recommendations, as Property Managers, are just that. You will have the final say in any negotiations but you need to be open to them and compromise where possible
  • If your Property is for Lease or Vacant, it is time to align to the current rental market ASAP. Tenants are still out there looking. People are downsizing, economising and looking for the perfect Isolation pad.

 

And finally, to my fellow Property Managers. We’re having a tough time, seriously. Long hours, countless calls / emails and counselling sessions.

All the while we are taking a slight battering by the media and I’ve also been hearing of many pay cuts, cuts to working hours and layoffs in our industry.

 

Property Managers

  • Listen & be compassionate to all
  • Follow trusted sources and keep up to date & informed. Things are changing rapidly, almost hourly
  • Don’t be hasty and make rushed decisions; National Cabinet updates are coming
  • Follow your regular procedures until we know more
  • If you haven’t heard, don’t give anyone Financial Advice
  • Take serious precautions when you do have to go to properties, i.e. Physical distancing, masks, sanitizer & gloves
  • Adjust, adapt & Innovate as the way we do Property Management will be changed forever
  • Now is the time to go out of your way to help our landlords, tenants and tradespeople – Go the extra mile. How we perform during difficult times can cement and build long term relationships

Shoutout

A Huge Thank you needs to go out to the REINSW, REIA, Tom Panos, Jemmeson Fischer, Leanne Pilkington and the team at Novak Properties for the regular informative updates and webinars you are running constantly. You’ll all be remembered for your efforts during this time.

I greatly appreciate you all taking the time to generously share knowledge, your insights and practical advice simply to just help others and ensure we are all doing the right thing.

Keep your head up everyone, we’ll get through this.

Antonio

NSW Rental Reforms & Renewing Leases

5/3/2020

As a Property Manager, we spend a lot of time negotiating Lease Renewals as tenants’ leases come up to expire. My opinion is that it is ideal for both owners and tenants to have the security of having a lease in place.

With the recent NSW changes to Residential Tenancy Laws, I’m already seeing landlords reconsidering this and opting to have their tenants remaining on continuing agreements.

This is largely because of the changes relating to the costs incurred by tenants when they need to Break their Lease.

These changes are likely to see increased instances of vacancy periods and therefore loss of rent where the current lease arrangements provided landlords with much more security. For a landlord, being told that their property is vacant with little “compensation” being the Break fee, leaves them open to unpredictable and unforeseen vacancy periods.

“The question now, is it worth renewing a Lease, when they’re so easy for a tenant to break?”

Whilst a fixed-term lease provides tenants and landlords a period of security, with new legislation coming in on 23/3/2020, it’ll be easier for these leases to be broken by tenants so we might see more and more tenants leaving before the Lease expires simply because it’s more affordable to do so.

 

Close to a Lease expiring your options are to either;

  • Not renew a Lease and have continuing agreement where tenants provide you with 3 weeks’ notice to vacate at any point

Or

  • Renew a Lease where tenants can break the agreement by paying a set break fee as outlined below

New mandatory set break fees for fixed-term agreements

Mandatory set fees when a tenant breaks a fixed-term agreement early will apply to all new fixed-term agreements that are 3 years or less. This applies to agreements that are entered into from 23 March 2020 onwards.

The break fees are:

  • 4 weeks rent if less than 25% of the lease had expired
  • 3 weeks rent if 25% or more but less than 50% of the lease had expired
  • 2 weeks rent if 50% or more but less than 75% of the lease had expired
  • 1 week’s rent if 75% or more of the lease had expired.

Using the example of a 12-month tenancy agreement, a tenant would only be required to provide two weeks’ rent to their landlord (that is, an amount equal to two week’s rent) to end their agreement early, if seven months (or 58%) of the agreement had expired.


I’ll be speaking to my clients on a case by case basis as Leases come up for renewal throughout 2020 but already, I am hearing “What’s the point of a Lease”.

The consensus is that at least getting 3 weeks’ notice on a continuing agreement gives you more lead time to advertise and show the property to secure new tenants, it’s all about minimising vacancy here.

As a Property Manager, it’s my job to maximise my landlords investments, and where leases are renewed at a cost to landlords it might not be the best investment to all clients when you consider a lease can be broken in the last 3 months and all the owner will receive is 1 weeks rent as the set break fee.

While there are many other changes to legislation coming in, which I’ve covered in my posts, I feel this change will have the greatest impact on both landlords and tenants.

Landlords face uncertainty in terms of the higher probability of lost income and Tenants face not having the offer or opportunity to renew their lease and get some long-term security in their homes.

My opinion is that there are no real winners here, unfortunately.

While it may sound advantageous to tenants being able to more affordably break their lease and move, long term investors may simply be turned off investing and may simply not offer the tenants that want to secure longer leases, the option.

As an investor, will I be renewing my tenant’s leases? Probably not, unless I’ve got tenants that really demand it and where I feel they’ll give me the courtesy of some notice of their vacating rather than none.

“What’s crucial here, is keeping good working relationships with tenants. Relationships where tenants will communicate any changes in circumstances to their Property Manager. So that we will get the heads up and some notice, even though the tenant doesn’t technically have to provide it.”

As Property Managers, it’ll be in our, and our client’s best interests that we keep our eyes and ears open and are attentive to our tenant’s movements and their circumstances.

Antonio @ The Management Agency

Changes to Residential Tenancy Laws – Read here for Updates

25/03/2020

Amidst the current Corona Virus climate, we’re adapting to the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.

Whilst some of the new regulations surrounding Agents licensing won’t be enforced for a grace period of 6 Months, most agencies have already implemented new procedures surrounding their tenancies being compliant.

What are we hearing so far:

  • Owners not particularly liking tenants having their contact details, privacy concerns and the reasons why they have enlisted a Property Manager
  • Less emphasis on wanting fixed term leases, a lose lose for all maybe

The positive:

  • Tenants can sign electronic leases without needing a witness, a streamlined process for all

We’ll all adapt and innovate, as we must in these times.

Stay safe, Antonio


The latest release of up to date information issued by the Office of Fair Trading can be found here.

More information to follow here below as it comes to hand.

Antonio @ The Management Agency


9/3/2020

Further information is coming to light with regards to the changes coming into place on 23/3/2020 with many Property Managers hopeful we’ll have the complete outlook within the coming weeks, especially when it comes to the time frames in which all of the changes need to be in place, where some of these are immediate and others won’t be.

Here are some points I’ve been reading about;

  • New Leases from 23/3/2020 will need to list one of the Landlords points of contacts, whether it be an email address or phone number, this is set to be a requirement and a non-negotiable.
  • All Landlords will need to read and sign a “Landlord Information Statement” this will ensure that all landlords are aware of all of their responsibilities when a Lease is entered into, we are yet to get our hands on a copy of the prescribed form.
  • Similar to Smoke Alarms, properties will need to be tested and certified for Water Efficiency at the beginning of tenancies where Water Usage is being charged and recouped from tenants.

More to come as we approach the commencement date of these reforms,

Antonio @ The Management Agency

Read more

Tenants’ Rights & Responsibilities

17/9/19

You have a lease, right? Well all of your rights and responsibilities are listed there but countless times I’ve signed up new leases and tenants just want to sign and get their keys.

I get it, you’re about to embark on several painful hours of moving and unpacking.

This can mean some nasty surprises along the way, such as water usage bills and the cost of breaking a lease. So, any Property Manager would highlight to a new tenant what they have to know and must read, but I’m going to try to simplify and outline what your BASIC rights and responsibilities are here. You still need to read your lease though and before signing it.

  • Paying Rent

Not one to play around with, this responsibility stands regardless of any issues being unaddressed.

There are other avenues to have any complaints heard and addressed but not paying rent leaves you vulnerable to having your tenancy terminated.

  • Breaking your Lease

Circumstances change and so is the legislation surrounding this, there are a couple of options for breaking leases within the agreement so know which one you are agreeing too before signing as that will apply despite pending legislation changes. Just know what you’re up for if you do need to move before the Fixed Term of your Lease expires.

  • A Right to Quiet Enjoyment of the Premises

Noise complaints, unapproved access to your home and other instances where you’re being disturbed are well documented and covered within your lease agreement. You have a right to enjoy the property peacefully and quietly. Access to the property should be approved by you in most instances.

Neighbours have the same right so you in turn must insure you’re not impeding on anyone’s else’s rights.

  •   A Property that is in a good state of repair

Repairs and maintenance, especially of an urgent nature, need to be acknowledged and attended to within reasonable time frames. These timeframes are well documented within your lease.

Make sure you report any issues in writing to your agent or owner so it’s well documented. Reporting repairs and issues also protects you as having fulfilled your obligation to notify your agent or owner so that they can then make arrangements. Get to know what’s classed as urgent and what isn’t and ensure you’re provided with contacts of preferred Emergency tradespeople.

  • Specific Building By-Laws

Each building has its own set of By-Laws and you need to be provided with these at the time of signing the lease so you know what to comply with.

  • A Condition Report

You must be provided with an In-going Condition Report at the time of your Lease Commencing, not after it’s commenced. This report should list the areas within the property and list the condition of fixtures within that area.

If you don’t complete a copy of the report within 7 days of your lease commencing, agree or disagree and make additional comments than the original report handed to you will be taken as being agreed to.

“Completing and submitting this report within the 7 days is the first thing you can do to ensure you get your bond back at the end of your tenancy.”

  • Complaint Handling & Resolution

Every tenant has a right to have their complaints acknowledged and addressed, you can go straight to the Principal of any agency with your complaints, lodge a complaint with the office of fair trading who will investigate the issue, there are tenancy advocacy services as well as lodging an application to the tribunal for a hearing of your matter.

First up though, speak to the agent or owner about your issue and document it, if all else fails you have other avenues.

  • Renewing a Lease

When your lease is coming up to expire, ideally, you’ll be offered a new lease, if not then reach out and request a new lease if it’s your preference to have some ongoing certainty. Neither party is obligated to renew the lease but that doesn’t mean you need to vacate and can stay on indefinitely.

So in summary:

  •  Always pay rent on time
  • Breaking your lease, Read your lease and stay tuned for legislation changes
  • You have a right to peace and enjoyment of the premises, and you need to allow that of others as well
  • Property should be in a good state of repair, the onus is on you to report issues as they arise
  • Get to know your building By-Laws if you’re in a Strata Plan (Apartment complexes)
  • There are several avenues to get your complaints, issues heard or advice
  • Ask about renewing your lease even if it hasn’t been offered if you want the certainty

Lastly, you deserve (and have a right to) a reasonably responsive and courteous service so don’t settle for less.

If you need advice feel free to reach out, if for some reason I can’t answer your query then I can point you in the right direction.

Thanks for reading and if you have some left over downtime? Read your Lease ?

Antonio

Setting up, Styling & Settling into your new home

12/6/2019

When you’re looking for a new home it’s likely you will see a property while either an owner is residing there or the tenants that are set to soon vacate so you’ll get a rough idea of spacing and configuration.

Sometimes you’ll see a bare vacant property that for some can be hard to imagine or get your head around configuring it, and many prospective tenants are turned off easily when they just can’t see the potential.

But if Italians can make homes by carving into the calcareous rock (see pic by me taken today) in Matera, then you can make a home too!

Every property has potential to become a home and have seen many stunning transformations from bare and boring to homely and stylish.

For the most part a rental property is what it is so be sure to be generally happy with the flooring materials, light fittings and window coverings.

TIP: For whatever approvals are given through verbally, back that up with an email to confirm the conversation.

So after the physical move get the stylish & homely vibes you’re looking for;

  • Unpack

Start unpacking by focusing on the bedroom and bathroom so that somewhat of a normal routine can start up straight away and then onto the kitchen and living areas.

Whilst art, pictures and personal items aren’t priority do start unpacking and laying pictures around the house to get an idea of where they work best.

  • Lighting

For the most part lights are what they are, and what’s provided but bare bulbs can be easily shaded with essentially cheap and easily installed coverings

Floor Lamps, Table lamps, bench lamps- go crazy and set a mood with your lighting. Add floor lamps to dim and barren corners, table lamps on a kitchen bench or hallway console table.

  • Flooring

Rugs and Runners can cover anything so you can sometimes see past what’s there, saying that a lot of tenants specifically don’t want or can’t live with carpet whereas others love it.

  • Furniture

Few people, owners or tenants, are going to go and replace all of their furniture just because they’re moving into a new property so importantly- take a tape measure to viewings and check things like your Fridge space, washing machine space and Lounge to see if these will fit.

  • Walls & Art

While most rental properties should stick to a neutral color scheme, some don’t and orange or green walls will not be to everyone’s taste. If it’s a deal breaker you can apply on the basis that specific areas are painted or request permission to DIY once you move in.

  • Windows

Outdated or simply ugly blinds can be easily replaced with ready to hang blinds or curtains if you really want to update these. Just be sure to store what was there for when you do hand the property back. Some Ikea or Freedom curtains can work wonders.

TIP:

If in doubt you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your property manager to see what’s allowed and what isn’t and they should be able to assist so ask questions without reservation.

Properties are otherwise offered “as is” so what you see is what you’ll get if you don’t ask beforehand.

Welcome Home!
Antonio

Tips on Preventing and Managing Mould

22/2/19

Property Managers fear it, tenants hate it and owners are usually just confused by it but it is unfortunately a part of life in many properties in Sydney so we have to talk about Mould.

Why it’s a thing, why it’s an issue and a serious sticking point when it comes to renting, managing it and who exactly is responsible. So here goes!

Despite the common belief that there is always an underlying building issue or source of its appearance in many cases it just isn’t so as many properties are susceptible to mould due to factors such as a lack of natural light and ventilation and allowing a property to be ventilated to outside is a big factor in allowing mould to grow and spread.

Mould’s organisms (part of the common fungi group) are airborne everywhere, indoors and outdoors. It is in moist and inadequately ventilated areas’ that inhibits its growth it thrives on moisture and organic material.

Another important note is that mould needs to be cleaned / killed as it appears but not just from walls, from clothing, glass and window frames really wherever it appears and thoroughly. It will otherwise continue to grow if the environment allows it to. All forms of mould have some potential to cause health problems.

The responsibility of a mould issue can be summarised by Landlords being required to address any dampness issue, i.e. a leak or water penetration issue that is causing the problem, however a tenant must ventilate the premises and is advised to clean mould as it appears.

There are ways in which mould can be managed and in a Residential Tenancy it does require some effort on the tenant’s part so here are some tips I’ve gathered from NSW Health, the office of fair trading, experience as well as other agents.

Some Important Points:

  • If not removed/ cleaned then mould will grow and spread. Mould can be removed using either a household bleach, specific mould cleaning product or wiping down the area with Vinegar.
  • The appearance of mould does not always indicate that there is an underlying issue i.e. a leak or water penetration issue.

How to Prevent Mould and Manage it

Allow and ensure proper ventilation as preventative meaning;

  • Ventilate areas to the outside, windows and doors whenever possible and practical
  • While drying clothes, either hanging or using a dryer, ensure you ventilate or do so in a cool area of the property to ensure less moisture is held in the air
  • Use any available exhaust fans or vents in bathrooms or laundry
  • Dry clothes and footwear thoroughly prior to storing them
  • Do not block any fan vents and keep free of any build up
  • Allow Sunlight into the home whenever possible by opening blinds during the day
  • Doors and windows should be open whenever practical, overnight condensation on windows should be allowed to dry or dried out where possible
  • Furniture and items should not be pushed up directly against the walls, as this creates dark airless areas allowing for mould to grow
  • Dehumidifiers do work when used, most agents or landlords will happily supply one when requested, they draw moisture out of the air in affected areas, they may not be a permanent solution but they do what ventilating would do when you can’t ventilate properly or securely

“Regular ventilation and cleaning of any mould that appears should prevent re occurrence”

Mould Removal Australia has kindly compiled a Fact Sheet on the prevention and treatment of mould, if you’d like a copy just send through an enquiry and i’ll send it over to you.

Hope this can somewhat dispel some theories and thoughts about Mould, let me know if you have any other thoughts or want to ready about any other issues. I’m all ears!

Oh & the Pic is actually Marble because… ewww Mould.

Antonio 🙂

What should you expect from a Property Manager

8/11/2018

I was going to include this in my FAQ recent post which can be found here, but the answer became a bit drawn out, hence why it gets its own post.

When it comes to Property Managers it’s safe to say that a lot of Owners and Tenants have unfortunately low expectations, preparing them for lessened or expected disappointment when things go wrong and because of this we have an industry with transient clients, constantly changing Property Management providers.

Low expectations can also make exceeding expectations an easier task for Property Managers, do standards therefore decline?

So what are some of the expectations that you should have of your Property Manager, quite simple and basic in my opinion especially when considering that Property Management is essentially a service providing industry.

A Good Working Relationship

Whilst you’re not interviewing for your future best friend, you need to be able to communicate openly and honestly with your Property Manager and be well aligned in your aim and how you want your property managed. Make your preferences clear from the outset and gage the Property Managers willingness to deliver.

– Honest and Open Communication

– Develop Rapport and an Understanding

Experience

Whilst everyone must start somewhere, at the very least a Property Manager should have experience in managing their own assigned portfolio of properties. You ideally want someone that’s been in the industry long enough to know their market and has been around long enough to have experienced some of the pitfalls first hand, it isn’t always smooth sailing. In essence, expect that the Property Manager knows what they’re doing and when an enquiry or issue arises that they know how to respond to it and handle it.

– Tried and Tested on the Job Experience

– Knowledgeable in their field

Attention to Detail

Necessary for Property Managers throughout their role, Property Managers need to be across a lot of detail. From thorough inspections and reporting you want someone who can point out possible repercussions and therefore be proactive in preventing issues whether they be short or long term. As an owner or a tenant, you’re unlikely to know all of the ins and outs so having an adviser on all matters demonstrates their level of experience, attention to detail and communication skills.

– Proactive approach

– Detailed and specific reporting

Communication

A significant complaint I’ve heard from Owners and Tenants is a lack of communication, and it’s the most significant sticking point for many. Not replying to phone calls or emails in a timely manner, or at all in some cases, cannot be seen as acceptable in a service providing industry. You should expect effective communication and in a timely manner, anything less builds frustration and resentment. A lot of the time my clients and tenants just want to hear something, even if I have nothing ground breaking to report on a particular issue at least they know that I’m onto it, haven’t forgotten about or provide whatever update I have which doesn’t leave people wondering what is going on.

A lack of communication can be attributed to time poor Property managers or those who don’t have time management skills and that can mean a lack of organisation – another must have attribute for someone managing many properties and a wide-ranging list of daily activities.

– Highly Organised

– Regular and timely Communication

Time and Time Management Skills

Is it that they’re busy because of a heavy work load from a large portfolio or a simple lack of support? In the end a Property needs time devoted to it if it’s to be effectively managed. That means inspections, communication and coordination. If your property and its needs aren’t given time then small issues become significant ones. So, while delays in getting issues resolved can happen you can expect that they shouldn’t be caused by your Property Manager but more so followed up and pushed along by them.

– Responsive and timely communication

– Available to deal with enquiries

Knowledge of the Act and Updates to Legislation

Thorough, up to date and ongoing education is a must in this field, with the Residential Tenancies Act being reviewed every five years as well as regular regulation changes it can’t be up to an Owner or Tenant to keep abreast of all the changes that are relevant to them. It is a Property Managers role to ensure that all activity related to Owners, Tenants and the agreements in place are compliant and to pass on relevant education to owners and tenants so that all parties are in the know and ensuring they’ve taken appropriate steps towards being compliant as well.

– Communicating and sharing of relevant updates

– Continuing educating of themselves and therefore clients and tenants where relevant

Problem Solving Skills

Within reason expect that when there is a problem that you’ll be given some solutions or at the least some options that will lead to a solution. A Property Manager should always be focused on a resolution and not solely dwelling on the issue, where seeking instructions a Property Manager should offer suggestions or guidance and not simply be a messenger requesting instruction but actively take part in the Problem solving.

– Provide realistic and practical options towards solutions

– Focus on the Solution not the Problem

 People and Listening Skills

Whilst it’s a Property Industry it’s even more so a people industry, when working with people’s properties and tenants homes some level of emotion and attachment is ultimately involved. People need to be treated with respect, empathy and courtesy so you want someone that will take care of a property but more so the people residing in it and clients.

– Active Listening i.e. Concentrating on what is being said, not passively hearing

– Acknowledging and Accepting of feedback and taking it on board

 

So how do you find a Property Manager that will meet your expectations?

The most helpful way is to ask for honest opinions and recommendations from family, friends or colleagues.

Failing that, do your research and find a Property Manager that suits your needs and can deliver on your brief, once you have short listed a few, meet with them individually and ask questions. Find out how many properties they manage, is the Director Involved in Property Management and do they have support and backing of a team.

Meet with the person that will be managing your property on the front line and use your intuition as well.

Lay out your expectations so you can be given some assurance that they can be met, a good property manager will tell you honestly if your expectations or instructions are not realistic or inline with proper practice, they should be able to communicate effectively and therefore not be afraid of raising concerns or having a difficult conversation.

Remember that it’s preferable to be aiming for a working relationship that is hassle free and enduring, in the long term you’re best off having the same person across all aspects on your Investment’s management as that person becomes familiar with your property as well as your goals and the way in which you want things done.

To Summarise:

Property Managers are, at no fault of their own, sometimes handed a large portfolio of Properties to manage and it’s not unusual for one Property Manager to oversee the management of 200 Properties. If that portfolio is not being managed well or is a difficult portfolio that needs a lot of work then the service provided will reflect this and the efficiency needed will not be there.

While I firmly believe the expectations, I’ve listed are reasonable in some cases, Property Managers generally need to be cut some slack. It’s a tough role and it’s not for everyone so make sure you find the right one and then hold onto them.

You’ll be made a lot of Promises as either a tenant or owner, when these are met you’ll know you’re onto a good thing.

10 Tenant FAQ – Answered

26/10/2018

It’s unfortunate but many tenants know first hand that not all agents are approachable, so here are my 10 Questions that a Tenant may have answered.

I really could’ve come up with 50 of these so will continue on these if they’re what you want to read, let me know!

As tenants have come and gone through properties I’ve managed and off to other agencies or to become property owners, I always like to leave off telling a tenant that if they need any advice they can always call – a free service that I offer – and many call on that. So if there’s anything you need to or want to know, reach out and i’ll do my best 🙂

  1. How can I secure a Property with a Pet?

Always ask if a property is Pet Friendly or if they’re considered, a lot of owners are coming around to the fact that tenants come with Pets. Include Photos of your Pet and references if you have them with your application, if you’re moving down the track really try to get a reference from the agent for your Pet in writing in case needed later on. As long as you do the right thing and follow any special conditions you’ll be fine.

 

  1. How do you choose which applicant to approve for a property?

A Property owner makes the final decision on whom they accept for their property based on the information provided and the references received. In most cases Agents can make recommendations but not the final decision. I find owners look at suitability based on what the tenant is looking for as well, some of these factors can be;

-Short Term VS Long Term

-Confidence in ability to pay the rent

-Positive references from previous rental agents or landlords

 

  1. What should I know before I enter into a Lease?

You should always read a lease, back to front, before signing request a copy, even if it’s just the blank document and any Special conditions so you can prepare any questions ahead.

Basically, be aware of your rights and responsibilities while at the same time you’re getting educated as to the owners’ responsibilities as well, it goes both ways.

Know what else you’re paying for, Water Usage etc. Make sure you’re issued with the office of Fair Trading’s New Tenant Checklist and ask any questions before signing!

Another important factor, unless expressly put in writing, you’re taking the property “as is”.

 

  1. I’ve signed a Lease, what happens next?

Something I always push for is that tenants complete their part of the condition report and return it to the Agent within 7 days of the Lease commencing, if not the agents copy of the report without your amendments or additions is taken as accepted and will be used at the final inspection when you move down the track.

Report any repairs and maintenance in writing and be sure to connect utilities in your name.

 

  1. Is there anything I need to do ahead of a Routine Inspection?

Not necessarily, a quick tidy and clean does the trick but importantly highlight any issues to your agent (or owner) before hand so they can look at these on the day and report them appropriately.

Being home is preferred if you can really so you get a chance to highlight any concerns to be noted at this time.

 

  1. I have an issue, what do I do?

Communicate! Put any repairs or concerns in writing, email will suffice, and speak to your agent or owner. If you’re going to be late with rent, your living situation has changed or something is bothering you.

 

  1. How often should rent be paid and how do I know where I am up to?

As long as it’s on time then the frequency should not matter, always allow additional days for Electronic Transfers and if sharing you’re best off to pay your rent in one consolidated payment. Keep records or ask the agent for a ledger or receipts.

Most agents offer online access to your rental account, showing receipts, payment due dates etc.

 

  1. What’s an Urgent Repair and what isn’t?

Your lease lists these as a breakdown or failure of any essential service is an Urgent Repair.

So, No Water, Hot Water, Cooking facilities, Power or an unsecure premise is urgent. Your agent should have provided you instructions at your lease’s commencement but if not, the law is quite clear cut here. Urgent repairs can’t be delayed unnecessarily and you can go ahead and arrange them if it’s out of hours as long as it’s reasonable and could not wait.

 

  1. My Lease is coming up to expire, what’s the process?

Discuss the process with your agent but also put it in writing whether you’d like to resign or will be vacating. Notice periods change once the lease has expired so be aware of timing and communicate any decisions or requests. In most cases Agents will review with a view to request a new lease ahead of the lease expiring.

 

  1. How do I finalise my tenancy once I’ve moved?

After having given notice you should have been issued with some clear instructions on finalising rent to your vacate date and how to go about arranging a final inspection. Follow the agents process and try to be present at the final inspection if you can. Make sure you give the agent your new address and bank account details for the bond refund. If in doubt about any of the process, ask questions, moving is stressful enough without hitting any additional hurdles!

Up next I’m thinking a Q&A with me, so will need an interviewer! If there’s anything else you want to see here I’m open to suggestions!

Antonio 🙂