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 🙂

Updates Below: Tenancy Reforms, change is on the way!

Update: 4/12/2018  2019 Residential Tenancy Act: Stages & Timing

A recent update by the Real Estate Institute of NSW indicates that the reforms will be rolled out in two stages in 2019. Exact commencement dates of the new legislation hasn’t been announced as yet but will be sure to keep this updated. The below outline from the REINSW gives some approximate timing and the stages in which the changes will come into effect.

The stages ahead and timing

The anticipated approach is that the changes will be tackled in two stages:

1)      Stage 1: Domestic violence related reforms (this would include a declaration form in the schedule to the Regulations)

2)      Stage 2: Remaining reforms.

Stage 1

NSW Fair Trading are looking to commence stage 1 prior to March 2019. This means that targeted consultation will occur over the coming weeks on the declaration form which has been issued to REINSW (the rest of the domestic violence changes are reflected in the Act). REINSW Legal Counsel and the RTA Sub-Committee have held their first meeting to discuss the declaration form and its content, and REINSW will be lodging a Submission on the declaration form by 28 November 2018.

Stage 2

NSW Fair Trading are looking to implement stage 2 later next year. NSW Fair Trading have informed REINSW that formal consultation on the stage 2 reforms is not planned to occur until after March 2019.

In any case I’m assured that the REINSW will be keeping their members in the loop which I will then update here.

Thanks for following, Antonio

Update: 30/10/2018

Having attended an Information Session today held by the Real Estate Institute of NSW on the Residential Tenancies Act it appears changes are imminent.

What has arisen out of the reforms are definite changes, though alot of detail and “grey areas” are needing further clarification. The vast majority of these changes are not retrospective.

So what do we know for sure:

  • Changes to Break Lease Fee’s are set out to a one off fee dependant of the time period lapsed of a fixed term agreement
  • Changes to way in which Tenancies subject to circumstances of Domestic Violence are treated and finalised
  • Rent Increases in a Periodic Agreement limited to once in every calendar year
  • Landlords will be required to complete an information statement that confirms they are aware of their rights and obligations before a Tenancy Agreement is entered into
  • Smoke Alarm issues and repairs will be deemed an Urgent Repair
  • Landlords will have other obligations to meet as to Standards surrounding being fit for habitation an example being adequate power points in each room
  • Properties that are not separately metered for utilities incl. water can not have charges passed onto tenants; An example being that Granny flats and some duplexes will not be able to charge water usage to tenants where the meter isn’t read separately by the water board
  • A prescribed list will be drawn up to clear up what “reasonable” Alterations to a premises are, therefore allowing tenants to make set out alterations but permission must be sought in any case

So more to come on this as well and more changes as I’ve heard much discussion about reviews surrounding Rental Bonds and what will be some clarity around Mould and Responsibilities.

What I do look forward to, is a transition towards Real Estate becoming recognised as a Profession which is currently being lobbied. This could see the creation of a Real Estate specific commissioner overseeing the industry instead of Real Estate coming under the NSW Fair Trading umbrella. This set of Professional Standards is likely to come about in 2019 following on from reform and changes surrounding Real Estate Agent Licensing and changes to Continuing Professional Development which is being set out at the moment.

What will that mean, Real Estate Agents will have a much higher standard of training and licensing entry into Real Estate roles.

For the time being, all remains the same while the Residential Tenancy Acts’ new set of Regulations is drawn up.

Interesting times as always to be a Property Manager but also a Landlord or Tenant and not only is there much work to be done on these and further reforms, there is a great need for Education across the Property Management and more widely the Real Estate Sectors and this education must then be passed onto Landlords and Tenants who all have a vested interest in this space.

That’s what I plan to continue doing with both my blog and down the track newsletters, sharing valuable and relevant information. I also plan to do this one on one with my Owners and Tenants so that everyone knows where they stand and in turn add value to everyone’s experience with The Management Agency.

I appreciate you following these updates and am sure there will be much more to come!

With Thanks,
Antonio

 

Updated: 18/10/2018

Reforms Passed

Reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act have passed without amendment, according to the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales.

These major changes affect the real estate industry, landlords & tenants.

REINSW President Leanne Pilkington said the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Review) Bill 2018 has passed and REINSW is now commencing the first phase of educating the property management community.

“It is important for our profession to understand all of the changes that the new Bill includes. We will be conducting intensive Training Sessions in 17 locations across the state beginning in Sydney next Thursday 25 October and runinng to 29 November 2018.

“The second phase will follow the release of the Regulation, which are the guidelines that dictate how the act should be applied.

“REINSW with the support of the REINSW Property Management Chapter Committee and a dedicated Sub-Committee which formed in June 2015, worked tirelessly to specifically identify those areas in the current legislation requiring reform.”

Ms Pilkington said while many of our lobbying efforts have been adopted in whole or part by the Government, a lot have been ignored, such as the Government’s proposed changes to:

  • Alterations to property
  • Break fees
  • Domestic violence
  • Rent increases, and more.

The bill will now be sent to the Governor of NSW for his assent. A date for the reforms to be implemented is yet to be disclosed.

I will be attending an REINSW session covering the reforms in Late October so more details to come!

 

Original Post: 26/09/2018

The NSW Rental market is constantly changing and growing, more than 820,000 households live in a rental property and the demand continues to grow with more and more people renting and renting for a longer period of time.

Yes, we’re heavily governed by the Property Stock and Business Agents ACT (PSBA) and the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) and we need to be considering how many people live in rented premises and rent out their properties.

Under section 227, the Residential Tenancies Act must be reviewed every 5 years to determine whether or not the objectives and terms remain valid and appropriate. This current review process started back in 2015 and is now finally being debated this week in NSW Parliament.

Much is being said in the media about what is and what isn’t up for discussion.

There seems to be some certain changes in regards to:

  • The ability for tenants to make minor alterations to properties.
  • The introduction of a new minimum standard for properties.
  • The ability for tenants to get rectification orders from Fair Trading for repairs.
  • Restricting rent increases for periodic leases to once a year.
  • The ability for victims of domestic violence to break a lease without incurring a penalty.

The biggest debate stems around “No Ground Termination Notices” and the large majority of people that want to see the ability for landlords to terminate on No Grounds gone all together.

Some years back the notice period was increased from 60 Days to 90 Days and tenants are allowed to leave at any time within the notice period without giving counter notice. That took some time to register with landlords but has always worked well, it’s given tenants ample time to find a new home and the flexibility to secure it.

It’s unfortunate that issuing a Termination notice is being viewed as retaliatory where in most cases the owner genuinely needs their property back, to live in, to renovate, to sell.

All in all, there are some good changes that will help our many tenants make themselves at home and give them some certainty.

It does appear that Owners’ will be left with less certainty if tenant’s will able to break their leases with smaller penalties leaving them open to vacancy, re letting costs etc. No one seems to be all that sympathetic though.

It doesn’t seem that any changes will occur to No Grounds Notices at this Review, but who knows, the next review is only two years away!

All I know is that as an owner or tenant if you can’t keep up with all of this, you’ll soon find out how valuable your agent is because it’s on us to know! I’m waiting for the final bill to pass and will then get reading 😊

Here’s a comprehensive list of what the reforms include:

Under the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Review) Bill 2018, the government’s proposed changes to rental reforms in NSW include:

  • If the property is in a strata scheme, the landlord or landlord’s agent needs to pass on a copy of the by-laws before the tenant enters into a residential tenancy agreement.
  • The creation of an offense for a landlord or landlord’s agent if they pass on a completed condition report to the tenant after the signing of the residential tenancy agreement, with a maximum penalty of $2,200.
  • The creation of an offence for a landlord or landlord’s agent if they do not sign an acknowledgement on a residential tenancy agreement, or if a landlord’s agent fails to sign the acknowledgement of the residential tenancy agreement without a statement from the landlord in writing that the landlord has read and understood a rights and obligations information statement.
  • If rent is paid via cheque, receipts are allowed to be sent to the email address of the tenant.
  • Requirements for rent increases do not apply to fixed terms less than two years that specify when, and the amount by, the rent is increased.
  • Rents paid in a periodic agreement are not allowed to be raised more than once a year.
  • New minimum standards for properties have been introduced, which include:
    • basic access to electricity and gas;
    • structurally sound buildings;
    • adequate natural or artificial lighting as well as ventilation; and
    • adequate outlets for lighting, heating and appliances.
  • Liability for damage to properties caused by someone else is not imposed on a tenant, or co-tenant, if a domestic violence offence is involved with the co-tenant.
  • Landlords can have access to premises without the tenant’s consent to take photos or visual recordings of the interior to advertise the property for sale once in a 28-day period, as long as reasonable notice is given and must not include tenants’ possessions in photos or footage.
  • Only landlords can carry out repairs to smoke alarms, with the exception of certain kinds of smoke alarms, with a maximum penalty of $2,200 for failing to repair.
  • In matters involving a Tribunal about repairs, more consideration is given to time frames and reasonable diligence.
  • Tenants who require urgent repairs can get rectification orders from Fair Trading.
  • Landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse minor alterations, such as picture hooks.
  • The termination of an employee or caretaker residential tenancy agreement cannot be earlier than 28 days after the notice to terminate was given.
  • The termination of other fixed-term tenancies must be on or after the end of the fixed term and no earlier than 30 days after the notice to terminate was given.
  • The termination of periodic tenancies must be no earlier than 90 days after the day the notice was given.
  • Landlords cannot give a termination notice to a tenant solely because of their failure to pay rent, water, electricity, gas or oil charges unless the charge has not been paid for at least 14 days.
  • In matters involving a Tribunal about the termination of a tenancy due to unpaid water charges, the termination is only valid if the landlord has requested payment from the tenant within three months of the bill’s issue.
  • Tenants may give a termination notice if they enter into an agreement by misleading statements that are proven to be concealing certain facts.
  • Tenants may give a termination notice if the property is included on the loose-fill asbestos insulation register during or before the commencement of the tenancy without informing the tenant.
  • Te/ants or co-tenants can give a domestic violence termination notice without any penalty if they are a victim of domestic violence, which is defined as:
    • The tenant or co-tenant being a victim of a domestic violence offence where the offender was declared guilty during the tenancy.
    • The tenant or co-tenant has the protection of an active DVO.
    • The tenant or co-tenant is protected against family violence by a domestic violence offender.
    • The tenant or co-tenant has been declared by a competent person to be a victim of domestic violence.
  • The break fee for fixed-term agreements less than or equal to three years is dependent on the percentage of how much of the fixed term has expired:
    • less than 25 per cent: 4 week’s rent;
    • 25 per cent to less than 50 per cent: 3 week’s rent;
    • 50 per cent to less than 75 per cent: 2 week’s rent; or
    • 75 per cent to 100 per cent: 1 week’s rent;
  • The creation of an offence for when a landlord or a landlord’s agent lists a tenant or co-tenant’s personal information in a residential tenancy database if the tenant or co-tenant terminated a tenancy due to domestic violence, with a maximum penalty of $2,200.
  • The creation of an offence for database operators to charge fees for giving copies of personal information in a residential tenancy database to that person.

How to live peacefully in Strata Complexes

13/9/2018

Apartment Supply coming to the Sydney and Melbourne markets was detailed in a recent report compiled by David Scutt in the Business Insider.

-The number of units in Australia could increase by 10% over the next two years according to analysis by CoreLogic

-61.8% of this expected increase in supply is to be absorbed by just Sydney & Melbourne

-Over the next 12 months and additional 94,000 new units will be completed nationally!

Against these figures, supply may well meet demand whereas for years it’s been more demand than supply. Not necessarily true of all suburbs though where there will always be more demand for the same levels of supply such as Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

What this obviously means is that a large proportion of the population will be living in Strata complexes, so how can everyone ensure they’re By-Law given rights to quiet enjoyment of their premises? Well it’s a challenge for many and as a Property Manager we can see first hand the issues that it can present.

I would safely say that most issues that arise within Strata complexes involve, noise, parking & smoking. Some complaints escalate quickly it’s not always easy to find middle ground so where ongoing disputes are involved it can make for a pretty uncomfortable living situation.

A Strata complex should have a set and clear set of By-Laws in place and hopefully an effective Strata Management Agency involved, and there are some good ones.

So how can everyone get along when you have so many people, personalities and even routines living in such close quarters?

Everyone needs to pay their part really so here’s some tips to Strata Living having been there myself and having managed many issues in Strata complexes in my time.

-Flexibility; Everyone needs to give a little and make allowances, the occasional party and differing personalities need to be handled delicately at times. Listen and be flexible, usually an issue is just a passing one that can be dealt with and moved on from once resolved.

Awareness; know your Strata rules and By-Laws so you know your rights but also your responsibilities, remembering that these rules apply to all in the complex so all are equals!

-Get involved; Many people couldn’t be bribed into attending a Strata meeting but if you want action, change or improvement you’ll need to grit your teeth and get in there. Be heard and make your vote count. If the building needs maintenance then report it, it is your home.

Respect; common property is owned and shared by all so seek approvals to use common property and always be mindful of others when in common property. Creating a nice building community is as simple as saying hi or a smile when checking the mail.

-Talk; If there’s a problem then talk about it with your neighbour(s), people don’t always know what they’re doing wrong so a simple conversation helps to alert others nicely without the need to escalate an issue and without you letting it fester and build frustration.

Whilst I relate all of these tips to common sense I think it’s an appropriate reminder that if you’re going to live in a Strata complex that you need to be open minded, every Strata complex will have a different make up of demographics and personalities all there for their for their own specific reasons but one commonality is the desire to peacefully enjoy their home and that’s everyone’s basic right.

Trouble free tenancies – 5 Tips on How to be a Great Landlord and Tenant!

13/8/2018

Being a great landlord and tenant makes for a smooth-running relationship, a longer lasting and a mutually beneficial tenancy.

There are many ways in which tenancies can turn out to be a less than desirable arrangement for landlords and tenants, assuming that there is an experienced Property Management Specialist in place then a lot of issues can either be prevented or swiftly resolved. Following our tips below is at the least, a great start!

Think of it as Teamwork.

  1. Communicate!

This one is key and it all comes back to this.

Always keep the lines of communication open in all situations regardless of whether or not there are updates on a situation. No one likes to feel as though they’ve been forgotten and It’s always best that all parties are in the know. Don’t be so hard to reach which keeps others waiting and for anything important make sure it’s in writing.

  1. Be Reliable and Accountable

Do what you say you’re going to do and be open and honest if you can’t stick to any arrangement and be accountable for any repercussions. People will always have a good feeling about someone that they can rely on and owns up to any shortcomings – we all have those.

  1. Be Organised

In so many ways we need to be organised, keeping appointments, keeping records in order and knowing when and what is due. It’s important as an Owner or Tenant to be as organised as possible, have a system in place as these days it’s necessary.

  1. Be Professional

Some informal banter and chat don’t take away from this but it’s always best to keep professional relationships, just that. Tone down on “tone”, swearing and attitude. It is not compatible with problem solving to be aggressive or unprofessional.

  1. Don’t Delay (unnecessarily)

Yes, No, Maybe. Sometimes tough calls need to be made and some don’t need delaying. If there are a few invested parties try not to be the one who delays if you can help it. Sometimes quick decisions need to be made and sometimes those are the best ones.

 

Also, necessary. Being compassionate in a working relationship can mean understanding that people fall on tough times, owners may not always be in a position to act on non-urgent maintenance and tenants can have unforeseen delays with being paid and therefore paying rent. A level of understanding and compassion can go a long way towards building good working relationships.

It all comes down to communication which allows for good working relationships and having a Property Manager in place should help and not hinder this, dependant on how effective a communicator they are. It is in the challenging times that you’ll be able to tell.

Research suggests Private Rental Growth is not all positive

3/8/2018

With an Increase in Private Rentals, why employ or rent via a Property Manager?

According to a recent report carried out by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute the private rental sector between 2006 to 2016 has grown by 38%, meaning that more than 2 million Australian households are rented/managed privately.

It is predicted that this rapid growth is set to continue with the increasing number of Owners and Tenants using online platforms to either secure tenants or to rent a property. Portals such as Facebook are making it easier for people to line up these informal arrangements.

The report also finds that this is having an effect on the market by inflating prices on the “room rental market” where the private rental market was traditionally seen as a more affordable option.

Owners and Tenants should be aware that these portals and apps do not do a lot for the protection of user’s rights as they appear to be, for the most part unregulated.

Real Estate Agents are bound by the Residential Tenancies Act that sets out regulatory protection for all parties involved, whereas the alternatives such as Rental Bidding App’s allow for increased competition in the Private rental market which leads to people being priced out of the market.

So why should Owners and Tenants use a Property Manager?

Tenants:

  • You have a legally binding Tenancy Agreement governed by the Residential Tenancies Act in place providing you protection of your rights
  • You are issued with a condition report documenting the state of the property you are moving into and are given an opportunity to document any discrepancies
  • Your rental payment history is recorded with receipts and ledgers
  • Ensures that your bond monies are appropriately lodged and safe guarded
  • Be issued with a rental reference at the end of your tenancy from a reputable agency which will come in handy down the track and particularly when looking for a new home as a reference from an agent carries more weight than one from a private landlord
  • Ensure that you have avenues to have urgent repairs dealt with and that any other issues are addressed promptly, professionally and in accordance with the Tenancies Act

Owners:

  • You have a legally binding Lease Agreement governed by the Residential Tenancies Act in place providing you with protection of your rights and awareness of your responsibilities
  • Your properties condition is thoroughly documented before, during and at the end of each tenancy
  • Your financials are recorded, documented and reported therefore making financial tracking and end of financial year tax assessments seamless
  • An agent ensures that you are compliant in all of your obligations under the Tenancies Act and further ensures that the tenant is fulfilling their responsibilities – An agent should be educating their Owners and Tenants as to their respective obligations
  • Outsourcing the day to day management to a Property Manager eliminates lost time and much stress to Owners

There is much more involved in the renting process beyond these points listed and a lot of what Property Managers do cannot all be listed here.

Regulations are constantly reviewed and changes are regularly implemented. A licensed and experienced property manager is required to keep up to date with all ongoing changes to legislation.

A Private Owner, or Tenant for that matter, can find this all difficult to navigate and in unregulated territory Owners and Tenants do leave themselves vulnerable.

 

I suspect that in the Private rental market, a lot of what is Best Practice to most Property Managers’ may be missing. Having a Property Manager in place ensures that Owners and Tenants clearly know where they stand and acts as a mutual point of contact for all parties.

For Owners and Tenants there is a lot of risk and uncertainty  that is eliminated when you employ a Property Manager, well a good one!

Pet Owners Pushing for a Change

1/7/2018

1 in 5 pet owners have been forced to let their beloved Pets go when they’ve been unable to find a rental property that allows Pets. 20,000 cats and dogs have had to be euthanised simply because they’re not welcome in rental or strata accommodation.

Whilst the end decision is to the landlord as to their preference and suitability for a pet to be accommodated for, there are some advantages to allowing pets where possible. Tenants with Pets do tend to be more long term as tenants and the large majority take their responsibilities very seriously and take extra care to ensure the property is not subject to excessive wear and tear.

In any case, for an owner to get a choice of prospective tenants by getting more people through the front door then at least being open to the idea opens up a lot of possibilities so consider advertising that Pets will be considered and give it serious consideration. As a landlord of a tenant with a dog I’ve found that regular inspections can at the very least give an owner some peace of mind.

If you are a pet owner and tenant then be sure to request and keep written references from where you have rented in the past, these can be invaluable for when you next apply for a rental property and as a Property Manager I’ve always found it helpful to have photos of the pet included with the rental application- just to help to better describe the pet when submitting the application to the owner.

Burr, it’s Cold in here!

1/7/2018

Winter is well and truly here and with that it’s typical of most rental markets to be slightly quieter meaning more properties available and less prospective tenants wanting to make a move during this hibernating period. So, it’s not generally a great time to be Increasing rents depending on supply and demand levels in your area and it’s more so a time to be ensuring that owners are on top of their maintenance.

For most this means ensuring gutters are clear and any roofing works are taken care of. Property Managers fear heavy downpours and subsequent roof leaks. Roofers willing to jump up on a roof in wet weather are more than rare!
Tenants should be encouraged to report any signs of dampness or full gutters to their agent or owner, don’t forget tenants are our eyes and ears and we rely on them to report maintenance.

Spending a couple of hundred dollars on scheduled gutter cleaning for houses and terraces can save thousands in the long run and have your roofer check for any minor repairs whilst up there so you can aim to be proactive instead of reactive.