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Changing Managing Agents FAQ

The Management Agency’s growth over the past 5 + years is largely attributed to property investors choosing to change managing agents while their property is still tenanted – or in between tenancies. The reasons why landlords change agents vary but essentially it comes down to service shortfalls. These shortfalls either happen in one go or there is accumulated frustration over a period of time.

What is common though is that I always believe the reasons are well justified. As with anything in life, if you’re not happy then make a change.

I find these changeovers to be, for the most part, straightforward and trouble-free.

Some investors may think that the process of changing agents might be a hassle or involve a lot of time and effort on their part. However, realistically the process is largely managed between the current and selected new agent.

The hardest part is likely going to be choosing the right agent. I’ve written several blogs about that in the past if you need some pointers.

I think this topic is best summarised by answering what I find to be the most frequently asked questions.

Changing Managing Agents FAQ author Antonio Mesiti, sitting at his office desk on a phone call

Does it cost anything to change agents

Whilst I have heard of some agents charging an onboarding fee, changing agents should be at no cost (read $0) to the investor. It is a simple matter of rent collection changing from one agent to the other with no upfront costs, and therefore there should be no net loss to the landlord. Paying someone to take on your new business seems a bit inappropriate, in my humble opinion.

Why do owners change Managing Agents

Not any one reason but more generally, a lack of responsiveness and proactive management. When I say issues with proactive management, it can be so many things. Inspections are not being done, and issues from inspections are not being followed up. Key rent review and lease renewal dates are not being managed and actioned. Owners are not being informed of issues that are being reported by tenants and the list goes on.

Another big one, many owners simply have enough of their Property Manager changing constantly, this is due to staff turnover with many ending up not knowing who their point of contact is. This staff turnover means critical information about properties and their tenancies is lost along the way.

When is the best time to make the change

Honestly whenever. Most investors make the change when they are simply fed up or an error that’s not forgivable has occurred. My advice is to leave when your gut is telling you to before things get worse, but really, timing does not matter. As long as the new agent proactively seeks the information needed to take over the management during a tenancy it has little impact on current tenants.

If your property has been vacated and you want to make a change then, it should be as simple as you or your new agent collecting keys and getting a start on reletting. The outgoing agent needs to satisfactorily finalise the previous tenancy at the time of the tenants vacating, prior to the handover.

Are there time frames related to making the change

Firstly, it’s important to know how much notice you need to give your current agent if you have current tenants. All NSW Managing Agency Agreements stipulate a termination notice period and these can range from 30 days up to 90 days to end the agreement. My view is that anything beyond 30 days is punitive. Check your agreement for the notice period though.

This changes if your property is vacant or coming up to be vacant. The property being vacant should rightly allow you to gain possession of your property from the agent. By simply not allowing the property to be advertised and relet you can then hand it over to a new agent. All instructions on these points should be in writing of course and your new agent should be able to guide you through this process regardless of the circumstances above.

What does the process of changing agents look like for landlords & tenants

For landlords, it’s all about selecting the right agent, providing instructions and preferences relating to the ongoing management, and then reviewing/signing a new Managing Agency Agreement. You should expect to be kept informed across the process, in terms of key dates and actions your new agent is taking along the way but essentially the new agent guides this process from start to finish.

For tenants, it’s essentially changing where their rent is paid to and giving them notice and time to do so, along with having a new contact for any tenancy-related matters. Here at The Management Agency, we arrange to meet tenants by lining up a property inspection shortly after the changeover where the tenants can be present. I find it’s best for tenants to put a face behind the voice or email address and to assure them they’ll be looked after.

My current agent pays all of my rates & levies, how is that managed

Your new agent will be able to take over the payment of any outgoings including the forwarding of any of these invoices to come to them instead of your previous agent.

If the property is a Strata Title Property, the new agent will also advise the Strata Managers of the change and obtain a copy of the building’s By-Laws.

How do Property Managers step in to make the transition (and the ongoing management) even easier

When we’re taking over the management of a property, we’re very upfront, courteous, and clear with other agents as to what we need to ensure a smooth transition for the client and the tenant. We lay out these requirements in writing and make arrangements ahead of the agreed change-over date so that the process is seamless and well-planned.

The new agent will collect the property’s keys, relevant documents, and make other necessary and important changes such as taking over the authority of the rental bond that is held by the bond board. There are tasks and checklists that we have in place here that guide us through the steps we need to take, and that is primarily to ensure that all tasks are completed consistently.

What do tenants think or say when we’ve taken over properties in the past

Tenants that are new to The Management Agency, aside from our preliminary meeting and introduction are sent a welcome email so that they have information about us, their point of contact along with an invitation to our tenant portal so they can access and view all of their tenancy related documents and key information 24/7.

Tenants are generally curious about the change, mainly as to what led to the change but in most cases, tenants are happy for a fresh start as they have usually been dissatisfied with their renting experience and welcome the change.

Something to think about, if landlords are dissatisfied with the service that they receive, imagine the level of service afforded to their tenants.

What happens after the changeover

Without delay, we arrange to meet the tenants, inspect the property, and provide a comprehensive report to our clients on the property’s condition highlighting any matters needing attention. We usually take over a property with a bit of a To-Do list of tasks, ranging from maintenance that the landlord wasn’t aware of, rents needing review and increasing, and leases that require urgent review and updating. Alarmingly we find many leases to be invalid as key steps/information has been incorrectly completed or missed.

More often than not, there is maintenance that has been reported and not actioned, so tenants are always pleased that someone is getting on top of addressing their issues. What’s become an internal joke here is that we’re the “fixers”, we take over where others have dropped the ball and it can take either days or weeks to get everything up to date. Beyond the transition period, it is all about effective day-to-day management to keep things running smoothly.

If you have a question that I have not covered here, by all means, email me; antonio@themanagementagency.com.au, and I’ll not only email you back but add your question to this post, anonymously of course.

I hope this Blog has been helpful, I raised quite a few topics in this one, and if they were of any interest I’ve dropped some past blogs below, click on the headings to have a further read. 😊

Read our Traditional Real Estate Agency VS Specialised Property Management Agency Blog
Read our My Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Property Management Fails Blog
Read our Why our Clients Choose & Stay with The Management Agency Blog
Read our Property Management Staff Shortages Blog Post


– Antonio

Director & Property Manager