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Creating & Maintaining Equitable Tenancies

I was chatting to one of my tenants the other day at an inspection, and she asked; “Do you have any slum lords?” a lovely way of referring to, owners that don’t do maintenance and have sub-standard properties.

I quickly responded with a No, I don’t manage those properties or take on that clientele.

Why would I, when the Residential Tenancies Act sets out Minimum Standards for the state and condition of properties? These standards are minimal at best.

It got me thinking. When I worked in other agencies and I refused to not comply with the unreasonable instructions of some clients, I seemed to upset them so from there my Boss would quickly contact them, apologise and appease them. A constant source of frustration to me and my colleagues as well as the tenants.

Maybe we’re not all meant to be landlords? Kind of like how I can’t fly a plane, so I don’t claim to. Ok maybe that’s a little dramatic but what I mean to say is that we’re not all prepared to deal with the pitfalls and challenges of being a landlord because, in their defense, it can be mentally and sometimes financially draining.

What I believe in, and work towards, are equitable tenancies. A tenancy that is fair and where all parties know that they have acted and continue to act fairly to each other. Am I pro any specific party, I like to think I know Right & Wrong and swing that way.

Of course, this does not happen 100% of the time but I firmly believe my clients realise and see the benefits.

Equitable; adjective. 1. fair and impartial. “the equitable distribution of resources”

The Benefits

Gaining Tenant’s understanding & patience in the face of maintenance or other issues
Increased care and monitoring of their properties, reporting of issues
On-time rent and invoice payments
Increased communication when relating to any matters impacting the property or surrounding area
Increased likelihood of retaining tenants for the long term – many benefits in itself

The How

Set Expectations from the get-go! Any “promises” or assurances are confirmed for parties… in writing
Requests from each party get genuine consideration or negotiation if they aren’t automatically thrown out by me, just keeping it real.
Clients of mine get a Service Guarantee, no tenant or owner is told something will happen without it eventuating
Anyone that is unhappy with an outcome is given options or avenues to address their dispute, sometimes it comes to that
Expectations are set and in place for tenants to respect properties and landlords to respect tenants’ homes
I don’t retain unhappy clients or impossible to please clients
Honesty is the preferred, ideally the only, policy

On that last point, I’ve recently handed the management of a couple of properties back to clients where I simply didn’t believe we aligned and where I didn’t feel trusted to manage situations and circumstances in their best interests.

I get it, who is really looking out for your interest these days? Not many service providers. But if I prove myself and you still won’t “have a little faith in me” then we’re not going to work so that I can cut to the chase and make room for other clients this is how I run my business.

Property Management is a super tough gig as it is, so it is a little selfish in the end, I want happy tenants and landlords calling me, not angry, frustrated ones that are on the defensive.

Is this an idealistic and unrealistic want? Well, maybe but we have to have aims and goals and this is mine in my business.

That’s not too much to ask, so all I ask is that all of my landlords & tenants are Fair & Impartial – Equitable. I take steps to make this happen but all parties have to put in some effort as well.

Thank you for following along with what seems like a rant but wasn’t meant to be!

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– Antonio

Director & Property Manager