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Property Management Staff Shortages

I feel that by now many landlords and tenants may have sensed a change in the experience or service of their Property Manager or Real Estate Agency more generally. The change is not a positive one by all accounts, unfortunately.

People are likely experiencing the impacts of a Property Management staff shortage following the departure of many experienced Property Managers from the industry. This is a real loss for the Property Management space. We’re yet another industry that has been impacted by COVID, or more likely I think that COVID was the final straw in what was already a tough gig generally. What I’m seeing is a huge increase in roles being advertised in Property Management and a significant increase in the salaries offered to try to attract new staff to Property Management and entice current workers to move from their current positions. This is definitely prevalent in the Sydney Property Management space.

The purpose really of this post is to help understand why Property Management specifically has been hit hard post the Pandemic because it all really began much earlier than 2020.

Property Managers have worked through some tough times before but it’s now becoming obvious that poor service is being experienced by tenants and owners due to staffing shortages and the demands placed on the staff that remains. Many agencies have had to start training new recruits or continue operating with minimal staffing as the demand for Property Managers increases.

Many might say that Property Managers have always been poor service providers or not responsive etc but those experiences always need to be looked at on a case-by-case basis taking into account that Property Managers are the middle party between landlords and tenants.

For some context, for years Property Managers have had to combat;

  • An increasing number of Properties to manage placed on them
  • Stagnant wages growth
  • Internal staffing shortages
  • Ever-evolving and changing compliance and legal requirements
  • Lack of training and support internally
  • Increased rates of disputes and the need for dispute resolution, including tribunal attendance
  • Increase in the need for disaster management i.e., managing the impacts of properties due to environmental factors and changes e.g.) La Niña
  • General lack of attention and available resources for Property Managers by their internal and external bodies
  • Low priority and lack of resources applied by management i.e., sales being the priority within many agencies

“Ultimately clients and their properties will bear the brunt of not getting an attentive and proactive service, and tenants will either have a very poor lived experience in their homes or simply move on.”

Using COVID as an example, the need to apply Rent Relief and carry out those negotiations took place in some offices where staff were asked to take pay reductions while working harder than they ever had before. Working in a role that can’t always be done from home and needing to pivot so quickly to meet the legal requirements was stressful to say the least, let alone, for less income.

I think that the overall experience and stress of the last two years were the catalyst for so many to opt to leave the industry. While Property Managers can now earn a reasonable income, many have found that there is a quality to life away from this role that money can’t buy.

I guess my starting up The Management Agency was to stand up against all of the issues that I’ve encountered working in other agencies. It’s why so many other Property Managers are going out on their own, and good on them! It’s a brave step but wow it really benefits the clients as well as your own day-to-day life.

I say to my clients and my potential clients, that for the foreseeable future, I can’t go anywhere. As it stands, I am THE Property Manager and THE owner of The Management Agency. Until I’m ready for my early European retirement, this is where I’ll be, for the good times and the bad (less bad please).

Back to my main point and takeaway of this blog. I am hearing how Owners and Tenants are bearing the brunt of this staff shortage, now that you have the context, it’s showing that the Traditional Real Estate Agency can’t manage the demands of Property Management unless it is extremely supportive, rewarding, and flexible with its staff. Ultimately clients and their properties will bear the brunt of not getting an attentive and proactive service, and tenants will either have a very poor lived experience in their homes or simply move on.

I truly believe that landlords understand the need for tenants to be shown care and for their properties to be given a certain level of attention over the long term. What is also being lost in our industry is experience and knowledge but for clients, there is also the loss of information, history, and connections between clients and their Property Managers.

I think that if you have a Property Manager that you like working with but can sense they’re under the pump and working in a demanding environment, maybe they need some to be cut a little bit of slack now that you have the context.

While I understand loyalty to long-standing client relationships, I think some service shortfalls or mishaps we can’t always move forward from. With that I feel that landlords are more and more, seeing the need to change Property Managers when they are consistently not happy with the service they are receiving and will continue to. It isn’t always the individual that’s causing the issue but the management they’re working under and the limitations placed on them.

My advice always to landlords is to move when they aren’t satisfied with the service, they are receiving but also to ideally select a Property Manager that gives them a sense of confidence, someone that they feel is in it for the long term, is knowledgeable and experienced with a proven track record.

It is paramount to do your due diligence and research the service providers in your area, obtain recommendations from friends and family, and thoroughly read reviews, however, it really is wise to trust your instincts.

What the decision should not be based on, is the Brand and Logo, the lowest fee and the high-tech app that speaks to you instead of a human being.

If you are experiencing poor service and would like some advice about how to change who manages your investment property, feel free to reach out for a No Obligation chat.

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– Antonio

Director & Property Manager