I often hear consumers complain about the high turnover of property managers, in fact a girlfriend asked me the other day why she has never met an ‘older’ property manager. I fear that these observations are in fact true and correct and after giving it some thought I think I have the reasons why good property managers are leaving this wonderful industry.
I call it the 4 year itch… After the first 4 years you will know if someone is going to be a career property manager or not, this is generally the time in which they will move into sales or make a complete career change. Ultimately we have a better chance of keeping well organised property managers within the industry if he/she is working with a compassionate & strong leader. A manager, who regularly trains their staff, manages them weekly, keeps them abreast of legislation changes and knows where to draw the line on their responsibilities. The last point is extremely important because i am seeing more and more that property managers are being asked to do things well outside the scope of their responsibilities – let me run you through a few common requests and queries:
- attend my owners corporation AGM, you manage the property, you should know what’s going on rather than me.
- complete my insurance claim, i don’t have time to fill in the information, that’s what i pay you for.
- inspect the property and tell me of there is any rising damp or concrete cancer – i don’t want to pay for a building inspection, that’s what you are for!
- Why don’t you move furniture during your routine inspections?
- Tell me what the property is worth to sell, no i don’t want you to take an agent through, surely you know?
- Call me after 7pm, I’m too busy during the day.
- I realise i only inspected the property with you last week but my father’s in town and I’d really like him to have a look as well.
- Why did you have to get that leak fixed by a plumber, couldn’t you do it?
Above is a snapshot of some of the commonly asked questions or statements, and if the property manager doesn’t know the boundaries or works for someone who expects them to never say no then its utterly impossible for anyone person to be able to do all the different scopes of work and to do them well.
Personally I believe that a property manager should be responsible for maintaining a mutually rewarding relationship between landlord and tenant, handling maintenance request, vetting landlord queries, providing rental statements, conducting regular inspections, reviewing rents and re-negotiating leases and most of all advertising and sourcing new tenants with minimum vacancy periods… Surely we shouldn’t be expected to be the insurance broker, building inspector, real estate agent, owner’s corp manager and or handyman as well…. There is a trend in that the more you give/provide, the more is expected. There seemed to be far less complaints when the service was minimal and the main focus of the job was to collect rent. In today’s market landlords and tenants are expecting a 24 hour turn around when we are often dealing with a third party and can’t guarantee the time frames in which they operate.
In summary – look after your property managers, guild them, train them and help them work with your clients to help set realistic expectations from the outset as to time frames in which you operate and maybe just maybe we will keep more good property managers and see them finishing their career in this every changing industry.