Tenant expectations, where do the property manager’s responsibilities end?


One of my property managers came in to my office this afternoon and asked me the question “have you noticed over the years if tenants have become more demanding?” i quickly replied “yes” more than ever we are being called upon by both tenant and landlord for jobs that fall outside the scope of our responsibilities.

Our property manager just had an experience with one of her tenants where they want 2 things in the property they lease; an exhaust fan for the bathroom and Foxtel… this is what they wrote to her:  “The bathroom requires a fan.  There are electrical appliances that are being charged (shavers/toothbrushes etc) and are very damp after someone has had a shower – water and electrics don’t mix and this is not a safe environment as it currently stands.  The electrician suggested a fan in the room to distribute the air over a wider space – this is required at a minimum.   With regards to the Foxtel & the building manager, can you ask them when they expect to have an answer please? We are paying a lot of rent to live here and don’t think I am asking too much here.”

First of all – When did Foxtel become an essential service?   The matter of the request is not really my concern; it’s the way in which it is demanded of our property manager and the tone in the email.   Our landlord has a right to refuse both requests however they have kindly agreed to them, you may or may not know that Foxtel must be approved by the Owners Corporation, this has to be passed and approved by the board which takes time – our property manager is getting calls and emails weekly wanting updates and the tenants are regularly intimating to her that its substandard practise that she hasn’t sorted this out yet….   A property is leased “as is” no promises or representations are made otherwise, so requests after the fact should remain amicable requests, particularly if you can see that your property manager is doing the best he/she can.

As property managers we do our absolute best to facilitate the relationship between landlord and tenant, we want this relationship to be a positive one however not all requests will be approved and its not us who makes those decisions, we advise, not instruct!   Commonly we have requests for tenants for items such as, air conditioners, extra heating, dishwashers, upgraded appliances, regular garden maintenance, foxtel, adsl and more.   We have our tenants request that we connect their utilities for them, we have our tenants request we contact their utility suppliers and obtain updated accounts for them – this is the truth, we are commonly called upon for things that should not be expected or requested.

Last week we had another incident where a landlord asked our property manager to search eBay to give them an idea on what their bed would be worth to sell, in addition they requested that if they did sell it on eBay “could we be the person to handle the collection”   What the!!!!!  Yep, these are daily requests and demands by our clients.

So why has it gotten to this? I can only assume because we have become more accessible as an industry, we have our mobiles, our office line, our emails, our iphones and our ipads – all of which are means to communicate with your property manager, perhaps its due to this accessibility that requests for things and the regularity of those requests are more common, simply because it’s easier – you can email your property manager whist sitting in the waiting room of your dentist, and if they haven’t responded by the time your teeth have been cleaned you call text them whist sitting at the traffic lights on your way back to the office!