Tenants and landlords everywhere grumble about their property managers, assuming they aren’t doing their job properly or are simply doing nothing at all.
It makes sense that the source of most complaints that real estate agencies will receive comes from tenants. Landlords are paying them to collect rent, which at times is not an easy task and it’s unfortunate if they get bad reviews simply for doing their job.
But those that don’t work in real estate will not realise the importance of a Property Manager, how hard they work and the responsibility that they are taking on for those with investment properties.
Property Managers are the ones that work in real estate without necessarily driving the fancy cars, but they should be praised just as much as their sales agent counterparts.
They are underappreciated, underpaid and invaluable to real estate agencies and while sales agents seem to steal most of the limelight in the industry, we need to remember what they do and realise it isn’t always straightforward before we start complaining.
They play various roles
It’s tougher than people think but there are a variety of skills that Property Managers need to be successful.
They are mediators, helping to resolve conflict between tenants and landlords who, in my experience, are both demanding sets of people. This problem is exacerbated with everyone wanting everything instantly, whether it be the money for rent or something fixed. It puts a lot of strain on relationships.
Property Managers are also problem solvers, appeasing concerns and working towards solutions for everything from rent increases to maintenance.
They conduct inspections and condition reports making sure everything is accounted for across properties and advise landlords on who the perfect tenant will be from countless applications received.
There are even times where Property Managers end up in tribunals or courts attempting to resolve a dispute on behalf of a landlord.
They manage more than you think
Property Managers are in control of what is one of people’s most expensive and valuable assets aside from their own home.
One Property Manager can have over 200 properties entrusted to them. Even if these are valued at $500,000 each, they are responsible for $100 million in assets. They have a lot of wealth in their care yet compared to other financial fund managers who also ensure that assets are protected, Property Managers get paid little.
They have a lot on their plate
It’s a job that involves being on-call every day of the week, so even when Property Managers aren’t in the office, they are still technically ‘at work’.
Property Managers are the ones who get a call at midnight with a tenant complaining about a broken pipe, with inspections for new rentals often held in the evenings or on weekends. They don’t always get remunerated for the possible round the clock work that can be involved in the job.
The house or commercial property that you lease isn’t the only property they are managing as they are dealing with countless other calls and emails of people wanting the exact same thing.
People should cut their Property Manager some slack and think twice before complaining, as there’s always a lot more to the job than meets the eye.
The decline in house prices and what it means for tenants:-
Australian median house prices have declined over the past year and are expected to only drop further, but with capital gain and equity in houses declining, it’s renters who are left to make up the difference.
With rent prices increasing, drastic measures are being taken to secure a suitable home, such as rental bidding. Many Australians believe rental bidding will only become illegal with recent rental reforms, when in fact, explicit rental bidding is already banned under Australian Consumer Law.
Whilst unethical and illegal, rental bidding still takes place as it’s hard to monitor from the outside, but there are ways you can legally offer more rent in order to secure that house you love.
Rental bidding is illegal under Australian consumer law
New reforms slated for 2020 are set to ‘crackdown’ on rental bidding but unbeknownst to most, rental bidding is already illegal, falling under Australian Consumer Law. The current law states that a person must not engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.
So why do people still engage in it? Rental properties experience high demand, particularly in February, which is the busiest period of the year. It’s not only beneficial for the tenant in assisting them to secure a high-demand rental, but it’s also a way to get the ‘best’ result for the landlord amidst a competitive rental market.
Overall, the practice is difficult to police since it is hard to prove if an agency is explicitly misleading applicants with deceptive conduct and relaying messages back and forth.
If a tenant believes they are experiencing rental bidding, they can go to the Australian Consumer Affairs with their case to ensure the agency is arraigned.
A tenant needs to ensure they have evidence by recording communication and confirming correspondence in writing in order to be able to distinguish between rental bidding and simply offering more money.
Tenants can offer more money but agencies cannot ask for more
Offering more money for a property is different from rental bidding. Tenants can legally offer more for a rental property and landlords are allowed to accept an additional sum on top of the original weekly rent.
Property managers are allowed to inform the landlord of an offer, but they can not go back to the prospective tenant to ask for a higher amount.
A 2016 Consumer Affairs Victoria report estimated that one in five tenants offer to pay more than the advertised rent, but offering more money is not the only way to secure a property.
Prospective tenants from overseas have been known to offer up to 12 months rent in advance in order to secure a particular property, which offers stability and peace of mind for both the tenant and the vendor.
Agencies can ask for applicants to submit their best offer
There are ways that an agency can navigate through offers from the applicants in order to please both the tenants and the landlord.
A property may be popular and have a number of offers that are equally appealing. In this instance, a property manager can give applicants an idea of what the vendor will accept and present applicants with the opportunity to make their best offer.
But this needs to be done right from the beginning in order to make it fair to all prospective tenants at the same time, while still complying with the current regulations.
For this to be done within rental laws, the property manager cannot suggest it to landlords but rather advise them that they will advertise the property at a specific price and will inform the prospects to put their best offer forward.
In no circumstance should a property manager treat a rental property like an auction, encouraging prospective tenants to keep putting up their offer in order to secure the tenancy.
Rental bidding can be instigated by tenants, property managers or landlords however it is the responsibility of the property manager to ensure that all procedures are followed, laws are not breached and all parties involved get the best outcome.