Seven Reasons Why Property Managers Leave

Wednesday, December 06, 2023


Where have all the property managers gone?

I remember another trainer joked: “They’re all living in a mental asylum on the Nullabor Plain, and if you can get close you can hear them screaming saying ‘They didn’t care about me!’”

There’s too much truth to this joke!

It’s a fact that more and more property managers are leaving the industry – faster than they are being recruited and it’s well known that it’s difficult (if not near impossible) to find a well-experienced, competent property manager when needed.

So here are seven compelling reasons why I believe property managers leave and it’s my hope that these reasons will wake the industry up!

These keys, of course, are not relevant to all businesses but I believe that more than 50% would be able to relate to some or all of the following:

1- Stress from Overwork and Burnout

Possibly the biggest factor of all is the nature of the job and add to that bad habits with poor time management, lack of checklists, and procedures all snowballing into something that’s unsustainable.

Working well above their 37.5 hour week, they also don’t take lunch breaks as it is seen as an interruption to the job so they end up with a life imbalance ending in burnout and disillusionment, with their resignation soon to follow.

2- Lack of Management Accountability

Not too many industries are running two distinct and different businesses under the same roof, but focusing on one at the cost of the other or spending a disproportionate time on one at the expense of the other results in one business healthy while the other is struggling and sick.

A lack of accountability and focus means issues are not resolved, processes are not improved and it barely makes it above survival mode. Chaos is normal, and problems will always be there. The resignation of staff will be high.

3- Lack of Value from the Boss

I recently had a meeting with a property manager who told me their boss had made it clear to their sales team that they don’t care if they refer property management business to other agencies. Yes, you heard correctly! Give the business elsewhere!

This is an extreme situation and not normal, but when we value one aspect of the business over another because we just like it better and are more familiar with it, the other will naturally end up in trouble and chaos. Both businesses are important and serve the company. Rentals provide the business with a sellable asset and continuous cash flow and keep the company protected financially when sales are down.

Sales should be the ‘cream’ income and bonus money, as all overheads are paid by property management.

4- Lack of Promotion Opportunities

Because most rent rolls are small in staffing size, opportunities to be elevated to a position like a department manager are limited. Generally, the most common position a person can be elevated to is that of a property manager. If a person wishes to grow and have better career opportunities, a lot opt for a career in another industry.

5- Poor Pay and Rewards

Let’s face it, a property manager is never paid overtime though they do plenty of it! Most never take a lunch break though they should, and the salaries and pay do not reflect the hours and the pressure, the responsibility and risks they are exposed to every day.

Unless you have a passion for the role, you quickly realise that there is better pay with less responsibility in other industries.

And when rewards and bonuses are structured toward new growth only, neglecting the rest of what they do, the rewards don’t tend to motivate Property Managers as they should.

6- Lack of Resourcing

Property management is known as a place of old and outdated technology because either the department fee income levels are too low to resource the department or the boss just focus too much on sales to neglect of their rental business. This means property managers struggle along with old technology and lack of training, slowing them down and making it more difficult for their roles. This also leads to burnout.

7- Too Many Difficult Clients

I’ve always maintained that a ‘C-Class Landlord’ who is overly demanding and unreasonable, wants sky-high rents, low fees, and won’t fix the property is like a packet of cigarettes and will take years off the life of a property manager.

They can be just plain bad for business and upset your staff. I feel they are a big factor that makes the job unpleasant, leading to more resignations.

I feel a good boss is quick to listen to their staff and be wanting to ‘let go’ of bad owners. And they get the respect of their staff when they do because it shows they care!

Good property managers are now waking up!

The above seven reasons I believe are compelling and have the potential to change the face of the industry over the next ten years.

The point is that good property managers are now waking up and want to work for a boss that shares the same values as them in property management.

Bosses always get the staff they deserve!
Good, bad, or otherwise!

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