Thirteen Things a Top Property Manager Will NEVER EVER Do

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Quality property managers will do a lot of things, BUT will also refuse to do only a few real important things.

We asked our Facebook audience this question ‘What’s ONE thing a Quality Property Manager will never ever do’. We thank everyone that participated with ideas.

Things a quality Property Manager will never ever do:

#1- Compromise on the Entry Report.

When completing the first inspection upon tenancy start and entry, always assume the bond will be disputed and end up in tribunal/court. With that in mind, write up a thorough report with detailed and comprehensive photos and top it off with a quality video recording the property’s condition.

Sure, the video may not be permissible in court/tribunal, but you can still submit still-shots from the video. Also, if your tenant is given a Youtube link (set to ‘unlisted’) at the start and end of tenancy with the video footage, it’s highly likely your tenant WILL NOT WANT to dispute the issue.

#2- Accept an applicant if they’re unsure or ‘take a chance’.

Every tenant should be thoroughly screened and if their tenancy history doesn’t make sense and something doesn’t feel right, then you need to reject the applicant. A good property manager never compromises on this even when the property sits vacant and over time they will develop a sixth sense and should be able to tell a bad tenant a mile away!

#3- Reveal to an applicant the reason they got rejected.

In Australia, we don’t have to give a reason why an application for tenancy was rejected. We should always stand by this. The moment you let a tenant know (for example ‘bad tenancy history’) then the rule that ‘everyone in prison is innocent’ comes out and the applicant will fire at you all the reasons why it wasn’t their fault and you have a firefight!

#4- Tell an applicant what the other agent said.

When you receive a reference from another agent, do not share that information with your applicant, especially as the reason they got rejected. There are just some unwritten rules in property management and sharing what another agent disclosed to you should not be shared (unless under the Privacy Act you’re forced to).

#5- Give a false reference to another agent.

Between property managers, there should be openness and honesty, especially when it comes to references and sharing tenancy history on applicants. When a property manager gives deliberate, false information (for example, gives a good reference just to get rid of a bad tenant) then this breaks every integrity rule in the book! It should never, ever be done!

#6- Talk down another agent and competitor.

As much as it is tempting sometimes, a good property manager will never talk badly about another agency even when all the evidence is there. It looks unprofessional in the client’s eyes.

#7- Sugarcoat anything to a client.

We all know that property management does not always run smoothly (if it did we would be out of a job!). When it comes to communicating with our owners we must always tell the truth and not water down what we say or talk it up. We should paint a worst-case scenario with the promise we will do our best and assure the client we are working in their best interests. If it goes bad and they were informed, it should cause little shock and trust will be maintained. Sugarcoat what you say and it goes bad, then distrust and upset may follow resulting with the loss of the business.

#8- Poach another agent’s management.

Knowingly and directly contacting another agent’s client/business whether it’s vacant or under management is just poor ethics – should you be seeking that business. If you feel this is an acceptable practice (yes, it happens too commonly) ask the question would you be happy for that to happen with your management? Be honest now, you wouldn’t appreciate it!

If the owner contacts and approaches you first then that is a different matter entirely and provided the management can be properly ended with the other agency, then winning the management, in this case, is quite above board.

#9- Poach business from a former employer.

Just like the previous tip above, if you move on from an agency do not directly approach their owners. They are not yours to take! Severe legal repercussions can ensue and property managers have been successfully sued for damages and compensation when it’s been proved they first directly contacted and poached this business. Don’t do it!

If the owner directly contacts and approaches you first, check out any restraint clauses that may have been in place against you with your former employer. If there are no legal issues and the client clearly wants you to manage their property and the management agreement can be ended, then, by all means, take it over. The rule is never to approach the owner first.

#10- Take shortcuts with a procedure.

When you take a shortcut or leave things out, like when it comes to a procedure, checklist, or process, the issue left out doesn’t go away. It goes into hibernation mode to cause you more complications later on and takes 3-4 times more time to fix.

When you shortcut something you short circuit it. When you do that, it blows up!

#11- Accept abuse.

You’re not actually paid enough to take abuse (it’s not in your pay rate) so when someone serves it to you, whether an owner, tenant or otherwise, let them know politely you don’t accept it. If it continues, either just walk away, or hang up the phone.

#12- Take on anything ‘with a roof and front door’.

Good property managers realise (just like tenant selection) that property and owner selection is just as important. Have criteria in place for what you should say ‘no’ to.

Have a minimum rent (say no if it goes below), location, property type, quality, owner attitude, etc. Add to those things like saying no to furnished properties (unless that’s what you do), and have a maximum distance drive time from the office before you say no.

#13- Keep a bad owner.

Never value and hang onto a bad client, just for the sake of ‘business’. Typically a bad owner has a low rent property, is over-demanding and unreasonable, won’t fix it, takes up too much of your time, and is just pain all around. Move them on, but don’t manage it any longer.

Property management is hard on the best of days, so don’t make it any harder!

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