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Mental health battles to force one in four property managers out

The pressures of the last two years have started to significantly impact the mental health of property managers across the country, with one in four now looking at leaving the industry.

The MRI Voice of the Property Manager 2021 from MRI Software has revealed 53 per cent of property managers have experienced mental health issues, with 23 per cent saying they intend to leave the industry – a statistic that has doubled since the onset of Covid.

The concerning new figures show that nearly a quarter of property managers are intending to look for a new career, with 60 per cent having been subject to increased levels of aggression from tenants and landlords, stemming from the fallout of Covid lockdowns.

MRI Software Real Estate Industry Principal, Josh Symons said the impact of lockdowns had created a huge burden on property managers.

“During Covid, property managers bore the brunt of upset and anger created by the impact of lockdowns on tenants and landlords created by constantly changing legislative environments,” Mr Symons said.

“They adopted new technology, answered calls at all times of the day and night, Zoomed with their teams and they worked out how to do their jobs in a deeply changed landscape.

“We see a growing number of property managers are not feeling the love. Nearly one in four are saying, enough.”

The study found dealing with aggressive or abusive landlords or tenants has been a major problem and Mr Symons believes the industry needs to look at ways to address these issues.

“The stress levels take a huge toll,” he said.

“There is a lot more aggression out there which can be very scary sometimes.”

The research also highlighted that now only 37 per cent of property managers feel the job offers good career prospects, down from 56 per cent in 2018.

Meanwhile, 34 per cent are not permitted to work from home and 16 per cent say their job is too busy.

The rise in workplace stress and demands of the job are likely to lead to an industry-wide exodus if the issues aren’t addressed, according to Mr Symons.

“Losing good people from real estate is not a trend any of us should be willing to accept.”

“Property managers are critical to keeping trillions of dollars worth of Australian property running and growing in value.

“They are the lifeblood of every real estate business. We need to ensure their experiences are not lost to the profession.

“Research estimates the cost of replacing an employee is 33 per cent of their annual salary.

“If 23 per cent of property managers intend leaving the industry as our new data shows, the employee loss in property management is not just higher than previously, it is significantly higher than the general population and will impose punitive costs upon real estate businesses.”

Mr Symons said there are some things that can be done now to help alleviate the problems faced by property managers.

“Providing property managers today with better career opportunities, training that is focused on interpersonal skills, conflict management and resilience rather than technology and procedures would go a long way to address key issues,” he said.

“There are simple things we can do – recognition of the stress property managers are under and better training and support to manage those stresses.”

“Better feedback loops between managers and teams to check in on workloads and provide recognition of jobs well done and greater flexibility to manage workloads and provide work-life balance.”

Source: MRI Software

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.