Program helps tenants get their tenancy back on track

A Queensland property management agency has teamed up with an innovative program that corrects tenancies headed for failure as a way of helping its tenants and landlords manage the rental crisis.

Solutions Property Management has seen a dramatic turnaround from the first tenant they referred to work with inCommunity Connect, which also runs the Tenancy Skills Institute course.

Solutions Property Management Principal Laura Valenti said through the partnership an inCommunity Connect case worker works across both its North Lakes and Springfield offices and, with the property management team, helps to identify at risk tenancies and vulnerable tenants.

The aim is to proactively help the tenant get things back on track and maintain the tenancy through early intervention and education.

Ms Valenti said the program would not be used for tenants with serious breaches, but to assist those tenants that wanted to do the right thing but needed some extra guidance.

“This is to help tenants that are struggling to budget, that understand their responsibilities but perhaps don’t prioritise them as they should when it comes to their rental payments,” she said.

“Or we go and do an inspection and discover they have no idea how to clean and, when you don’t clean, after a year, it starts to ruin the property.”

Ms Valenti said the first tenant they referred to the program had struggled to keep the property clean and well maintained following the death of his mother.

But she said his rent was always paid on time and rather than evict him they decided, with the agreement of the owner, to get the inCommunity Connect case worker to work with him.

“Oh my god, the change has been remarkable,” Ms Valenti said.

“He’s cleaned the property up, he’s sent photos and it looks amazing.”

Ms Valenti said the program helped produce a win for all parties.

The tenant keeps their home rather than having to look for another rental property, with a black mark against their name, in an extremely tight market, while the landlord doesn’t have the cost and uncertainty of finding a new tenant.

“If a tenant is moved on after a bad tenancy, that’s another family becoming part of an already overcrowded social housing system,” Ms Valenti said.

“This impacts our whole community across many levels.

“Owners then have to bear the expense of reletting fees, property repairs and rent arrears.”

Ms Valenti said there was also often a ‘hidden’ impact on agencies and property managers if a tenant has to be moved on, including the fact that re-letting fees don’t cover the high workload involved.

“An often-ignored side effect is the huge trauma that property managers face when they have to evict families who have nowhere to go,” she said.

The program also supported tenants with wider issues, Ms Valenti explained.

“How they’re keeping the property is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

“It’s underlying emotional issues. He’s still mourning the death of his mother… so the last thing he needed was to be kicked out and to not be able to find a home.

“We’re able to maintain that tenancy, give him the help he needs without us having to do it, because we’re not social workers.”

Ms Valenti said the program had also spurred the property management team to assist more tenants.

“The team is energised to assist more tenants get back on their feet,” she said. 

Show More

Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.