EPMEPM: Best Practice & Legislation

The true value of a property manager

More property owners are figuring they can save the management fee and “do it themselves”. Sarah Latham discusses some ideas to convince them that you, as a professional, are much better placed to do the job.

Due to the state of the economy, the last couple of years it has been noticeably tougher to sign up new business. Landlords have been negotiating harder on fees and worse, insisting that they can do it on their own to cut costs.

Business development officers and directors have really had to adjust the way they tackle that one inevitable question asked by potential clients: Why do I need an agent?

More and more landlords have been opting to employ an agency solely to find tenants and then choosing to manage the property themselves. As property managers know, there’s more to managing property than just collecting the rent – and it’s up to us to communicate this effectively to potential clients.

elow are a few ideas on how you can make a landlord aware that property management is a tricky business, and why they should only use the professionals. The bottom line is that it takes money, and a great deal of effort and time, to manage a profitable investment property successfully.

The late night or after hours urgent repair phone calls
Will a landlord know who to call after hours in the event of an emergency, or be in a position to action the request? What about ensuring the tradespeople are licenced and carry the necessary insurance? How do they know they won’t be overcharged and underserviced during these times of need?

Legislation and the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunals
You can put the fear of God into anyone with past Tribunal stories here. How well does the landlord understand his or her obligations under the new Residential Tenancies Act 2010?

This can be a costly exercise. As a professional in the industry, a property manager knows exactly which insurances a landlord needs and what processes need to be followed to ensure compliance at all times.
A detailed Policies and Procedures manual will ensure all situations are handled and actioned in the appropriate manner to minimise claims for compensation from tenants against the landlord.

Emotional attachment
This point is particularly apt if the landlord is moving out of the family home and renting it out for the first time. It has been said to me time and time again by incoming tenants that they chose to rent professionally managed properties rather than owner managed properties to keep distance and a neutral ground. By taking a step back and taking the emotion out of the deal, both owners and tenants can expect a mutually rewarding tenure and a professionally managed experience.

If all of the above points are not enough to convince the landlord to appoint you as the managing agent, there’s probably not much more that you can do; but keep in touch with them over the course of the tenancy and hope to pick up the leasing of the property again when the tenants move out.

Sarah Latham is a Director at Latham Cusack Property Services Pty Ltd.

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