Let’s face it, property management is never easy, and it doesn’t get any easier no matter how long you have been in the industry.

There are always things that add to the difficulty of the role, and the most significant challenges are evolving with the ever-changing social and technological climate.

By Darren Hunter – DarrenHunter.com

The challenges listed below are what property managers told us were of most concern to them today. Perhaps these are yours as well.

Regretfully we can’t provide solutions to each challenge listed in this article, but we will endeavour to address them one by one in coming articles.

#1 Meth labs and meth testing

This issue is HUGE in Australia and New Zealand right now, and some serious discussion is underway about the compulsory testing of rental properties between tenancies for methamphetamine contamination. Meth production and use has skyrocketed in the last two years and will become a growing concern and problem in the future. Watch this one for sure!

#2 Drug-affected tenants

The drug of choice amongst the general population has changed over the years, but ice has induced behaviour not seen before in other drug users. It’s known for sparking erratic and aggressive behaviour in drug users, making this a real problem for property managers to identify and deal with when tenants are affected. More drug education is required in our industry overall.

#3 Owners and tenants expecting instant communication

When a property manager gets an email, an office phone call, and then a mobile call from the same person in the space of 60 seconds, it can be a real challenge. The key here is managing expectations around the accessibility of the Property Manager at the start of your owner or tenant relationship.

#4 After-hours availability

This point is a little like #3. If the right expectations are not set at the start, your owners and tenants think you should be available 24 hours a day. Naysayers suggest you need to offer good customer service and be fully accessible all the time because you work in real estate. But I believe this causes poor mental health, can place a PM out of balance and can cause burnout, leading to resignation. Set the right expectations so you can switch off after-hours.

#5 Working too many long hours

Not many property managers can work a strict 9-5 day every day and take a complete lunch break. Instead, they skip a lunch break and generally work up to an extra 2-3 hours a day. Extra work without proper breaks will cause burnout and lead to resentment, disillusionment and then resignation. Changes that could improve this include good time management, following procedures and checklists, and management support. Never underestimate the effect that property/owner selection has on this all too common problem either!

#6 Dealing with aggressive and abusive owners and tenants

When you’re dealing with an owner’s financial investment and a tenant’s home, there will be some clashes and conflicts in property management. This issue alone is right up there as one of the most prevalent reasons that property managers leave the industry. Setting practical expectations and appropriate induction for both parties reduces this issue, but even the very best property managers still find this issue difficult to handle.

#7 Social media complaints and bad Google reviews

We live in a world of social media, and today everyone has an online voice – and an opinion to match. With the basic fact that you cannot please everyone coupled with the growing demand for perfection and people having their ‘rights’ met, we are seeing an increasing number of consumers vocally critical of the services that they receive. We need to accept that online complaints are standard, and getting a bad Google review can occur easily (especially from a disgruntled tenant that didn’t get their whole bond back). It’s all about your response to complaints and bad online reviews that’ll determine the end result, not the complaint itself.

#8 Dealing with bad owners

This issue keeps coming up as a big one because we spend a lot of time selecting tenants, but not much thought goes into owner and property selection, so we end up taking on difficult owners and business that burns us out. It all starts with valuing profitable quality business (not taking on all business) and taking on owners that have the same values as you do. When these values differ, you get conflict. Don’t value lousy business, and be prepared to vacate it from your rent roll.

#9 Discounting

There will always be discounters whose business practices continually challenge the quality service providers whose fees represent what they provide. When the management fee becomes the main focus of total fee revenue, discounting (or the discount pressure) your management fee can cause many financial problems long into your business future. The key is to have strong points of difference so prospective clients can see that paying more for quality service is important and often even non-negotiable. If you don’t have strong points of difference, this will continue to be a challenge – and a challenge that you cannot win.

#10 Mental health and the inability to ‘switch off’ after hours

Taking home the chaos of the day and having it swim around in your head at night is a real challenge for many property managers. It’s important to understand that it’s just business and any issues will still be waiting for you in the morning. It’s your choice to give the pressure access to your time and mental space, so for now, relax. You’ve always dealt with issues and got on top of them before, and these new issues are no different. It takes time to get on top of this one and develop healthier personal habits, but it’s one you need to master for your good mental health and industry longevity.

#11 Getting everything done – time management

It doesn’t take you very long to work out that you cannot get everything done in a day, so you only work with priority tasks. Therefore, good task and time management are essential skills to develop to survive the property management jungle. Working from a priority list every day, following strict policies and procedures, appointment and interruption control and task batching all play a critical role in getting through the day’s demands.

Darren Hunter
Property Management Trainer, Speaker & Consultant at | [email protected]

Darren Hunter - of darrenhunter.com is a national and international property management trainer, speaker, consultant and authority on property management, specialising in fee maximisation and profitability as well as time and stress management and property management productivity.


  1. Great information Darren, You have explained all about the property management very well. I am a property manager and had very bad experience with choosing tenants for my clients and from your blog i got too much information which can help me with my profession specially i love the point Meth testing which is the biggest issue of these days. Thanks again.

  2. Thank you great information. With the Management fees very informative except there was Nothing on the NT. Sometimes I think we are a forgotten race up here!! If possible could you please do the stats for here would be greatly appreciated.

  3. great article Darren am sure there are parallels in the UK as well – I have conducted some research in the commercial sector and one of the biggest problems are design defects that tenants do not want pay for and as you point out to instant communication expectations. We are currently working on a solution for this at spacesweets.com. Would love your feedback. James Liverpool UK

  4. Thank you for letting me and people understand the different factors or challenges property managers face or go through. Property managers face lots of issues and problems whether it is to deal with bad owners or to face highly aggressive people. I appreciate this topic and waiting for more to come like this