It won’t come as a major surprise that COVID-19 has had a major impact on Australia’s property management industry.
The extent of this impact has been far-reaching and serious, as the results of rent.com.au‘s COVID-19 property management impact survey reveals.
Key survey results:
- 98% of property management offices have suffered a negative impact from COVID-19
- 70% of respondents expect it to be at least six months before the market returns to normal
- 69% of property managers have seen their workload increase
- 46% have been forced to reduce staff hours or stand down staff
- 77% of respondents have seen an increase in tenants defaulting on rental payments
- 51% of respondents indicated that rents have reduced in their area
- 83% of routine inspections are now being conducted by the tenant via an app or agency instructions
How much has your property management business changed since COVID-19 began?
98% of respondents indicated that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their business, with 48% reporting it had a large or severe impact.
When do you expect the rental market will become normal again?
More than 70% of property managers surveyed predicted it would be at least six months before the market returned to normal, with more than a quarter anticipating at least 12 months before total recovery.
What impact has there been on your workload?
When asked how their workload was impacted, 69% said their workload had increased since the COVID-19 crisis commenced, with 15% indicating that their workload more than doubled. However, 24% indicated their workload had actually decreased.
Has your office had to reduce staff hours or stand-down staff?
46% of respondents indicated that they had to reduce staff hours or stand down staff. Of these, 40% reported they had to do both.
Has your office experienced an increase in tenants defaulting on rental payments?
With extreme financial pressures affecting tenants ability to pay the rent, as well as a great deal of confusion over the ability for tenants to stop paying rent due to hardship, property managers have started to see an influx of contact from tenants experiencing difficulties. In fact, 77% of respondents indicated an increase in tenants defaulting on rental payments.
Have rents in your area increased or decreased?
As unemployment rises and household budgets begin to bite, it’s no surprise that there’s been downward pressure on rental prices across the country. More than half of the survey respondents indicated that rents had reduced in their area since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.
Of those who said they’d seen a price decrease, 36% said the drop was more than 10%, and one-third between 5 to 10%.
How are you managing open for inspections?
Public open for inspections are off the cards under the latest restrictions from the Federal Government, forcing many offices to use technology to facilitate remote property inspections – and many for the first time! 59% of the agents surveyed said they had not previously used technology for providing online property inspections.
The most tech of choice was walkthrough video, used by 50% of respondents. FaceTime was next most popular (29%), followed by 360 Virtual Tours (26%).
How are you managing routine inspections?
Australia’s property management industry has been forced to consider alternative measures to facilitate routine inspections, with social distancing and staff health now a major consideration.
Agents said tenant-driven routine inspections now accounted for 83% of all activity, with just 18% of inspections conducted through an app.
Has your business reduced marketing expenses?
Many offices have been required to look at ways of trimming costs outside of reducing hours and staff cuts. Some 40% said their office had reduced marketing expenses. 56% of respondents in this group said their team had reduced the use of property upgrades, and 35% had cut down spend on newspaper advertising.
Survey notes: Rent.com.au’s COVID-19 Property Management Impact Survey (April 2020) was conducted online and run from April 15-20.
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As a founding employee, David Berridge has been responsible for helping real estate and property management agencies reach the large renter and landlord rent.com.au audience. Outside of work, he enjoys a round of golf, the beach, and travelling the world.