Not all landlords can be satisfied. But if you act proactively and deal with issues before they arise, you can reduce the problem, according to property management expert Darren Hunter.

Darren said most landlord complaints stem from unreasonable or incorrect expectations. These landlords are challenging to manage, making your work life difficult if they’re unhappy.

The key takeaway? You can’t please everyone, so don’t try.

Darren explained that tenants are emotionally motivated, while landlords are financially motivated. Landlords can react impulsively when it comes to money, so it’s crucial to put yourself in their shoes and understand their perspective.

Different clients have different motivations for becoming landlords, and it’s essential to understand what’s important to them, communicate on their level, and identify potential issues upfront.

Darren identified 12 common landlord types, and each one requires unique expectations to be set.

Darren Hunter’s ’12 Different Landlord Types’

  • The DIY Landlord wants control and thinks they can do it better than you. Set the ground rules and understand their motivations.
  • The Default Landlord was forced into renting out their property and fears bad tenants and wear and tear. Educate them on the reality of having a tenant and adjust their expectations.
  • The ‘Sales’ Landlord needs income and wants a higher price. Educate them on the marketplace and vacancy rates.
  • The Controller wants to re-write your agreement and keep you on your toes. Be careful.
  • The Multiple Property Landlord wants value and control but don’t discount fees for extra properties.
  • The ‘A-class’ Landlord is easy to work with and appreciates you.
  • The ‘C-class’ Landlord wants control, won’t do repairs, and wants discounts. Consider if you need this client.
  • The Committee can be difficult, make it clear decisions need to be made quickly, and the property must be in good condition.
  • The ‘Demolisher’ has a property in poor condition and wants to demolish it eventually. Manage their expectations and inform them of legislative requirements.
  • The ‘Estate’ Landlord inherited the property and may require a lot of repairs. Make expectations clear.
  • The ‘Transfer’ Landlord came from another agency and values a good property manager. They’re generally easy clients.
  • The Property Investor is not emotionally involved and wants maximised returns and a good tenant. Tax depreciation is essential. Give them peace of mind and show you care.

“Don’t burn yourself out for the sake of a difficult owner” – Darren Hunter

Manage owners’ expectations by preparing them beforehand, suggests Darren.

Create a Property Owner’s Handbook to educate new landlords on your operations and customer service standards. Induct them during the management agreement signing and explain common issues.

Remember: not all business is good business. If a landlord is unreasonable, consider if it’s worth the trouble. Don’t burn out for demanding clients.

Expectation issues

Signs of trouble: Abnormal landlord behaviour. Be transparent in all issues and expectations. Give tough love when needed. Put your health and well-being first.

To avoid issues, vet landlords before signing an agreement. Keep them informed throughout any problems. Ensure they believe in good values. Treat owners’ expectations with the same importance as tenants. C-class landlords can lead to resignation, so prioritise the business AND yourself.