PPM Group founder Debbie Palmer offers a series of hot property management tips for day-to-day survival in the industry.
Thought provoking property management tips
- If you become aware of a slip and fall or tenant injury at the property you must notify your PI Insurer immediately. Failure to do socould void your insurance cover. Even if a tenant comes in and mentions they hurt themselves at the property and they have not threatened legal action.
- Creating a to-do-list! Do you know someone who just turns up to work and actions what is given to them? It is important to end and start your day with a list of priorities. List the big things in RED and fit the little things around your big things… And don’t forget to be realistic. The challenge with many property managers is they think there is more time in the day than there actually is. Plan, prioritise and be organised and you will feel more in control.
- When submitting quotes to an owner it is your duty of care to follow the owner up until you obtain a response. It is not enough to just send the quote and wait for the owner to one day get back to you.
- As a property manager it is your duty of care to review every property’s rent in accordance with the market. Failure to conduct fair market rent reviews each year could result in a claim against your office from the owner for income loss
- If a professional indemnity claim is made against your office the question asked by the Courts will be… Did you do what is considered reasonable, were the actions industry standard and do you have evidence for your actions?
- As a property manager you have to be in constant alert mode. What can go wrong? Who can sue you and why? What are the consequences of your actions or in actions? You must always start with the end in mind and have detailed systems and records to prove your actions.
- Most property managers know when something is not being done correctly. It is Murphy’s Law… The one time you don’t do what is meant to be done is the time that something will go wrong. The note you forgot to make, the call you didn’t call, the letter you didn’t send or the maintenance you thought could wait until later.
- When organising large repairs at a property ensure that you have adequate funds to pay for the work in your trust account. If you don’t, send a letter to the owner requesting additional funds. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you are left with the account. Especially at final vacate time.
- Are you managing troublesome properties or difficult landlords? Take a moment to reflect on the properties you manage. We often spend 80% of our time managing 20% of our properties. Eliminate what is causing the 80% and you will have that free time to focus on building your rent roll with quality properties.
- Do you know your bottom-line? How much on average it costs you to manage a property per year? It is often a trend for many department to spend the majority of their time managing the low-end rental properties. @ 8% $200 pw = $16 income Vs $450 pw = $36 income. Which property would you like to manage?
- Do you have a property and landlord selection criteria during the new management process? What standards do you have? What presentation criteria must they meet? If you don’t have one you may want to brainstorm this at your next meeting.
- Do you have a system to manage vacant properties? When there is not a tenant in the property we can often forget about them. You need to ensure that the lawns are being cared for, there are no damp smells in the property from carpet cleaning and most importantly, if there is a pool at the property to ensure that the electricity remains connected.
- If an insurance claim is made against your office under your professional indemnity insurance never admit fault, handover documents or speak to anyone without the authorisation of your insurer.
- Take a proactive approach to property management. Conduct an audit on your rent roll to identify properties that need upgrading. New carpet, painting of walls, fresh start to the gardens, external painting. It is the poorly presented properties that often attract the less desirable tenants. Not all business is good business.
- When taking on a new management do you take the time to conduct a property search to confirm the owners? It is your duty of care and legislated in some States to verify the actual owners. You should attach this report to the management agreement.
- When processing a tenant application always ensure that you conduct a tenant database check first before telephoning the references. There is no point processing references if they have been listed on a tenant database for a serious breach or debt outstanding.
- For a tenancy agreement to be legally binding a tenant must be given the opportunity to read the document. It is not enough to highlight the front page and then say sign on the dotted line.
- When completing a tenancy agreement term avoid listing 6 months or 12 months. You should state 26 weeks or 52 weeks and ensure that the term is exactly a week to avoid disputes at the end of the tenancy when you have to ask for 1 week rent plus 2 days.
- Think outside the box. You do not have to enter into 6 or 12 month tenancies. You can make it 7 months or 10 months, etc. This works well if you are renting a property with a pool. You do not want the end of the term to be in a winter month making it harder to rent the property
Debbie celebrates more than 30 years experience in her property management career. She is dedicated, passionate, focused and offers a youthful approach to property management.