Property managers often get a bad rap from those who don’t fully understand the important role they play in the rental housing market. The negative perception is usually based on events pertaining to a few bad eggs carrying the job title — a fact that isn’t reported as clearly as it should be.
But hey, we’re not here to throw stones. Instead we’re going to reinforce the value of property managers by pointing out some of the unseen (and commonly unpaid) tasks they carry out in order to serve both rental property owners and their tenants.
7 things you probably didn’t know property managers do:
Property managers often find themselves rolling up their sleeves and mucking in to pick up any slack when it comes to end of tenancy cleaning. They complete certain cleaning tasks then and there when the time and cost of returning to the office and engaging a cleaning contractor isn’t warranted. PMs absorb this work to speed up the turnaround between tenancies to shorten the period in which the property owner isn’t receiving rental income.
Some of the resulting tasks include wiping down dusty surfaces or windowsills, putting bins out, and removing any items left high in wardrobes or cupboards by tenants.
2. Assisting absentee owners who can’t be present to work through issues or requirements
Rentals landlords and owners don’t always live in the same town (or even country) as the home they rent out. In this case, a PM will take care of any issues or requirements that can only be sorted in person at the property or in their office.
A likely scenario in which a PM provides additional service for absentee owners is when a significant insurance claim relating to a water leak (or similar) needs to be made.
If the owner is overseas or in another town the PM will deal with the insurance company, the claim assessor and as many tradesmen as are required. The PM becomes a sort of project manager, directing all the moving parts of the claim and repair process, all the while communicating developments with the owner via email and photos.
3. Assisting salespeople and solicitors when a landlord sells a rental property
There is often a lot of administrative organising for PMs to take care of when a landlord sells a rental property. This includes tenant communications; and delivering tenancy agreements, preparing signed change of landlord forms to send to the Bond Centre and rent ledgers to solicitors, salespeople and accountants.
4. Tenancy Tribunal representation
When there is a dispute that goes before the Tenancy Tribunal, PMs are called to represent the property owner.
This can take hours to prepare for, especially when the tenancy has multiple issues, or the tenant is attempting to deceive the tribunal. PMs need to provide three copies of all records, photos, quotes, invoices and a timeline of events to each party attending the tribunal: tenant, Tribunal adjudicator and themselves.
5. Education and reaction to legislation changes requirements
PMs need to be well versed in any changes to rental property legislation to help educate and protect both landlords and tenants. Recent examples of this include due diligence to identify the new requirements regarding changes to smoke alarm and insulation compliance, and the corresponding contact with landlords and tenants to ensure properties meet the grade.
Looking forward we have the upcoming Healthy Homes requirements to help landlords meet. These number further insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage, draught stopping and heating considerations to be implemented by 1 July 2021 for private landlords.
6. Help resolve conflicts with neighbours
Rental properties with shared driveways can create many issues where tenants and their neighbours enter disputes over how the common areas are used for parking and access to each property.
A shared driveway is just one example where conflict resolution is required. First Avenue PMs have dealt with many other situations like this in the past, playing mediator while addressing tenants’ concerns for their personal safety and welfare. It takes considerable time, energy and resilience on the PM’s part to address tenants’ concerns and find agreeable outcomes.
7. General counselling of tenants during hard times
The nature of their job means PMs can sometimes find themselves interacting with tenants during particularly stressful life events. Often the main point of contact with tenants during these times of personal crisis or unexpected changes in circumstance, PMs find themselves offering an informal counselling service.
Many times, tenants consider their PM a friend and rely on their counsel when they have concerns about their ability to meet their obligations under their tenancy agreement, and when personal situations will ultimately have an impact on their rental position.
Property management is a service like no other
We hope you’ve found this list of unseen property manager duties interesting and educational. This post lists just a few examples — there are many more.
If you’re considering enlisting the help of property manager to take care of your rental property, we encourage you to read the MBIE’s advice around selecting a property manager, and to contact us to learn more about our comprehensive property management services.