Thoughts from Stacey Holt
There are many structures set up in modern property management businesses which range from the traditional portfolio method, the POD method or task based management. Real Estate Excellence has always been a great fan of Portfolio due to the accountability and also the lessor peace of mind of 'who is managing their investment' but has in recent times seen a handful of business who has mastered the task based management. Those witnessed who have succeeded in task based management have very clear job descriptions, visions and goals. The model does not work in most cases unless there is also a clear head of the department; the face, the driver and leader. It generally is beneficial if this position is held by the licensee.
In brief - High standard placed on a "reasonable person" to foresee risks
In the case Dillon v Hair  NSWCA 80, the NSW Court of Appeal recently affirmed the decision of a NSW District Court judge in finding a landlord liable to their property agent for placing an outdoor mat inside the front door of a recently vacated house, causing the agent to fall and sustain injury.
Tenant gives notice to vacate premises and landlord prunes trees at premises
Jann and Harry Dillon owned a property at Katoomba in New South Wales. They retained Margaret Hair of Century 21 as their agent to manage the tenancy of the property.
In April 2010, the tenant at the time gave notice that she wished to vacate the premises. The tenant told Ms Hair that she would vacate possession on 21 May 2010 and had booked removalists for 14 May 2010. In order for the removalists to gain access to the property, the tenant asked Ms Hair to arrange pruning of some trees. Ms Hair conveyed this request to Mr and Mrs Dillon, with Mr Dillon attending to the pruning himself.
Did the title of this article make you read? I had to make an impact to hopefully assist in relation to ethical behaviours when managements are lost to other agents.
Some property managers make it incredibly hard for the new agent acting for the owner when a management is lost. Why? No one likes losing business however property management is hard enough without infighting within ourselves.
There are sometimes situations where there are question marks as to how the new agent actually gained the new business which resulted in the agency losing a valued client. Whilst this is frustrating and unethical, there is a saying that 'you cannot lose a happy client'. I agree with that statement to some extent; a client may well be happy but enticed due to lower fees therefore better for them. And that is the point, to them it is about them and to us it should be as well. We also would hope in most cases, that we may gain that client back again in the future. It is business, and is not personal.
I receive enquiries on a regular basis from licensees regarding consultancy/training services on ways to ‘grow the rent roll’. The comment I hear often is ‘How come my rent roll is not growing?’.
Before quoting or delivering this service, I always endeavour to find out how the foundations are in the agency first. There is of course no point putting a plan of action in place to grow a rent roll without ensuring that the foundation of the property management department is sound and running proactively.
Some property management departments have daily reactive chaotic management systems in place. I believe that all property management departments always have a sense of ‘chaos’, however the question is the chaos uncontrolled reactive or chaos controlled proactive? If the case is the latter of chaos uncontrolled reactive, then there is no point in my professional opinion throwing away valuable time and good money trying to grow the rent roll.
I am often asked how can we create and maintain a successful property management business. I don’t know if there is a secret as such but I do believe there is process to follow in order to achieve the goal of a productive, efficient and compliant business.
Property management is not hard; however I know that is not easy either. People are our core focus and our core business so having people skills is requirement number one; with this is also the need to ‘like’ dealing with people. Customer service is the core focus of all property management businesses.