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Is your property manager outsourcing services?

Australian companies have been outsourcing services for years, especially big brands and large corporations.

In recent years, small business has jumped on the band wagon to use onshore and offshore outsourcing with the aim to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.

Outsourcing is now common across many industries and increasingly in the real estate sector, particularly property management. Some real estate industry insiders suggest it’s the ‘way of the future’.

While the property management sector may well be heading this way, is it necessarily good for the end-customers? You, the landlord and your tenants?

First, let’s look at what outsourcing is

Outsourcing involves a business hiring an external party – individual or company – or using an application to provide services or manage operations that were typically performed in-house. Sometimes this includes engaging the services of an overseas provider or a party closer to home.

Many property management outsourcing companies promise back office support that takes care of the time intensive tasks and frees up the property managers to focus on growing the business.

But outsourcing is not a silver bullet for business pain points. Professional property management requires more than just back office and administrative support. It involves communication to build relationships and trust.

The main concern with outsourcing property management services

Landlords entrust property managers with the upkeep of their investments. For this reason, it’s essential they know who is actually managing their property – the main concern with the increase in agents turning to outsourcing is the lack of transparency.

I’m a property manager, and I’m also a landlord. Recently, I discovered that the property manager for one of my properties located interstate was outsourcing repairs and maintenance services to a third party and using freelance trades to make repairs.

As the property owner, I want to decide who looks after my best interests and that of my tenant’s. It’s the landlord’s decision, so it’s our right to know.

If you’re unsure who is actually managing your property, raise it with your property manager.

If you discover that your property manager outsources or offshores services to a third party, understand what this means to you and know the impacts:

  • Your information may be passed on to a third party – make sure you know who has your information and how it is being used.
  • Your tenants may not know who is managing the property – they may be at a loss to know who to call when they have a question or concern.
  • Your tenant’s repairs and maintenance requests may not be carried out accurately or at the best rate, costing you time and money.
  • The third party may be carrying out non-back-office and non-administrative services such as tenant screening, lease negotiation and inspections. If so, the decisions made by the third party, such as maximising rent, may not be in your best interest.
  • Your property manager may not be properly overseeing the performance of the third party.
  • Your property manager may not be nurturing the relationship with the tenant which may result in shorter tenancies.

Need more information?

Stills Properties has been managing investment properties for Sydney landlords for over 30 years, contact us to discuss your investment property management needs.


What are Landlord Rights when Accessing Premises?

During a tenancy, the landlord, property agent or a person acting on the landlord’s behalf can access the leased premises if they provide notice and follow the correct procedures.

Typically, access is sought to conduct inspections, complete maintenance, and repairs, or show the property to prospective buyers.

While some new investor landlords may think they can enter their property once the tenant has moved in, tenants do have the right to privacy when renting.

I know of several incidents where new investors made the mistake of accessing their property without seeking the tenant’s permission. Two of these were recent.

In one incident, an owner was showing his family through a property he had recently purchased while the tenant was out shopping; the tenant came home to find them all in her living room.

Another occasion involved a tenant arriving home to find the landlord and his wife wandering around the backyard of the rental property checking the condition of the lawn and garden.

In my time as a property manager, I’ve heard numerous accounts of landlord investors carrying out their own repairs and stories of tenants returning home to discover cupboards and doors left open – without the tenant receiving any prior notice.

Australian law has many rules and regulations in place to protect landlords as well as tenants.

Rights and responsibilities vary by state, with NSW governed by the Residential Tenancy Act and laws can change. It is essential for landlords, especially new investors to acquaint themselves with these laws and regulations, so they understand what is permitted and expected.

Know your rights and responsibilities

The key regulations related to accessing property during a tenancy are:

  • No-one can inspect a property prior to giving the tenant notice
  • Seven days’ written notice must be given to carry out a routine inspection
  • No more than four times a year can an owner/agent inspect the property
  • 24 hours’ written notice must be given for emergency repairs or by negotiation
  • A notice must be provided either by email or letter.

Entering a rental property without notice is a breach of the tenant’s ‘quiet enjoyment’. It’s also classed as trespassing and a breach of security. Police may become involved depending on the situation.

By and large, tenants who experience a breach of their privacy and security will want to break their lease and move out, vacate as soon as the lease expires or request the locks to be changed.

These outcomes are far from ideal for either party.

During the tenancy, it’s important to remember that while the landlord owns the property, the tenant has the right to determine when other people are allowed in.

What’s the best approach?

For self-managing landlords, the best approach is generally for the landlord to request the tenant’s consent to enter the property and agree on a mutually convenient time and day.

Another approach is to find an experienced and qualified property manager to own the tenant relationship and communicate with them directly. Good agents understand the rules and regulations which avoids new investors making common and costly first-time landlord mistakes.

Need more information?

Stills Properties has been managing investment properties for Sydney landlords for over 30 years, contact us to discuss your investment property management needs.

Also, Fair Trading NSW has more details on notice before entry requirements.


Pro-active Property Manager succeeds in tough rental landscape

Every Property Manager will easily recognise the snapshot above is from Domain’s website. From 12/09/18. It’s current. This is Sydney’s rental market right now.

I’d hazard a guess that most of our current generation of Property Managers have never experienced a market as difficult as this in which to let property. Stills Properties has been around a while and I can remember the bad old days of 2006 when we all struggled to let property across the board.

Thinking back on those difficult times I wanted to share some thoughts on how we, as Property Managers and Agents, might help ourselves and our clients through the current difficulties.

Let’s all be more Pro-active in our search for reliable tenants!

Continue reading…


Managing you own Investment Property – why would you?

What price a headache?

“Save money,” they say.  “It’s easy,” they say.  “Anyone can do it,” they say.  On the face of it, ‘they’ appear to have a point.  On the face of it!  Scratch the Investment Property surface however and there’s a whole untold story behind those glib statements.

Time is Money

At Stills Properties we get it – property investors want to make money, not spend it.  But how valuable is your time?  The old adage ‘time is money’ never rang more true than when it comes to managing your own investment property, because how much of your family time are you prepared to commit to:

* Dealing with late-paying tenants?
* Evicting a bad tenant?
* Finding a new tenant when the current one leaves?
* Performing regular property inspections?
* Organising necessary repairs?
* Keeping up-to-date with applicable legislation?

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Pet-friendly landlords can earn more in rent

Landlords – consider the pet-friendly route to a 10-15% rent premium!

If you have an investment property then you have an interest in the real estate market. If you have an interest in the real estate market then you’ll be fully aware of changes in recent months. The long-running seller’s market suddenly switched to a buyer’s market with prices sliding steadily over a few months.

A buyer’s market in sales translates to a tenant’s market in rentals. The pool of potential tenants decreases as more people opt to take advantage of falling prices and buy their own home. Add to this the enormous number of new apartments going up everywhere you look and supply is beginning to outstrip demand by some margin. Tenants have more to choose from and they’re becoming more selective and demanding.

Continue reading…