The slowdown in the current property market has seen more people renting than before. While this is good news for landlords, supply is still out-performing demand, which means the rental market is in the tenant’s favour.

Currently, there are over 2,500 properties for lease on Sydney’s North Shore alone. Property managers certainly have their hands full, but this mustn’t excuse poor service and performance.

Now more than ever, you need to make sure your property manager stacks up in today’s uber-competitive rental market.

From tenant complaints to irregular inspections, there are several signs it’s time to review your property manager.

You have bad tenants or tenant issues. If you find your property manager is continually placing unsuitable tenants who don’t pay their rent on time, or at all, disrespect or damage the property or disregard the neighbours, it’s possible your property manager is not conducting thorough tenant screening and background checks. You should have them explain their tenant screening process and tell them the type of tenant you want in your property. And you should also have them explain their rental arrears management procedure, as missed rent is one of the biggest concerns for landlords.

Your property manager is always changing. High staff turnover is not uncommon in property management, but if you’re frustrated to have a different contact each time you call, chances are your tenant is equally as frustrated. Continuity is key to building trust. Tell your property manager you want to know who is looking after your asset and that you expect a dedicated contact. If they can’t promise this, find out why. You don’t want issues within an agency to impact your property in the long-term.

You have a junior property manager. At the very least, your property manager should be marketing your property, dealing with prospects and tenants, collecting rent, handling maintenance and repair issues and responding to tenant complaints. But they should also provide their expertise; such as property market information, investment property advice and updates on legislation changes. Expertise comes with industry experience, which is unlikely to come from a junior property manager.

You’re managing your property manager. A good property manager should be proactive. If you find you’re having to contact them about your property, request regular updates, confirm when the tenancy agreement expires, ask when the smoke detector was last checked, or make sure your property is covered by the right insurance, you need to seriously consider finding a new property manager. Your time is your money. You shouldn’t need to spend time to make sure they’re on top of things at your property.

You receive irregular inspection reports. Periodic, routine inspections tell you and the property manager the condition of your property, how the tenants are looking after the property, if there are any maintenance issues or repairs that need to be addressed and if there are any issues from the tenant. They’ll also tell you how many people are living in your property. If you’re not receiving regular inspection reports or a regular monthly report, you need to know why. This is an important task for your property and the tenant, which should happen at least once every six months.  

You don’t trust their accounting. Your property is a source of income, so you should feel confident you’re receiving every dollar you’re entitled to. Property managers are responsible for holding money for you and the tenants and ensuring the right funds go into the right accounts. Trust accounting requires expert attention to detail. If you have any doubts or questions about your property manager’s record-keeping and accounting processes, you must raise this with them directly and have them take you through it until you feel confident. While spending time to review your property manager might seem like a hassle in the short-term, making sure you have the best property manager looking after your investment will give you peace of mind and cost savings in the long-run.

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

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