When budgets are tight, it’s important to look at ways to trim expenses. For people with investment properties, it may be tempting to look at whether you really need a property manager – especially if you already have a tenant in place. But be careful. Recently, we met a landlord who is self-managing her investment property and now she’s found it’s cheaper to engage a property manager.

Here’s her story.

I wanted to trim our family expenses so I thought I would take over managing our investment property. After all, we had a tenant in place and he’d been there for a while without any problems.

A few weeks later, our tenant asked for a rental discount – not because he was in financial distress, but because he said ‘everyone else is’. The last thing we wanted was a vacant property so we agreed to his request even though it was a significant strain on our family budget.

The following week, the tenant requested changes to the conditions in the current rental agreement. We’re only part way through the lease!

I didn’t know what to do so I began searching online, trying to understand tenancy laws and how they applied in my situation. I spent hours and hours trying to figure it out. I couldn’t find an answer and meanwhile the tenant kept bugging me for changes.

I thought managing our investment property myself would help our family budget. But now I’m losing sleep, time with my kids and money.

If this happened to one of our landlords, this is what we would do:

  1. When the tenant asked for a rent reduction, we would investigate his claims. If he wasn’t experiencing financial distress, we would explain the rules around financial hardship eligibility and why he didn’t qualify.
  2. Before a lease is signed, there is some room to negotiate. Once the lease commences, both landlord and tenant are legally bound to the conditions in that lease (taking into consideration the changes implemented due to COVID-19). At Stills Properties, we take the time to educate each tenant on their rights and obligations under the tenancy agreement. Then, if a tenant asked for conditions to be changed mid-way through the lease, we would explain why that isn’t possible.

Our philosophy

Tenancy law is complicated, constantly evolving and now has some temporary changes due to COVID-19. As property managers, it’s our job to keep up with these changes so we can advise our landlords and tenants accordingly. Not only that, property management fees are usually tax deductible which means there are financial advantages in asking a professional to manage your investment property.

The rental market is challenging at the moment so now more than ever, landlords need the help and advice of their property manager.

If you are currently self-managing your investment property or simply looking for an experienced property manager, talk to Brigitte from Stills Properties on 1300 091 638 or email propertymanager@stillsproperties.com.au

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