If you have investment properties or are thinking about buying one, it’s important you are managing it well. One of the best ways to keep your property in check and make your life easier is to use a property manager and leverage their expertise. Here are some key areas in which a property manager can add value to your property.
Find prospective tenants
A property manager will advertise your property on all of the appropriate platforms; for example, realestate.com and domain.com to ensure they are reaching a wide audience and capturing as many prospective tenants as possible.
To help get a tenant as quickly as possible and reduce a property’s vacancy, property managers should complete several open house inspections outside of work hours and private inspections for prospective tenants who are unable to attend the advertised open house inspections. They will also reply to any enquiries immediately during work hours.
Screen tenants (background checks)
Once tenants have lodged an application, a good property manager will thoroughly screen potential tenants to ensure they are suitable and reliable to live in the property. This includes:
- Meeting the applicants in person;
- Asking a variety of questions, such as why they left their last rental property, do they have any pets;
- Doing a full background rental history check having their previous property managers send a rental ledger and information on any breach notices issued;
- Calling referees and checking employment history;
- Searching TICA database to see if a tenant has been ‘black-listed’ within the property management community.
Prepare all documentation/other administrative duties
Your agent/property manager will prepare the new lease documentation to ensure both the landlord and tenant are protected: These include:
- Having the leases completed and signed immediately upon approval;
- Providing the tenant with a Trust Account Receipt
- The Bond Lodgement form;
- Entry Condition report;
- A copy of the Body Corporate Bylaws supplied to the tenant/s;
- Entering the tenant details on a database and receipting the bond and first 2 weeks’ rent deposit.
Routine entry and exit inspections/reports
Entry – It’s vital that entry reports are filled out accurately to avoid problems in the future. Each entry is done with tenants present and before they move in. For each item on the list in a report, both your property manager and the tenant will note if it’s clean, undamaged and functioning properly. It’s helpful to use photographs to support what has been written on the form.
Routine inspections – your property manager should perform routine inspections during a tenancy to make sure that your property is in good shape and is being respected by your tenant/s. As a general rule, routine inspections are performed each quarter. You should note that routine inspections cannot be done more frequently than every 3 months, and 7 days’ notice is required for every routine inspection.
Exit – The Exit Condition Report is similar to the entry report, only it is completed on the tenant’s last day of tenancy. Ideally, both the tenant and Property Manager do this together. It is filled out by the tenant/s and given to the property manager, at which point it will be compared to the Entry Condition Report to determine whether the property is in the same condition as the beginning of the tenancy. The property manager then inspects the property and makes any additional notes on the report, where necessary. If the property is deemed to be in the same condition at the end of the tenancy, allowing for general wear and tear, the tenants will receive their bond back. Your property manager will need to send a completed copy of the Exit Condition Report to the tenant within 3 business days.
Give you up-to-date advice on rental management
A good property manager will conduct a comparative market analysis before setting the rental price, which means researching the area/suburbs comparable properties to ensure your property isn’t under-priced or over-priced. They should then conduct regular reviews to ensure that rent is adjusted relative to the market prices at that time.
Pass on rent payments promptly
For a land owner, it’s important that you are receiving your rental payments promptly. Therefore, one of the most important tasks as a property manager is to collect the rent and ensure the correct amount is received on the correct date.
The best way to control the rental payment from tenants is to use a direct debit system. The rent is then debited from their account on the due date. The advantage of this is you are immediately aware if a tenant has no funds and cannot pay their rent on time.
Every property manager should avoid partial rental payments, as it can get tricky to manage.
If a direct debit system is not being used and rent is late, a property manager will issue a written reminder that rent is due.
Provide regular updates to land owners
Your property manager will regularly liaise with you as a land owner to keep you up to date on what is happening with your rental property.
Good advertising is critical in the real estate industry. The goal is to have as many people as possible wanting to move into your property. The more people wanting to live there, the bigger the pool of potential applicants.
They should organise professional photographers who get the photos returned quickly and are ready to upload to various real estate portals within 24 hours. Note that the expense is covered by the owner, the agent is purely responsible for organising the photographs. Agents should also spend the time to write good quality text to accompany the images.
Manage any maintenance/defects/repairs
It’s important that property managers understand tenant’s rights with regards to property maintenance. Repairs deemed to be urgent, such as a burst water pipe, are to be attended to as soon as possible.
For most issues, however, your property manager will have a network of quality and reliable tradespeople. Because property managers are dealing with a higher volume of transactions with these tradespeople, they can often get a more competitive rate and can save you, as a landlord, a lot of money.
Help facilitate the relationship between tenants and Body Corporate
One of the first things your property manager will do is give your tenant a copy of the body corporate by-laws. This is to ensure the tenant is aware of the by-laws and will be in compliance with them during their tenancy. A property manager is not actually obliged to address by-law conventions or ensure compliance with the body corporate by-laws as, under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997, compliance is the responsibility of Body Corporate. As such, there is a direct relationship between the Body Corporate and the tenant; however, a good property manager may address the by-laws with their tenant/s anyway. The Body Corporate reserves the right to communicate directly with tenants and vice versa.
Represent you at tribunal
Your property manager will:
- Lodge the application for tribunal hearing
- Regularly liaise with the owner.
- Compile written evidence for hearing for example breach notice and interactions with the tenant.
- Attend the QCAT hearing at the local court.
Responsible for maintaining records/budget
Your property manager will keep a full and accurate record of rental payments. This ledger must be kept for 7 years. The tenant may ask for a copy of the ledger at any time, and it must be given to them within 7 days.
If you’d like to know more, get in contact with the property managers at Red & Co on 1300 88 73 28 or email eca[email protected].