The American psychologist Abraham Maslow said in 1966, “I suppose if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail.” 

To a property manager with the wrong approach, every tenant is a problem. No matter what you do in life, it is your attitude, not the issue that is the real problem. Property investment is a great example. There is always a way to overcome whatever issue may stand in front of you.

Recently, a series of adverts was published by a property management company which clearly indicated their opinions of tenants. It painted them as a necessary evil to property investment; a nail if you will. What followed was inevitable. ?

Uproar from both landlord and tenant communities alike. For a long time property managers have been criticised for their lack of professionalism – these adverts have done nothing to challenge that idea. But not all property managers and property management companies see tenants as a necessary evil. Many excel at providing an outstanding level of service to tenants; a lot of us see tenants as clients just as much as property owners. Don’t agree? Read on and find out why we think this!

A lot of my tenants are business owners, lawyers, doctors, film executives and industry leaders in their field. When I take their applications to property owners with property on the market, I am often met with, “why are they renting?” In other words, “what’s wrong with them?” The honest answer to this question is, nothing. ?

The reality of the situation is, there are a whole world of factors that means someone is renting a property. Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to be in a financial position to own property. There are many however who may be in such a position, but choose to rent so that their children can be in a certain school zone to get a better education. Some choose to rent so that they can bide their time and find their dream property. Others want to rent purely so that they can get to know the city or country that they have just moved to before they put down roots indefinitely.

When we look past the social norms of leaving education, getting a job, getting married and buying a house, we’ll find plenty of fantastically successful people who are renting a property. ??

We know of many CEOs who are tenants and I know countless sports stars, too. When we accept this fact, we start to see that not every tenant is the ‘scarfy student’ that’s going to host enormous parties and rip holes in your walls. There is not something inherently wrong with tenants. They are normal people, going about their every day lives.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Landlords have been bitten often enough for there to be the generic stereotype of a tenant that will damage the property and cause problems. However, in my experience, dealing with tenants is exactly the same as dealing with landlords. At the end of the day, it boils down to having a respect of the person that you are dealing with and their situation. A large majority of tenants are looking only to be respected. Tenants will often stay longer in rental properties if they feel like they are given the opportunity to make it a home, a clear benefit to the property investor. We must provide the benefit of the doubt to tenants that, until they damage our property or do something wrong, they will do everything that they can act as a responsible tenant. With the screening processes in place that modern property management companies employ, it is difficult to see how a poor tenant could even make it into a property.

If a tenant feels as though they are being consistently monitored, it is easy to see how they could believe that they may not be trusted, and this pressure can result in tenants not enjoying living in a property. It is essential to value tenants and listen to their perspectives. ?

The release of the adverts which have been the centre of the controversy could all have been stopped however. Inflammatory advertising material like this does nothing to change the perception that a lot of good quality tenants hold about property managers. Some tenants even refuse to live in a property managed by a property manager and prefer to deal instead with private landlords. If the industry is to survive, it must be regulated.

Regulation of the industry would offer two major benefits in this case. Firstly, the advert in question would never have been released as it would have put the company that released it in risk of being reprimanded financially. Secondly, and probably most importantly however, is that regulation would provide an environment conducive to higher quality of service to both tenants and landlord. Regulation would encourage a set of guidelines to which property managers would have to proactively adopt to provide exceptional service to tenants and landlords alike. While many property managers could argue that they are already adopting these guidelines of their own accord, regulation would offer the opportunity to prevent poor service creeping into the industry.

With a clear need for something to change so that faith can be restored in property managers and tenants alike, regulation would provide the ultimate opportunity to mend any bridges that have been burnt over the years of an unregulated industry. ?

It is clear to see that damaged relationships between tenants and property managers is extremely dangers for the industry. Property managers must accept that we have a duty of care to all of our clients, tenants and landlords alike, and in order to improve the perception of landlords to tenants, and tenants to landlords, we must all pull together and offer the benefit of the doubt to one another assuming that each party is trying to do the right thing.

We are able to mend these relationships by allowing both parties to understand the other’s position and to recommend that landlords and tenants work together to find a mutually beneficial solution to any problem as opposed to one which suits one, but not the other.

If you require any advice on your relationship with your tenant, or your landlord, we would welcome the opportunity to have an obligation free discussion call anytime on 04 381 8604 . 

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