John Bockos, property manager with Blink Property, shares five of the dodgiest practices he has seen that landlords should look out for.
- Leaving keys in a mailbox or with a person who is not authorised to manage the property
This is a big security risk to the owner because the keys can be lost or stolen, resulting in the cost of changing locks or, even worse, internal damage to the property should it be broken into. It is best practice to have the keys held by the managing agent or an authorised representative when controlling access to the property for inspections and tradespeople.
- Not conducting regular inspections
A good property manager will inspect the property at least once a year and provide a written report with photos to the owner. This is because it’s important to keep up to date on the condition of the property and whether it is being maintained in good order by the tenant. By not carrying out these inspections, damage may be incurred which, over time, costs the landlord more.
- Not knowing the fair rent for the area
If a property manager places a property on the market at a higher rent than the market is prepared to pay, the landlord may experience a longer-than-usual vacancy period, which leaves them out of pocket.
- Lying about pets
Not disclosing to the owner that there is a pet living on the property may result in damage to the property or other problems that result in costly repairs – for example, scratches on walls/carpets, treatment for fleas after the tenant moves out, or damage to a garden.
- Slack attitude towards late-paying tenants
A property manager who does not effectively and proactively follow up on a late-paying tenant in a timely manner (i.e. serving all appropriate notices and tribunal applications) can cost a landlord a loss in rent should the tenant continue not paying until possession is given to the landlord.
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