Property Management Q&A with Nathan Birch and Nicole Keene

By
14/05/2014


Our property management experts are on hand to answer any queries you may have regarding management and maintenance of your investment property. Email your questions to editor@yipmag.com.au

AN UNUSUAL ISSUE
Question: My daughter went to an open house in Sydney recently and told me that the property manager appeared to be drunk. So much so that she was slurring and was hardly able to stand – at 3pm on a weekday. How would you handle a property manager like this; surely these are grounds for immediate termination?

Answer:  In my opinion, if the property manager was under the inf luence of alcohol (and not suffering from a disease or illness that could be mistaken for drunkenness) I would have serious concerns about them representing my property and would seek answers from their employer.

As a property owner employing a property management company, I always recommend meeting the person who is to be responsible for your property. Not only does this give you an opportunity to ask relevant questions and set any terms of service, but it also means you have an opportunity to meet face-to-face – where you usually learn the most about a person and can f lag any concerns.

If you are ever unhappy with the performance or behaviour of your property manager, you are well within your rights to inform their employer and demand action. In this particular case, I would be asking for a new manager, as well as a review of the incumbent’s recent performance, asking for any refunds necessary or a cancellation of my agreement with the provider.

At the end of the day, it is your property and your investment. If you feel like it isn’t being managed in the way that is most beneficial to you, things need to change! 

– Nathan Birch

HANDS ON OR HANDS OFF?
Question: I place great value on my property and so am always keen to ensure it is being well looked after. I have a property manager for my property and he seems to be doing a good job, reporting any issues promptly. However, I worry that I’m not getting the full picture. Would it be unreasonable for me to join the property manager when they conduct an inspection?

Answer: I’ll start by saying that it’s great you care for your property with such passion. Maintaining an active interest in your investment properties is a sign that you will be best positioned to make the most of any opportunities that arise in the future, so well done!

You are well within your rights as the property owner to do inspections, but it is important that you make the property manager aware of your intentions to maximise the benefits of the inspection. Hopefully you know them well and you have a good relationship with them, meaning you can explain the reasons behind your request.

If the property manager feels like you don’t trust them or you are undermining their service levels to you, it may create tension or damage your relationship. I would recommend that you plan the routine inspection with them and find a mutually acceptable time (giving the tenant the required 7 days plus 4 days postage notification period of course). By approaching this collaboratively, you may find that the property manager becomes more open and communicative with you both during and after the inspection.

On the other hand, if after the inspection your fears are confirmed and you are unhappy with the level of service you are receiving from your manager, speak to the property management company about a solution. 

– Nicole Keene

GETTING THE TENANT TO RENEW LEASE
Question: My tenant’s lease is about to expire, but they’ve been great tenants and I’d like them to renew for another 12 months. How can I make a renewal attractive to them without making sacrifices on the rental income?

Answer: It sounds like you have been really lucky and have some great tenants, so I can understand your concern about them leaving. However, if there have been no issues between you during your tenancy, I’m sure they are just as happy with their tenancy at your property.

If your property maintenance has been attentive and issue responses have been timely, you can expect that unless there are mitigating circumstances, they wouldn’t be in any particular rush to leave. In today’s competitive rental market, tenants recognise when they are on to a good thing and rarely get itchy feet unless motivated by specific circumstances.

If you are still concerned, then feel free to grow (or create) your relationship with your tenants. You may find that something as simple as a request for their thoughts on the property and your property management may be enough of a sign that you are a great landlord. This may also give you the opportunity to thank them for being great tenants either by meeting, a letter or even a one-off gift, such as movie tickets or a gift voucher.

When all is said and done, only you know the value of your tenants and you may find that a little effort goes a long way towards maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship. 

– Nathan Birch

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Comments
  • SydBuyer says on 20/05/2015 11:48:43 AM

    Nathan is a fraud and should be investigated for dodgy dealing and valuations on his own properties. he should be fined and shut down. and while their at it they should investigate more in to his dodgy dealing through westpac.

    To many people that know him, either through working for him or having dealings with him have warned it would be best to stay away as his business is not legit

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