We’ve already looked at the importance of being a good manager and gaining respect when you’re managing a property. There’s another vital ingredient in effective property management: and that is, to be decisive.
To look at why being decisive is so important, we’ll look at an example of how indecision can cost you money.
An example of how indecision in property management can cost you money
We were managing one unit in a block of four for a period of 12 years. During these 12 years, we had two successful tenancies, each for a period of six years.
An adjoining unit in the block had approximately 12 tenancies in that same 12-year period. That unit was to a similar good standard as ours, both inside and out, yet the tenant turnover rate was completely different.
Why was the tenant turnover rate so different? The core reason was that the landlord of the other unit wasn’t able to make a decision when tenant problems arose. The landlord would visit the tenant; listen to their concerns; and attempt to calm any conflict. Both the tenant and the landlord would part company happy with the outcome of the meeting. However, the tenant would always end up frustrated because a decision had not been made by the landlord. We know that this is the case, as these frustrated tenants often approached us on site to highlight their concerns about their tenancy!
In the end, the exasperated tenants would move on, no doubt to find a better-managed property where any concerns would be acted upon.
Acting on concerns promptly is vital
It is crucial that any concerns are acted upon promptly by the landlord. Even though the issue may be a small one, it can still be an issue that’s important to the tenant. So if that small issue isn’t acted upon, it can start to affect the whole landlord/tenant relationship, from the tenant’s perspective.
Once things start sliding down this slippery slope of dissatisfaction, the tenant loses respect for the landlord. That can either mean problems later on in the tenancy, or that the tenant will move on.
And the reason the tenant is moving on isn’t because a decision wasn’t made in their favour, but because no decision was made at all. Or the decision took a long, long time to make. Therefore this ends up costing the property owner, simply because a problem wasn’t dealt with properly.
Deal with problems as soon as they occur
Delaying dealing with problems can lead to other issues, and many property managers can be tempted to deal with these at the end of the tenancy. For example, when damage occurs, tenants will often request, “Can we leave this to be deducted from the bond at the end of the tenancy?”
The answer to this should always be “No”! Damage should always be acted upon straight away, as the tenant’s motivation to take responsibility is at its greatest when they have the need to maintain their tenancy. Thus the landlord’s likelihood of success in addressing wine stains on the carpet, or knife cuts to the kitchen bench, is greatest during the term of the tenancy. No matter how good a tenant has been, their motivation for maintaining a good working relationship with the landlord is at its lowest on the week before (or final day) of the tenancy. Therefore addressing long-standing issues of repair or damage on the day of the bond sign-off are more likely to create disagreement on the bond refund amount, and elevate the need for mediation or a tribunal hearing.
Whether it’s a $50 or $350 problem, ensure the tenant compensates you for it now, by taking immediate and decisive action! Failing to be decisive can cost you dearly in numerous ways, be it damage or a high tenancy-turnover rate.
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