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Property Managers

By 21 February 2011 27

Being about to jump into the world of investment property I would love to hear of peoples experiences ( I know its been done before with regards to specific issues) with property managers.

In particular I would be interested in any experience with LIVEin as we’ve been approached by them and whilst on the surface they seem ok, they seem relatively new with a very small portfolio.

All advice gratefully accepted!

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27 Responses to Property Managers
#1
M0les9:35 am, 21 Feb 11

Their website (http://livein.net.au) is tricky to Google (Really? – they’re a network provider?!) and has a full-page Flash splash.

I’m not in the market and can’t comment on their service, but my on tech-snobbery would prevent me from having anything to do with them.

#2
Grail9:35 am, 21 Feb 11

I am using LiveIN at the moment, but signed up while Tamara was still the principal and only property manager. She seemed to know her stuff, both in terms of the business of Property Management, and in terms of managing customers (both landlords and tenants). The new guy seems over-keen and I have been put off a little by his inappropriate humour, such as sharing industry jokes with customers and being a little too familiar. Not bad enough that I have mentioned it yet, but here it is, with apologies to LiveIN for not telling them first.

I haven’t had any issues with the property so far, so either my tenant is quite happy or LiveIN is not telling me what I need to know.

I haven’t had experience as a landlord with other agencies, but even with the inappropriate humor the folks at LiveIN still “feel” better than the other PM groups.

#3
Gungahlin Al9:44 am, 21 Feb 11

Maloneys: avoid like the plague. My personal opinion, based on our experience with them. Organisations like theirs have helped cement my conviction to never rent again.

#4
troll-sniffer10:05 am, 21 Feb 11

Since 1990 I have managed my own properties and so far I have yet to have a problem with any tenant I have chosen. I did pass it over to a manager at one stage, and while they were good enough, they weren’t as good as me, and cost me valuable income as well!

I did have one tenant who proved to be a problem, but he was a housemate of my original tenant who begged to be able to continue the lease. Despite my reservationsI gave him the benefit of the doubt and lost a few weeks rent… but no agent would have been able to do any better and would probably have been slower on the uptake and cost me even more.

My recommendation is if you can manage a few forms, organise your life to monitor rentals, be responsive to tenants’ legitimate requests and maintenance etc, whack an ad on to Allhomes, meet the prospective tenants, choose the one who presents the best and give it a go. If after a few months you find you’re not as good as you could be, give the property to a manager.

#5
Msl4:21 pm, 21 Feb 11

Get good honest service from Rhonda at Philip Kouvelis, and she is a nice person too.

Was renting from her but I trust she would go above and beyond for landlords.

#6
rosscoact5:26 pm, 21 Feb 11

Badenoch are great, hard nosed and don’t put up with any mularkey.

My time is too valuable to me to spend it looking after tenants and their needs (because I have other income sources not because doing your own property managemnet is a bad thing)

#7
a lot is two words5:54 pm, 21 Feb 11

I used LiveIn when Tamara was the property manager (got sucked in with the promise that she would personally manage my property). I subsequently got flicked to several other agents and received nothing but appalling service after that. It was disappointing. I now manage both of my properties myself.

#8
mandapanda8:29 pm, 25 Feb 11

I second avoiding Maloneys like the plague – everything they did with our property was wrong – like not telling us our tenant was moving out, or paying our rates for us. They even managed to keep screwing us around after we had moved in to the house by changing the address on our water account back to theirs 6 months after we stopped using them. They then had the nerve to blame us (!?!?) saying we should have changed it over in the first place – i have the previous bills to prove we did! In the end they were not worth the money they charged – they even cost us money through interest charges no paying our accounts and letting the tenant practically ruin the gardens and house. They were horrible to deal with from start to finish.

#9
Expat26:44 pm, 01 Apr 11

Following their appalling conduct and active disinterest in our best interests as their client (landlord), we are compelled to advise against engaging them as your property manager. At the start of our relationship with them, they demonstrated good property management skills. However, it appears that they have tried to grow too quick too fast and their client service to landlords is now suffering.

We rented out our property through them just under 2yrs ago when we moved overseas, and returned home last month to not only an appallingly filthy and damaged property, but their appalling conduct and refusal to address damage because they approved full return of bond to tenants – as far as they are concerned ‘its too hard’ and are actively avoiding communication with us. Most disappointing behaviour! Following repeated efforts to remedy the issues, extensively documented, they have now advised they will not do anything further. Which for them will now mean our application to ACAT for disciplinary action in addition to the tenancy dispute application.

Initially we put down the oversights to lack of experience by their new property manager Teagan, however, both Erik and Tamara have not acknowledged the oversights and both are actively not returning our calls or emails. Very disappointing!!

They do not practice what they preach and alarmingly have admitted via email of their current practices regards condition reports etc, which does not even meet standard industry practice.
They should stick to PR / marketing instead of property management, as they are lacking in skills for the latter.

#10
Expat26:46 pm, 01 Apr 11

Earlier comment referred to Livein real estate; not able to edit comment once submitted to replace ‘they’ with ‘Livein’

#11
ErikTyler2:21 pm, 04 Apr 11

My name is Erik Tyler, and I am the owner and Director of LIVEin.

I do not make a habit of entering into discussions such as this, but have been forced to as the contents of ExPat’s post are entirely false, and I am not prepared to sit back and let it go unanswered.

I will address each of ExPat’s comments below;

At the start of our relationship with them, they demonstrated good property management skills. However, it appears that they have tried to grow too quick too fast and their client service to landlords is now suffering. —- Incorrect. In a very small percentage of occasions, owners expectations are far above what can legally be possible in relation to the management of their property.

Unfortunately, you are trying to claim for “fair wear and tear” – some examples of the damages you are claiming include;

1. A loose doorstop, a loose curtain hook, 1 damaged spotlight – these are fair wear and tear, which has been explained to you. The fact that you don’t understand / fail to acknowledge this is out of our control.

Point 2 – you claim that your property was in an appalling state – this again is completely incorrect. The property was professional cleaned by Attention to Detail Cleaning. You moved back in over a month after the professional clean was carried out, and complained that there was “dust on the rubber skirts of the window sill”. Again, we explained that this was due to the 4 week period between professional clean and you moving into the property.

You also mentioned that there were weeds in the garden – we explained, again, that there had been a 4 week period between tenant vacating and yourself moving in, during which time there will be some growth of weeds and, in all fairness, some growth in the lawns. You even reported that the weeds looked “around 2 weeks old”, which falls in line with the period in which the property was vacant.

You claimed that there was 1 pot plant missing – to keep you happy, we offered to pay for replacement of the pot, all we asked was for you to provide a quote / receipt of the pot plant – we are still waiting for your reply.

Your claim that we do not respond is an outright lie – I have gone through all the emails, and you have always had a response – again, I am happy to tender our email records as evidence. We have never, and will never “not acknowledge” emails or phone calls from owners.

In summary, you are expecting the tenants (or LIVEin) to pay for fair wear and tear; there were 2 weeks worth of weeds in the garden (which is fair considering the property was empty for 1 month prior to you moving back in).

Furthermore, you are stating that we are negligent due to there being dust in your house? Again, the property was empty for 1 month. The cleaning company has a guarantee, but they are not prepared to come back to the home, as even they stated that there will be some dust in a house after it being empty for a month. We explained this to you, as did the cleaning company – yet you are now claiming the house was “filthy”?

Finally, I want to make it abundantly clear that the purpose of this reply is not to ignite an argument on RiotACT, it is purely a business owner taking the appropriate, and fair, steps to ensure his business is not badmouthed or defamed without cause.

Regards,

Erik Tyler
Director – LIVEin

#12
georgesgenitals3:09 pm, 04 Apr 11

Property gets very emotional for some people.

I used to have a tenant who would whinge and whine about the most ridiculous things, and carry on like a complete nong. The guy would write the most terrible emails to the property manager, and makes all sorts of baseless threats.

So I kicked his ass out. That property now has a nice young family living there who seem very happy, but I bet the old tenant is spitting poison about me and my property manager to anyone who will listen.

I don’t know who’s right in the little war that seems to be erupting here, but I would caution people that although you get bad behaviour on all sides of the landlord/manager/renter relationship, these things often get blown up way out of proportion.

#13
GrunthosTheFlatulent3:42 pm, 08 Jul 11

My two pence.
When we signed with LiveIN they were as expected (i.e. actually did what we expected of them) but we too were eventually pinballed from one property ‘manager’ to another so much we did not know who to contact and always seemed to get the wrong person.
Issues we have had with them since Erik the Viking took over have been to do with poor (or ZERO) communication regarding what is happening with the property. They [HE] seem to have this “If we think it’s right, we will do it *on your behalf*” attitude which is very, very frustrating.
Our PM of the week is Teagan as well (I guess she’s the office whipping boy/girl) but she is not learning. We actually leave opening their monthly statement for a few days so we can get up the courage to open it as there is ALWAYS something we need to question and clarify and nearly always an unexpected charge that we did not know about (lack of communication again).
In one instance they charged us for listing the property on AllHomes but when we questioned this they could not back it up with and invoice or payment – leaving us $100 out of pocket.

I agree with ‘Grail’ in that Erik is very hard to like – he is smugger than the Cheshire cat. If it was legal to shake some sense into him I would.

So – in brief – IMHO – give LiveIN a pass and go with a bigger agency.

#14
cobberas634:48 pm, 08 Jul 11

GrunthosTheFlatulent said :

My two pence.
When we signed with LiveIN they were as expected (i.e. actually did what we expected of them) but we too were eventually pinballed from one property ‘manager’ to another so much we did not know who to contact and always seemed to get the wrong person.
Issues we have had with them since Erik the Viking took over have been to do with poor (or ZERO) communication regarding what is happening with the property. They [HE] seem to have this “If we think it’s right, we will do it *on your behalf*” attitude which is very, very frustrating.
Our PM of the week is Teagan as well (I guess she’s the office whipping boy/girl) but she is not learning. We actually leave opening their monthly statement for a few days so we can get up the courage to open it as there is ALWAYS something we need to question and clarify and nearly always an unexpected charge that we did not know about (lack of communication again).
In one instance they charged us for listing the property on AllHomes but when we questioned this they could not back it up with and invoice or payment – leaving us $100 out of pocket.

I agree with ‘Grail’ in that Erik is very hard to like – he is smugger than the Cheshire cat. If it was legal to shake some sense into him I would.

So – in brief – IMHO – give LiveIN a pass and go with a bigger agency.

Ditto, 100%. I wouldn’t touch LiveIn again with a barge pole, and wouldn’t recommend them to my worst enemy. The details of how they treated me and my property are elsewhere in RA so I won’t bother reiterating here.

I’ve heard not very good things about LJ Hooker either, from a work colleague, and my personal experience as a tenant of Bertram Ellis isn’t crash hot either. I think the super-big firms can be almost as troublesome as the small hubby-&-wife teams. My recommendation is to go medium…

FWIW I’m now using Bright Partners, which is a medium-sized PM firm based in Manuka. They’ve been my PM for the past 3-4 months and so far I’m quite happy with them. They found an absolutely fabulous tenant for my property – as they said, if you do things right from the start, you save yourself heaps of potential trouble in the long run. Such a relief for me – I was ready to sell the property and give up on investment properties after the LiveIn experience. Their Director Eric (“the Viking” is about right) is nothing short of psycho.

#15
cobberas635:03 pm, 08 Jul 11

Expat2 said :

Following their appalling conduct and active disinterest in our best interests as their client (landlord), we are compelled to advise against engaging them as your property manager. At the start of our relationship with them, they demonstrated good property management skills. However, it appears that they have tried to grow too quick too fast and their client service to landlords is now suffering.

We rented out our property through them just under 2yrs ago when we moved overseas, and returned home last month to not only an appallingly filthy and damaged property, but their appalling conduct and refusal to address damage because they approved full return of bond to tenants – as far as they are concerned ‘its too hard’ and are actively avoiding communication with us. Most disappointing behaviour! Following repeated efforts to remedy the issues, extensively documented, they have now advised they will not do anything further. Which for them will now mean our application to ACAT for disciplinary action in addition to the tenancy dispute application.

Initially we put down the oversights to lack of experience by their new property manager Teagan, however, both Erik and Tamara have not acknowledged the oversights and both are actively not returning our calls or emails. Very disappointing!!

They do not practice what they preach and alarmingly have admitted via email of their current practices regards condition reports etc, which does not even meet standard industry practice.
They should stick to PR / marketing instead of property management, as they are lacking in skills for the latter.

Wow! That wouldn’t be a certain property at the Dickson College end of Duffy Street in Ainslie, would it? If it isn’t, there’s an almost identical story there as well.

Expat2 said :

Following repeated efforts to remedy the issues, extensively documented, they have now advised they will not do anything further. Which for them will now mean our application to ACAT for disciplinary action in addition to the tenancy dispute application.

Interesting. LiveIn “dumped” me too when I tried to hold them to task. It occurs to me that there are so many disgruntled, out-of-pocket property owners across Canberra that a class action might be appropriate.

#16
Wily_Bear6:50 pm, 08 Jul 11

Well Imarty, if you have read Mr Tyler’s comments, and feel comfortable with that approach to client confidentiality, I say knock yourself out and use his company.
I would have thought there were more appropriate channels available to prosecute my argument if I was genuinely concerned about defamatory views.

#17
cam_in_can11:19 pm, 08 Jul 11

Hi imarty, you may be interested in a perspective on LIVEin from a tenant.
Initially they were good to deal with – always calling before setting up inspections and fairly thorough when conducting them without being ridiculous. However they have gone massively downhill and despite their ‘twitter updates’ have become terrible at communicating. First they told tenants that they would be using an ‘online system’ for all repairs and to notify of inspections etc and that tenants were not to contact the agent unless it was an emergency. So when I received an online notification of an inspection for a certain time I duly ensured the place was sparkling and notified work I would be in a little late. No one showed up and when I called the receptionist (Teigan?) said that I was ‘silly’ for relying on their email system as of course they would always write to me advising of an inspection. After this a leak in our bathtub was reported to them and they got back to me with a ‘we’ll see if this needs fixing’. Two weeks later nothing – I called again and they said they would have to check with the owner whether they wanted it fixed. Funnily enough I changed job and ended up working alongside the brother of the owner. The landlord (good bloke btw!) joined his brother and some other co workers for after work drinks one thursday – turns out LIVEin had never contacted him about the bathtub but that he would follow it up for sure! So anyway three days later I get a call from Tamara (who styles herself as owner – not sure whether the erik above or her are actually boss) saying that ‘the owner had finally agreed to fix the leak’!! Latest is missing another inspection (this one a letter) without even calling. The owner knows all this via his brother at work and I don’t think he’ll be staying with LIVEin. Certainly from my perpective as a tenant I would never trust them with my investment property (if I ever buy one!).

#18
26041:09 pm, 09 Jul 11

Anyone buying investment property in Canberra now will be waiting many, many, many years for it to be cashflow-positive. It is like borrowing $400,000 and putting it into a bank account with a negative interest rate that you hope will somehow turn positive. Engaging an ordinary, ten-percent-of-gross-rent property manager just makes the situation worse.

Do yourself a favour and manage the property yourself. Read “Landlording”, by Leigh Robinson.

#19
Mujer5:31 pm, 09 Jul 11

I am another unsatisfied LIVEin landlord. Like everyone previously the relationship started out well with Tamara being the property manager, and then got bounced around from PM to PM. The communication was poor at best. I was never advised of any of the inspections so I could attend.

My in-laws lived down the road from the property and used to walk their dogs past the house daily and would call when the weeds were starting to grow. I would call and ask for it to be followed up and it never was.

It got to the point that we ended up selling the house and lost a fair bit of money.

Then there were the missing inspection reports, once we sold the property in our settlement we were given an inspection report that the tenant submitted when he moved in. We had never seen this report and the amount of damage that the previous tenants left in the house and yet still got their bond back was incredible, and explained why we didn’t get the proper value for the house.

Then there were the unexplained charges on our invoice each month, that when I challenged emails and calls were not returned and just ignored.

And on the times that I have spoken with Erik as Tamara was not there. He was quite rude and aggressive… They won’t last long in Canberra if they continue on the path they are going.

On another note, I was working at a work colleague’s house the other week and she had a rental inspection on that day and the agent was quite thorough and nice… She even had a cow about the build up of leaves in the front yard… My colleague rents through Hodgkinson Real estate. I think they are in Tuggeranong.

#20
drivencrazy12:45 pm, 07 Dec 11

I am another unhappy property owner with LIVEin. Just got tired of spending hours arguing with them whose fault it was. Totally agree with the comments here with that Erik. I came across him as early as when he was selling properties. I have very bad impression of the way he sent out tricky emails to get people put in a price on some property. I thought it did not hurt to sign up with the PM side since Tamara was not bad at the beginning. However, I was later disappointed with similar experiences you’ve mentioned. Letting along the way they deal with property owners, their way of marketing themselves by attacking other property agencies is very unprofessional. Still remember they once sent out some document saying their Tamara was nominated fro the best PM in ACT. It is really a laughing moment to any sensible head.

Thinking about moving to another PM, any suggestions?

#21
coyote8889:34 pm, 18 Nov 12

I’ve rented my properties through LiveIN and have now left. Avoid this agency (they have just sold to PRD and are taking their staff with them) at all costs. I signed up when Tamara (owner) was managing the rentals and she was excellent, however they have since expanded and hired junior agents. Livein have just sold to PRD and I believe they are taking the staff with them.

Problems included: Allowed all three properties to get 1 month behind in rent, didn’t do scheduled inspections as per the contract, I had to continually chase them for updates and to make sure maintenance was conducted, sometimes waiting months on end, dodgy repairs – two of which had to be completely redone, calculated rent rate wrong, two months late in issuing rent increase to tenants, undercharged tenant for a whole year, ordered work at my property without telling me or getting my approval, didn’t manage the lease renewals and let the leases lapse onto periodic. Surely a key component of property management is to manage the lease??? The list goes on. In one year I had 7 different property managers.

Seriously, save yourself time, money and frustration and go somewhere else. All of my tenants have recently moved out citing being sick of the poor property management!!

#22
Treacle10:44 pm, 20 Nov 12

GrunthosTheFlatulent said :

My two pence.
When we signed with LiveIN they were as expected (i.e. actually did what we expected of them) but we too were eventually pinballed from one property ‘manager’ to another so much we did not know who to contact and always seemed to get the wrong person.
Issues we have had with them since Erik the Viking took over have been to do with poor (or ZERO) communication regarding what is happening with the property. They [HE] seem to have this “If we think it’s right, we will do it *on your behalf*” attitude which is very, very frustrating.
Our PM of the week is Teagan as well (I guess she’s the office whipping boy/girl) but she is not learning. We actually leave opening their monthly statement for a few days so we can get up the courage to open it as there is ALWAYS something we need to question and clarify and nearly always an unexpected charge that we did not know about (lack of communication again).
In one instance they charged us for listing the property on AllHomes but when we questioned this they could not back it up with and invoice or payment – leaving us $100 out of pocket.

I agree with ‘Grail’ in that Erik is very hard to like – he is smugger than the Cheshire cat. If it was legal to shake some sense into him I would.

So – in brief – IMHO – give LiveIN a pass and go with a bigger agency.

I question your calling him a Viking, as you might be mixing him up up with another Property Manager with a Germanic sounding name such as Erik Adriaanse who has for many years been in charge here in Canberra of IPG (Independent Property Group).

#23
Grail12:18 pm, 21 Nov 12

Just an update. I attended an inspection with my current LiveIn/PRD PM Jenna. Fortunately I’ve managed to find a really awesome tenant, so the place is basically in the same state it was when I moved out four years ago.

Changing PMs as often as underwear was de rigeur while I was a tenant in various properties: we’d never have the same agent inspecting the place from semester to semester. I’m not sure if there are PM agencies in Canberra who have stable staffing, even salespeople seem to have a half life of about 11 months in this industry.

Tamara is currently away on maternity leave, and while her partner Erik is running the business the staff have been continually assuring me that she’s coming back (though my experience has been that the arrival of a baby often turns parent’s brains to mush and everything changes, suddenly your beer-drinking motorbike-riding friend is sipping lattes and driving a Volkswagen).

While I’ve seen a lot of LiveIn/PRD-bashing on this thread, where are the statements about other property managers? Does anyone have any nice things to say about anyone?

I wonder if perhaps The RiotACT is a self-selecting group of people who have high expectations and are terribly gullible for neatly presented young female sales managers with British accents? :)

#24
pink little birdie12:35 pm, 21 Nov 12

I think Taylors is pretty good. I’m a tenant and they seem to do inspections every 3 months. We have had the same person dealing with us from the begining.

#25
dibs1:07 pm, 21 Nov 12

Jeanette Scholfield of LJ Hooker Belconnen is a VERY good property manager. I have been in the same property for almost 5 years!. sometimes I think I would like to relocate, but I know I would go along way to find a property manager as good!

#26
Snarky1:50 pm, 21 Nov 12

Grail said :

While I’ve seen a lot of LiveIn/PRD-bashing on this thread, where are the statements about other property managers? Does anyone have any nice things to say about anyone?

Since you asked I’ll once again mention a friend Luanne Stapleton at Lovell Residential. Property management is the work she enjoys doing best, and I believe does it quite well.

#27
nyssa19765:36 pm, 21 Nov 12

pink little birdie said :

I think Taylors is pretty good. I’m a tenant and they seem to do inspections every 3 months. We have had the same person dealing with us from the begining.

I’ll think you’ll find that an inspection every 3 months is a violation of the Residential Tenancy Act and your lease. Once every 6 months is commonplace.

I thought I had a great PM until I disagreed with her that 7 weeks without heating this past winter was unacceptable for 2 asthmatics (one being a child)….apparently it was paid to be replaced 5 weeks after the fact but it dragged out another 2 weeks. -6.7 with no insulation and tiny heaters is not the best. And to ask for compensation? How dare we.

I’m over PMs and renting. I’d rather suffer the horror of the land rent scheme than deal with it any longer.

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