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Ask RiotACT: Property management services in Canberra

By skeet3997 19 March 2017 5

Ask RiotACT

I recently returned to Canberra after three years away and have found my property looking very neglected and in disrepair, which was not the condition I left it in. Rightly or wrongly I had expected that the fees I have been paying for professional property management services (recently changed names and I wonder why?) would mean that I could be confident my investment would be well maintained and my return on this investment (i.e. rental income) would be efficiently managed. Just to be clear, by ‘efficiently managed’ I mean that only any required repairs would be conducted and in a timely manner, and that value for money would be ensured when sourcing these necessary works and repairs. Again not the case.

With a burgeoning property investment market, how is it that this industry does not yet have standards to be held to account like so many other industries. It seems with very little knowledge or training anyone can be employed in the property management business, I understand you have to start somewhere, alas the unsupervised results can be abysmal. In my example above, the business in question does appear to have a whole lot of cumulative industry knowledge, but this does not seem to translate where it matters, that is with the employees tasked doing the day-to-day services whose poor management skills have the ability to translate into significant negative impact for owners. In all fairness, it is the business managers in these organisations that should really be held accountable, and in turn the business principals, for the apparently inadequate supervision and the lack of leadership and mentoring they provide to their respective teams.

Leaves my question though; where are the Standards that should be holding the industry to account for the services provided by its members? It’s about time the industry be regulated in ways that ensure minimum standards are consistently met, and in the interests of transparency and accountability, that agencies be rated on their property management performance. These ratings should then be made readily and easily accessible to the public. Maybe by taking action in this way the so-called the less scrupulous operators that bring the rest of the industry into disrepute would be forced to lift their game or potentially risk going out of business.

Particularly interested to be enlightened by the thoughts and experiences of others?

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5 Responses to
Ask RiotACT: Property management services in Canberra
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northsidetops 9:09 pm 28 Mar 18

my sister started using Block Real Estate, they are based in Gungahlin and are doing a pretty good job

Hoppingmad 7:17 am 09 Dec 17

Just seen this post, but interested as we are currently waging legal action against the property managers/owner/tenants of the property next door to us – due to their inability to live according to the terms of their agreement, which seems to mean nothing.

We have become aware that the whole property management area in the ACT is severely lacking in rigour and agents can just flout their own terms and conditions, as can the tenants.

To cut a long story short, we got no traction with tenants or agent for two years with this tenant so have now threatened to sue to owner. It’s only now, surprise surprise, that the agent is paying attention. They are a disgrace. I suspect the owner never knew anything about the previous two years of complaints. We are owners of a holiday rental down the coast so we know what it’s like to have to be accountable for a remote property. Agencies in Canberra take the money and basically run. This is not the first tenant we have had issues with in this property. Because it is not a modern house and I suspect things are just left to effectively rot, the lower rent will always attract the type of people you don’t want next door.

Michael 5:10 pm 03 Sep 17

I have been renting out my house while I have been interstate and was sent a ‘form’ email from my previous property manager (Bolton and Co) seeking interest from property investors in being property managers – they certainly seem to not have the staff that they need at that agency and are casting a wide net for new recruits.

I also have been disappointed with the service provided by Bolton and Co and have recently moved to another property manager and wonder whether if the issue is inexperienced staff. They often misunderstood or did not follow my instructions and this ended up costing me money (for example they hired tradesmen when I asked them for quotes). Also after my tenant did a small amount of damage to the cook-top after dropping a mug on it, they refused to hold any bond. To refuse a reasonable instruction from a client is a very strange way to behave!

I believe there are regulations that property manager/real estate agents need to follow and complaints can be made via the Office of Regulatory Services.

anonymoose1 12:41 am 20 Mar 17

I completely recommend Element Property Services. I always deal with the same person (the owner) who personally takes care of my property. I don’t think there are any others on her team actually. Dealings are always completely professional with routine inspections, maintenance taken care of and statements issued every month and at tax time. So nice to deal with a small local business who does things properly rather than a big chain who changes over their inexperienced interns every 6 months. Couldn’t recommend Element Property Services any more highly.

K_c24 1:45 pm 19 Mar 17

As a renter, I was always shocked by the fact that I never spoke to the same person whenever I had to make contact with my agent. And the same person never attended annual inspections and no one ever spent more than 5 minutes “inspecting” – I was always told “so and so no longer works here, zyz is your PM now”. You only have to search for admin roles to see how many available jobs there are in the PM field. It’s a massive churn industry and no one lasts long. I suspect this is due to a combination of terrible pay/incentives and the fact that staff are effectively working in a complaints department, receiving nothing but negative communication, day in, day out. It would grate on even the most optimistic among us.

As far as standards go, I think the only thing landlords can hope for is the establishment of a self regulating Industry that comes about by sheer demand – i.e. the current unit boom. The counter point to this is that landlords also need to take the lead in ensuring they hold their agents accountable…But the quality of some rental places that are on the market would suggest there are a large number of LL who simply don’t care and know all to well that the right (most desperate?) tenant will eventually settle for their less than adequate dwelling.

As a landlord, I have my properties with Distinct Property Management in Fyshwick. They only do property management (so PM isn’t taking a backseat to property sales like most organisations). They have been very good although the quality is maybe starting to slip as the business grows and the owners have less input into the day to day operations. And perhaps that is also the issue; unless you have someone who is as equally invested (I.e. they own the PM business) in ensuring your property is adequately maintained and managed, then you’ll never receive as good a service than if you just went it alone.

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