In today’s show property management expert Corina Bailey from LandlordSpecialists.com.au has a shot at the industry.
Kevin: One of the big hurdles for anyone with an investment property is actually having it managed effectively. Whether that’s meaning that you’re managing it yourself or doing it through an agency, you need to make sure that you’re up to date with all of the legislation because even though it’s under the care of an agent, you are still responsible.
I’m going to find out a little bit more about this because it would appear that despite the fact that there have been a number of inquests and inquiries and changes that should have been made, lots haven’t changed in the industry. Joining me now is Corina Bailey from LandlordSpecialists.com.au, who’s also dubbed as the Landlord Guru.
Corina, thank you for your time today.
Corina: You’re welcome. Thank you.
Kevin: Things haven’t changed all that much?
Corina: No, that’s correct. There’s a lot of gray area, shall we say, within the Residential Tenancy Act, and there’s a lot that landlords do need to be aware of in terms of their rights, responsibilities, and obligations.
Kevin: I guess a lot of landlords would think, “Oh well, i’s managed by a professional agency. I can relax now and not have to worry too much,” in other words, it’s arm’s length. It may be arm’s length, but they’re still responsible for a lot of things.
Corina: Yes, that’s correct. Unfortunately, there are a lot of landlords who falsely believe that by handing their property over to be managed by a property manager, that they are somewhat protected, therefore not liable or not responsible at all.
Kevin: Your role is really to work with landlords, whether they self-manage or go through an agency, to make sure that they’re well and truly educated. What are you seeing as some of the problems that landlords are facing now?
Corina: There are just certain aspects they’re not happy with. They’re not happy with the communication that they’re receiving from their property managers, they’re not happy with the regular inspections that are to be conducted on their properties, and they’re not happy with the documentation and the reporting side of that, as well.
Kevin: You did a survey recently, didn’t you? These are results of that survey?
Corina: Yes. Look, that’s correct. What our landlords want to know is really what is it going to take before the industry gets cleaned up? More often than not, hearing about all those tenant horror stories on “A Current Affair” and the like.
If I can take you back to an incident that occurred on the 19th of September, 2012, there was a death of a baby in Queensland after her father had fallen through a deck that required repair and wasn’t picked up during a regular inspection. Consequently, the father dropped the baby and the baby was killed.
It’s these sorts of horror stories that are really, really making landlords sit up, and they’re now standing up to have some things changed. What we’re trying to do here is get the industry to become more accountable. Currently, there’s no industry standard with regards to inspections, there’s no auditing process, there’s no guidelines about what is and isn’t required when doing an inspection, let alone the fact that there are no training programs in place.
Kevin: I was really surprised to read the results of your research where you actually spoke to a number of property managers and asked them some key questions. Some of their responses were actually quite shocking.
Corina: When we interviewed property managers, we explained that our landlords are saying that they’re not happy in this area, and when I asked, “Why don’t you, as a property manager, see inspections as being important enough to have a professionally trained and suitably qualified inspector perform these?” the responses amazed me.
A handful of them saw it as a part of their job. Passing that information on to our landlords and they’re astounded that a $600,000 investment property is only valued at around about $10. What sort of a quality inspection can somebody do for $10? Literally, they would just walk in and have a quick look around and walk out.
Landlords are telling us that they’re not receiving reports. They’re not getting any photographs, and if they do, it’s very limited. Photographs are blurry. This is really important information that landlords need and property managers need because at the end of the tenancy, it’s all of these reports that factor into how the bond refund fund is distributed at the end of the tenancy.
Kevin: How would you suggest that someone who’s looking to find a good property manager actually knows that they’re actually dealing with a good one?
Corina: Landlords need to insist that regular communication takes place with their property manager, that the property manager is ideally doing quarterly inspections, that inspections are thorough, and that the landlord receives a report – a comprehensive detailed report and lots of photographs, because there are lots of things that occur over the duration of the tenancy – fair wear and tear particularly – that landlords need to factor into their budget, whether they need to be looking at getting carpet replaced and the property repainted. Landlords are wanting to make their tenants happy, and happy tenants means they stay long term and they look after our investment properties.
Kevin: Okay. If you want to get a bit more information, you can certainly do that at the website. It’s a great website, called LandlordSpecialists.com.au. I have been talking to the Landlord Guru herself, Corina Bailey.
Corina, thank you for your time.
Corina: You’re welcome. Thank you, Kevin.