Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Should you Spy on your Property Manager?

How well are they doing their job? Should you get a friend to ring to ask about renting your property and see how they answer the phone?

If you do, make sure they have a convincing back-story. A good property manager will ask them questions to see if they are suitable for the property, and a genuine applicant. If they say ‘hey stranger, whoever you are, just go around and peer in the windows, I’m sure it will be fine, I trust you’, or worse ‘come grab a key, show yourself through’, your property is not in good hands. The security of your property is important. Even if you think it is empty with nothing to steal, a thief will find something worth taking, and always the cost of setting that right is greater than any street value.

A good property manager will find out who will be living in the property. Them and their fifteen closest mates in your 3 bedroom property? If so, they should be gently told it is unsuitable for them. Why are they moving? Because they were evicted? If so, a good property manager will tell them speaking to their former landlord is an essential part of the letting process, perhaps they would like to explain the situation before the landlord is called. Why do they want to move into the area? People with connections to an area are more likely to be long-term tenants than those who are ‘just trying it out’. Are they working at the moment? While staying within the confines of the Human Rights Act, a good property manager should find out if they can pay the rent and their other bills. You are not a charity shelter. Rent should not be more than one third of their income. More than this, people struggle to pay week after week. This question also finds out if they will be working from home. Some properties just don’t suit home industry.

So, if you do have a friend snoop, make sure they are prepared to answer these questions, and convincingly. Great property managers have very well developed ‘spidey senses’ and can tell when someone is fibbing. Don’t get mud on your face by trying this and failing. You won’t build a relationship with your property manager. And frankly, if you don’t trust them, why did you hire them? Move on, they will thank you for it.

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