Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How often do you go to Tribunal?

A client of mine commented recently that they had been to a seminar where another property management company was presenting, and they said they never had been to Tenancy Tribunal, and were promoting this as their point of difference. So, my client asked me, "How often do you go to Tribunal?".
Frankly, we go more often than we would like.
Accurately, even once would be more often than we would like.
Also accurately, we do very well at Tenancy Tribunal and have a very good success rate when there are issues that need to be resolved but couldn't be resolved otherwise.
Property managers who don't take tenants to Tribunal are perhaps not looking after their client, the landlords, best interests. I have seen for myself many instances where landlords are dissatisfied with the care shown by tenants, and by proxie, their property managers. Stains on carpets are left as they are, chalked up to 'wear and tear' rather than asking the carpets to be cleaned or paying for the cost of patching these to be paid. This is only one example of many where damage is in excess of 'fair wear and tear' and is the tenants responsibility to put right, but the property manager ducks the confrontation and lets them get away with it. Over time, these things add up, and the property rents for less and less, and attracts lower quality tenants, which further damage the property. Alternatively, the landlord needs to pay for these repairs, which erodes the income they are supposed to be making from the property. One way or another, a property manager who does not hold tenants responsible for their own actions costs the landlord.
The property managers who boast that they do not go to Tribunal will state this is because they are 'just that good' they never have any issues. Ha ha ha ha ha! Yeah right. That would only be the case if they were dealing with machines, not people. People are infinately variable and are motivated by a huge variety of factors. People have changing circumstances, which can sometimes mean they don't live up to their own standards, and may not leave a tenancy as they intended to. Another reason a property manager could boast such is they have so few properties they don't get much experience at all. Or they try to stay out of Tribunal as they know their own actions would not withstand scrutiny. Or, they failed to collect sufficent evidence to prove their case.
We're not afraid of such things. We know our processes and behaviours are robust. We know we have the evidence we need to prove our case. If tenants don't fulfil their obligations, we are not afraid to do what we need to in order to protect our clients.
We do go to Tribunal. It is more often than we would like. But it is not more often than our clients like.

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