Stop treating your property manager like your ‘enemy’

The real estate issue is more than a problem for just Landlords and Tenants. Property Managers have become forgotten victims in the crossfire of this crisis; with “good mental health” becoming increasingly harder to maintain.

It’s no secret that people do not like real estate agents. This is a fact that we accepted long, long ago. Sales agents, leasing agents, property managers — it doesn’t matter. Our industry is not generally looked upon with much esteem, and we’re often pigeonholed as some ‘wanker in a suit’ who is too absorbed in their own ego to return your calls or emails.

Granted, this is, unfortunately, true for some of our peers on the sales side of the business (coming from a former residential sales agent); but take a second to really think about your property managers. They are often caring for people who have a genuine want to look after the best interests of their Landlords and Tenants. They are often overworked and underpaid, and the only reason anyone wants to talk to them is to complain. It is a thankless job and we applaud anyone who can survive a long-term career as a property manager.

 

Now I would like to ask readers to step into the mind of a property manager working during the COVID-19 crisis:

 

There’s a strong chance your pay has been reduced to match the Job Keeper payment (approx. $39K per year: a 35-45% cut on industry average). Your portfolio has probably doubled to cover other property managers in your workplace who have lost their jobs. The law relating to real estate keeps changing and it’s hard to understand the new rules, and your phone is constantly ringing while you play the ‘middle-man’ between Tenants and Landlords who can’t come to an agreement on deferrals/waivers and are at each other’s throats.

You carry the emotional weight of not just your own financial problems, but every single Tenant who is seeking relief because they need to explain their own hardship to justify their requests for help. Your boss wants you to chase arrears harder than ever because management fees have dramatically decreased (we only get paid on a percentage of rent collected); and business turnover from sales has taken a nosedive. You’ve also been working in isolation from home without access to your normal tools, and you may also be a parent who needs to help with homeschooling your children.

Property managers are being villainized and it needs to stop.  They are your friends, family, neighbours, members of your church or community organisation, school volunteers: they are people doing their best in a bad situation. Next time you’re on the phone with your property manager, take a moment: recognise that they are doing their best in truly horrible circumstances and remember that they are deserving of the same consideration and kindness you would expect upon yourself.

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