Fatal accident ignites a call to action

Stacey Moseley

A leading industry trainer has called for action from property managers after the death of a seven-week old baby during an accident at a rental property.

Stacey Holt, director of Real Estate Excellence Academy believes the tragedy is a wake-up call to property managers and licensees.

“It is a tragedy that should never happen again,” she told Real Estate Business.

“Property managers need to be empowered by their licensees to make the right call in terms of safety.”

In May 2010 Isabella Diefenbach died in hospital after her father dropped her when his foot went through a piece of rotten wood at their rented home in Yeppoon, Queensland.

According to an investigation by Coroner Annette Hennessy the Diefenbachs had reported the rotten wood to the Queensland-based letting agents on at least four occasions prior to Isabella's death.

Last week Real Estate Business reported on Ms Hennessy's 60-page coroner’s report that outlined 13 recommendations involving safe practice.

From the coroner’s report Ms Holt has already found over 60 agency practices that she believes should be implemented.

“There is a massive review needed in our industry, especially of safe practice,” she said.

“However, the first two steps every property manager and licensee should do is to ensure their routine inspections are kept up to date. Due to human error and incorrect data entry it is not uncommon for inspections to be forgotten.

“Secondly, review the maintenance reports and deal with them promptly, especially to do with stairs and decks.

“Also, review contractors appointment forms. It is the job of the agency to ensure the tradesman are qualified to perform the task and are insured.

“Finally, if an owner wants to organise their own tradesman, in writing make it clear to them that that contractor needs to have to show written qualifications.

“If the land lord is not willing to meet these requirements than it should be the job of the property manager, with the unwavering support of the licensee, to forfeit that property.

“If they will not allow you to ensure the safety of your tenants then you don’t want them on your books.”

Ms Holt will be running training sessions on this issue. For more information visit the Real Estate Excellence Academy website.

Stacey Moseley

A leading industry trainer has called for action from property managers after the death of a seven-week old baby during an accident at a rental property.

Stacey Holt, director of Real Estate Excellence Academy believes the tragedy is a wake-up call to property managers and licensees.

“It is a tragedy that should never happen again,” she told Real Estate Business.

“Property managers need to be empowered by their licensees to make the right call in terms of safety.”

In May 2010 Isabella Diefenbach died in hospital after her father dropped her when his foot went through a piece of rotten wood at their rented home in Yeppoon, Queensland.

According to an investigation by Coroner Annette Hennessy the Diefenbachs had reported the rotten wood to the Queensland-based letting agents on at least four occasions prior to Isabella's death.

Last week Real Estate Business reported on Ms Hennessy's 60-page coroner’s report that outlined 13 recommendations involving safe practice.

From the coroner’s report Ms Holt has already found over 60 agency practices that she believes should be implemented.

“There is a massive review needed in our industry, especially of safe practice,” she said.

“However, the first two steps every property manager and licensee should do is to ensure their routine inspections are kept up to date. Due to human error and incorrect data entry it is not uncommon for inspections to be forgotten.

“Secondly, review the maintenance reports and deal with them promptly, especially to do with stairs and decks.

“Also, review contractors appointment forms. It is the job of the agency to ensure the tradesman are qualified to perform the task and are insured.

“Finally, if an owner wants to organise their own tradesman, in writing make it clear to them that that contractor needs to have to show written qualifications.

“If the land lord is not willing to meet these requirements than it should be the job of the property manager, with the unwavering support of the licensee, to forfeit that property.

“If they will not allow you to ensure the safety of your tenants then you don’t want them on your books.”

Ms Holt will be running training sessions on this issue. For more information visit the Real Estate Excellence Academy website.

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