This week in Perth, a property manager was severely beaten. Her bashing was so severe that she has had to undergo surgery. Here are some tips to make sure it doesn't happen to you.
Blogger: Sara Young, residential property manager, Realmark
Last year, with amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act, tenants were given the right to be present on final bond inspections. As you can imagine, these are often heated and emotional inspections.
I would encourage you all to take a few steps to help minimise the risk of this happening to you or your staff:
- Invest in personal panic alarms for your team. These cost approximately $10 from Dick Smith http://www.dicksmith.com.au/security/quell-personal-alarm-dsau-l7202
- Know where your team are. Have them share their diaries and ensure their whereabouts are in the diary. Have them detail exactly where they will be, rather than just summarising (eg. addresses not just inspections)
- If conducting home opens, have them write in their diaries who they will be meeting, with contact details. Or, invest in a system such as Inspect Real Estate, which records attendees' details and is accessible to people at the office. This practice is a lot safer than simply advertising home opens.
- Educate your team for when they're at the property. Park in the drive or in an open area where they can clearly see who is around. When in the property, have people walk ahead of them and leave a clear escape route.
- If dealing with difficult people, encourage staff to avoid conflict and direct the person to either a public place or back to the office. This can be difficult at final inspections, so saying you need to discuss all matters with the owner, could buy some space.
- Training in conflict resolution may help staff keep calm in heated situations, allowing them to have clearer thinking to get out of threatening situations.
- Most importantly, if they feel uneasy, don’t let them go to the property alone. If your team is already at the property and feels uneasy, have them call the office and then leave.
Whilst these types of incidents are rare, the outcome can not always be prevented, and while we don’t want to spark panic, it is important risk is minimised.
Sara Young is the corporate director of property management at Realmark.
Sara started her career in property management over 10 years ago and today advises and supports a team across 14 offices.
In 2006 Sara won the inaugural REIWA Award for Excellence in Property Management. She went on to achieve this again in 2012. These awards saw her represent WA in the National Awards for Excellence.
Sara strives to find innovative ways to streamline property management practice, enabling property managers to work smarter not harder. Sara is also proud to have helped Realmark create new innovative service practices, resulting in Realmark winning two 2013 Australian Business Awards as well as seeing Realmark secure a place in BRW's 2013 Top 50 Most Innovative Australian Companies.
Sara also has a passion for her team and was proud to train and mentor the 2013 Australian Real Estate Awards Property Management Rookie of the Year.