Property managers will miss out on important training units under the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) proposal on national licensing, according to the CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).
Speaking at First National's 2013 Property Management Conference in Sydney last week, Amanda Lynch said property management was a specialist role that required training in specific competencies.
“Property managers are required to manage tenants through a long-term relationship and at times work through difficult situations particularly when rental arrears and damaged property is concerned," she said to the crowd.
“Despite all this, the Regulatory Impact Statement suggests that agents’ representatives only undertake four units. This is the same number of units required in New South Wales, but it’s much less than the requirements in the ACT, seven units in QLD and WA.
“Furthermore, it is significantly less than 17 units in SA and the 24 units in the Northern Territory. It’s a lot less than the 18 units that we’re arguing are needed for property managers.”
Ms Lynch said property manager would end up missing out on important units such as identifying legal and ethical requirements, monitoring and managing leases, learning how to present at tribunals, and preparing and presenting reports.
“I’d say that these are very important units of competency that shouldn’t be neglected.”
Another problem with the proposal was that property managers with existing competencies in the courses would need to compete against those who weren’t as qualified.
“This has got to be a negative for the reputation of our industry,” Ms Lynch said.
“We believe that it’s in the consumer’s interest that skills are front-ended, that employees have appropriate theoretical knowledge early rather than picking it up as their career progresses.
“It will lead to fewer errors. Those errors can result in costs to the consumer and cost to business.”
Ms Lynch said she was also concerned by the removal of age requirements for real estate agents as it meant anyone from the age of 14 could become an agent.
“A property manager has a great deal of trust invested in them and it could be argued that someone who isn’t an adult shouldn’t be handed this responsibility for representing property worth potentially in the millions of dollars or someone’s entire retirement savings.
She called on property managers to join the REIA in putting pressure on the state governments.
“There’s much work to be done in terms of maintaining industry standards and professionalism in the face of a national push to dumb down our industry," she said.