One company has had enormous success at avoiding confrontations with tenants by outsourcing all final inspections.
For the past 12 months, Trading Places Real Estate in Neutral Bay Sydney has hired Michael Brodie of Sydney Residential Inspection Services to conduct all vacate inspections.
Director at Trading Places Janet Hopwood told Residential Property Manager that she approached Mr Brodie after worrying about her team’s safety.
“All our rental and property management staff are female; I've always been concerned about their safety, particularly at that final stage," she said.
“You can have a perfectly normal relationship with a tenant up until that stage, but when it comes to the last day, when they’ve spent hours cleaning a property and you come in and start picking it to pieces, that’s when tempers fly.”
Mr Brodie has been running his business for 13 years, and claims to have conducted somewhere in the region of 10,000 inspections.
“It’s an independent report, so it’s unbiased. I don’t know any of the tenants. Sometimes property managers can become friends with tenants and will have difficulty pulling things up,” Mr Brodie said.
“I can understand the risk, I’ve had tenants lash out at me in the past, but I’m also an older bloke in my late-40s and I don’t get intimidated that easily.
“I’ve had my share of hostility though. I had one tenant physically lock me inside the home and demand that I sign the bond forms so he could go collect his bond over the counter. I tried to tell him that I couldn’t do that, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. After talking with him for about 15 minutes he finally let me go, and we called the police.”
With a third party inspecting the property, Ms Hopwood claims it allows her property managers to distance themselves from any hostility.
“The thing with Michael is that not only does it remove the ability for the tenant to intimidate our staff, but he doesn’t work for the company," she said.
“At the end of the day, he is just observing and reporting to us. He can tell the tenant to sort it out with the property manager. The whole dynamic is different and they’re much less likely to lash out.”
And while outsourcing may seem expensive, according to Ms Hopwood the expense was negligible.
“You consider the amount of time that a property manager spends out of the office doing that work when they could be doing more productive work, then of course it’s financially viable," she said.
“Especially seeing as some people are suggesting that two property managers should go to an inspection, which is doubling the cost.”