With property managers' safety increasingly important in this day and age, a property management trainer has said there should be more discussion around tracking devices for PMs' whereabouts.
The comments come after a real estate agency director said the recent discovery of a missing real estate agent in the US is a timely reminder for property managers and agents to be vigilant at all times.
There have been three significant deaths in Australia's real estate industry since 1997 - a property manager in Sydney, a property manager in Brisbane and a sales agent in Melbourne.
Leading Property Managers of Australia (LPMA) director Darren Hunter said if a property manager disappears or is in trouble, more than 50 per cent of the time offices would not know where they are.
“When an issue or serious situation arises where an office needs to know where that property manager is right now, less than 10 per cent of offices may be able to get an exact location quickly,” he told Residential Property Manager.
“Therefore tracking devices, whether used through the ‘Find my iPhone’ app and the property manager has already given permission for the office to have access to their details should they need them in extreme safety situations is possibly advisable.
“Or there are other tracking devices available, where a tracking device can perhaps be connected to a PM's car keys, or perhaps put in their bag or on their person, and the agreement is the tracking devices are only used in extreme situations where the office needs to know the location of a property manager,” he added.
Mr Hunter said the 'Find my iPhone' app should be accurate to around 20-30 metres and should track accurately to the address of a property where a property manager may be located at any time.
“The need to know where property managers are at any particular time is extremely necessary,” he said.
“It needs to be discussed and it needs to be considered it needs to be discussed between management and the property manager and weighed up against security concerns and privacy concerns.
“Quite frankly, any property manager knows that if they are doing a good job and doing the right thing, they shouldn’t have a problem with the office tracking them for safety and security reasons.
“Any other method, whether it is checking diaries or calling in every half an hour, is a reasonable-to-bad second best,” he added.
Also speaking to Residential Property Manager, TNQ Rentals director and property management trainer Malcolm Riley said he tracks his staff’s work phones to avoid any serious safety issues.
“We can track our staff’s phones obviously they are work phones and not private phones – so we don’t track our staff out of office hours,” he said.
“Over the years I have had people with guns and knives and threats, and windows smashed because we are a very unique profession in that we go into people’s homes.”