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Professionalism out of reach for PMs

04 December 2014 Elyse Perrau

Without more extensive entry-level training and regulations, property management has little hope of being seen as a ‘profession’, say industry leaders.

Without more extensive entry-level training and regulations, property management has little hope of being seen as a ‘profession’, say industry leaders.

MAP Real Estate principal and director Michael Furlong said he doesn’t believe the industry pays its property managers nearly enough for what they are required to do.

“The level of expectation on a property manager today compared to 10 years ago is completely different, and again we still expect, with an agent representative course of a week – maybe a couple of hours a night  that you can go in and start driving a portfolio. It is just ludicrous,” Mr Furlong told Residential Property Manager.

“The industry doesn’t see itself as a profession, therefore the clients don’t see it as a profession, and because we charge low fees, you can’t afford to pay people.

“There are a couple of things that keep property managers on the same line as a Jim’s Mowing, or a garden cleaner or a bar person, and that is the same link of profession. I think this is because we've yet to move across from being a trade or service to a profession.

“And until the legislation or requirements are that we are properly trained, with maybe a degree, or agents are required to get their full licence and continue further development, it won’t happen,” he added.

Mr Furlong said there is no other industry where you would pass on the keys of a $500,000 asset after the person has only completed a one-week course.

“In superannuation, you are heavily regulated through the financial planning industry, with compliance and laws and government legislation you need to know if you have a $500,000 fund,” he said.

“But if you have a $500,000 apartment or house, you are expected to know building compliance, you are expected to know how to deal with mould and water and manage tenancies and people, and a lot of people are young and just starting out.

“That is why we have such poor service deliveries, because people are never trained. They are put in the hot seat from day-one. There isn’t really a cadet program. There should be a mentoring or buddy system, but you just can’t afford it,” he added.

Leading Property Managers of Australia executive director Bob Walters said, in his view, to call a vocation a ‘profession’ requires extensive entry-level requirements for training and education, and extensive requirements for continuing professional development.

“In many parts of Australia, you can become a property manager with only 50 hours of basic real estate education – and no experience requirement,” Mr Walters told Residential Property Manager.

“In many parts of Australia, then is no ongoing professional development requirement for property management personnel. In some states, there is a small requirement.

“Until such time as regulators of the industry introduce point one above, property management could never hope to be called a profession.”

Professionalism out of reach for PMs
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