Many property managers are so committed to their job they unwittingly put themselves in dangerous situations.
PMs who attend West Coast Property Training self-defence sessions admit their focus on professionalism puts them in harm’s way, according to director Nicole Cooper.
“Even though their gut reaction tells them something's a bit off, instead they listen to their head – and it says ‘If I leave I am going to be in trouble, because this is my job and my job sometimes makes me face these weird situations',” Ms Cooper said.
“One of the key messages we put across is: ‘No, that is not a weird situation – that is a safety threat’.”
Ms Cooper said the self-defence sessions were started late last year after the PM who was brutally attacked by a tenant at a final inspection came forward.
Another prompt was being contacted by a PM who had been the victim of an indecent exposure incident.
Ms Cooper said some PMs make the mistake of thinking they could use their keys or pen as a weapon if they were attacked.
However, attackers can be so aggressive and intimidating that expecting such a response to be effective was unrealistic.
Davey Real Estate director Sara Young said the self-defence session she attended made her realise how much PMs expose themselves to risk every day.
“It made me really think about potential situations that could arise and how best to try to get out of those situations,” Ms Young said.
“And we think these personal situations affect just women, but our male staff are also exposed to risks.”
Ms Young said it became apparent that many people in the industry regularly find themselves in potentially dangerous situations and are not prepared to handle them.
She said safety training is essential, not just for property managers but for all staff.
“I didn’t realise just how much further training I need to do in this area.”
[Related: Agent murder highlights safety concerns]