The question of safety is again in the spotlight following the alleged stabbing of a Brisbane landlord by his tenant during an argument over bond money.
A Brisbane woman has been charged with murder after she allegedly attacked her landlord during a dispute over a $600 bond payment, according to the Brisbane Times.
Head of property management at LJ Hooker, Amy Sanderson, said property managers’ safety is vital as they routinely deal with matters such as rent collection and maintenance costs, which can lead to tension with tenants.
“Also, routine and final inspections can often be quite heated because people get emotionally invested over these things... you’re talking about something financial or bringing their cleanliness into question,” she told RPM.
Ms Sanderson said property managers who suspect a tenant or landlord is on edge should avoid confronting that person alone.
“Say you’ve got to give a tenant a notice by hand that they need to vacate the premises, you wouldn’t go on your own because that could potentially be a volatile situation that you’re walking into,” she said.
“It’s really important that people in the office know where you are, so allowing other people to access your electronic diary can be helpful.”
Offices should also have a sign-in board so staff members will know when people are expected back, Ms Sanderson said. As an added precaution, property managers are encouraged to develop secret codes to flag that they are in trouble.
“If you’re at a property and you’re feeling uncomfortable, you can actually ring the office and say, ‘I’ve left the purple folder on my desk’, which is code for, ‘someone get down here, there’s a situation’,” she said.
“There are also apps that you can get for your phone that have panic buttons, so if you push the panic button, it will alert whoever you’ve set up in the office and they’ve got GPS tracking so they can come find you.”
[Related: Taking personal safety seriously]