RPM has discovered that more than 75 per cent of Australia’s property managers have felt unsafe during a routine property inspection. How did this alarming statistic come to be? And are PMs really at risk?
Worryingly, nearly 5 per cent of respondents also reported they had ‘frequently’ found themselves feeling uncomfortable while doing their jobs.
This came as no surprise to Karen Herbert, director of Property Management Rescue, who said property managers regularly face “some very, very confronting situations”.
Ms Herbert said such situations arose from tenants being involved in insidious activities, breaking the law or living with mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety.
“It can make it a threatening environment that we can walk into,” she told RPM.
“Often PMs have no idea of what could be on the other side of the door when they enter.”
With this in mind, Ms Herbert urged PMs is to “know your exit strategy” when entering homes.
“When you go in, always know how to get back out again. Know where the back door and the other exit points are, and keep them clear.”
Starr Partners CEO Doug Driscoll agreed, saying the unease felt by property managers was a reflection on our society.
He said workers’ safety and security were paramount. Citing the Suzy Lamplugh tragedy in the UK, Mr Driscoll said it was imperative that Australia acted now to pre-empt something similar happening here.
Ms Lamplugh was a real estate agent who went missing after reportedly showing a client a property in Fulham, southwest London in 1986. She is believed to have been murdered but no one has been tried or convicted, and her body has never been found.
Mr Driscoll and Ms Herbert offered RPM a raft of preventative dos and don’ts for property managers conducting routine inspections.
Here are their combined top five safety-first rules:
- Do use a communal calendar. Everybody in the office must know where everyone else is.
- Do put the office number on speed dial in your mobile phone and have a secret password that will trigger a call to the police straightaway.
- Don’t enter the property if your gut instinct tells you not to. If at any point in time, PMs feel like they are being harassed or they feel uncomfortable, don't enter the home. Trust your intuition.
- Don’t enter a bedroom with someone else in the home, because they can close the door behind you.
- Don’t park in a driveway because somebody could block you in with their car.