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PMs leaving profession due to ‘verbal and physical abuse’: REIQ

By Juliet Helmke
29 March 2022 | 12 minute read
Antonia Mercorella 2 reb

For a subset of industry professionals, the last few years have been characterised by “an unrelenting onslaught of challenge after challenge”, according to one of the nation’s peak real estate bodies.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) is drawing attention to the increasingly dire situation facing the property management profession, with the sector recently losing staff in droves.

REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella said property managers had borne the brunt of the issues raised by tightening rental markets, the COVID eviction moratorium, ongoing rental reforms as well as the recent flooding disaster affecting South-East Queensland and northern NSW.

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“This mounting pressure is understandably taking an emotional toll. It’s little wonder that we have seen a wave of resignations amongst this sector,” Ms Mercorella said.

Amid dwindling rental stock and rapidly rising rents, Ms Mercorella said the body had received “concerning reports of property managers regularly encountering verbal abuse and, in some cases, even being physically assaulted while simply doing their job”.

A recent report released by MRI Software found that 60 per cent of property managers in Australia considered dealing with aggressive and abusive owners and tenants their biggest challenge.

“Whilst we understand the strain and frustration tenants are experiencing due to very tight rental conditions, it’s unacceptable that property managers are being subjected to verbal and physical abuse,” Ms Mercorella commented.

REIQ is calling on the government, alongside the industry and wider community, to exercise understanding and provide support for property managers.

Ms Mercorella noted that ensuring the stability of the property management profession was in the government’s best interest.

“Without property managers, the burden would fall to self-represented property owners, who tend to need support to navigate strict and complex residential tenancies laws, which would add to the strain on government-funded resources,” she said.

REIQ property management chapter chair Clint Dowdell-Smith and committee member Rebecca Fogarty echoed the call for there to be more consideration for the challenges of the role.

“With every property available we have 20 tenant applications, which means one nice call of ‘hey you get a new home’ and 19 other calls of ‘sorry your application wasn’t successful’. We have tenants in tears, tenants who are angry and abusive and everything in between,” Ms Fogarty said.

“At the end of the day, property managers are people who are sometimes going through the same experiences and challenges as well. We are looking forward, our chins up, doing the best we can and hopefully get a bit of a breath before we have to train up and get ready for the new legislative requirements coming into effect,” Mr Dowdell-Smith added.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.

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