A Tenant’s Frustration

How property managers can increase the chances of finding a tenant

With the way the market is at the moment many Property Management departments are struggling to show all of the vacant properties because they don’t have the time and resources given the number of empty properties they have. I question the methodology that some offices are using.

For example I am currently looking for a new rental property for myself as the house we are living in at the moment is about to be knocked over. I am frustrated dealing with property managers and arranging times to visit houses. It seems many offices are more interested in arranging a time that suits their schedule and business hours rather than what suits a prospective tenant. A big focus in property management these days is using technology to save time and this technology is promoted to owners as of benefit to the owner but I would suggest the benefit is more for the property manager than the owner despite the fact that owners are provided with detailed reports of how the leasing process is going by this technology.

Currently a typical scenario might be a property is advertised for lease and it is then up to the tenant to register their interest and depending on the property management policy there may or may not be a home open advertised. The tenant’s enquiry is automatically dealt with by a database. Some offices use a system whereby a home open time is not advertised until the tenant registers their interest. Therefore it is left to the tenant to make the first move, register their interest, receive acknowledgement of their interest, and then wait for the property manager to set a home open time once they have had several people register. Once a home open time is set the database sends out an automatic email to the registered interested parties inviting them to agree to attend. Often these home opens are set at a time in business hours for example Thursday at 1 PM that may not be particularly convenient for the prospective tenant. I suggest by using this method property managers are compounding the problem of vacant properties and in doing so are not looking after the landlord’s interest or anybody’s interest.

At one property that I have had an interest in viewing, I registered my interest, waited four days for a response only to receive an invitation for a viewing during business hours at an inconvenient time. It was then up to me to click on a link to register that this time was not suitable, to which the database replied that I would be contacted when another home open date had been set which I guess would have again been at a time during business hours convenient for the property manager. No contact with a human and no effort on the part of the property manager to find out what time was convenient for me.

So the moral of the story is whilst technology can be a valuable tool, what really counts is having people available to show properties at a time convenient to prospective tenants such as after hours on weekdays and weekends. And to also have home opens clearly advertised and set in order to make it easy for tenants to attend without necessarily having to register and/or attend on impulse.

For example we recently had a unit coming up for vacancy within a block of 30 other units with six units being advertised at the same time with six signboards at the front of the complex. We advertised our property with a home open on a Saturday morning, tenants were not required to register and on the first Saturday only one person attended the home open. None of the other six units had home opens advertised for that day. The one person that attended required urgent accommodation and signed a lease in a matter of days at a price greater than the asking price and at a higher price than any of the other units advertised. (The tenant offered a higher price because he was only looking for a six month lease and the owner preferred a 12 month lease and the extra amount was offered as compensation). Therefore our unit was leased well before any of the other units despite them having been on the market for several weeks beforehand and remained vacant for several weeks after.

Written by Sean Lowrey, Tango Property Managers