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Fraud in Property Management

When the topic of fraud in Property Management comes up, I am instantly reminded of the times I have seen this occur in an agency and feel the pain that is caused by these events. It doesn’t matter if these examples are recent or from well over a decade ago, they are fresh in my mind as if they happened yesterday. Mainly because of the severity and possible repercussions these could have. Fraud is normally premeditated and malicious, therefore highly illegal. I am mainly reminded of these scenarios so clearly because of the hurt the individuals in the agency have felt when they become aware someone they trusted has misplaced this trust and purposely harmed a client and put all of the business stakeholders at risk. Clients put a lot of trust in a Property Management business to act in an appropriate way with their money, and what could be their largest financial asset and the business has a responsibility to have robust systems in place to ensure fraud can not happen and protect their client’s interests.

In this week’s webinar we went through a range of areas fraud can occur in the Property Management business. Below are 10 steps you can easily take to minimise the risk of this occurring in your Property Management business.

  1. All change of bank account details (Creditors, tenants, landlords, Vendors, and Buyers) to be issued in writing and recorded.
  2. Establish a second point of contact for confirming the request. (i.e. phone & email)
  3. Have trust account sensitive change alerts setup, but this isn’t enough.
  4. Check all bank account changes monthly by someone else.
  5. Record a monitor bond refunds.
  6. Ensure unclaimed bonds are returned.
  7. Adjustments need to be audited regularly and sent to the unclaimed trust fund if required.
  8. Record written requests for allocation requests.
  9. Review your suppliers. The LIC to check each creditor as they are being entered.
  10. When doing disbursements, make sure you have a second person checking the payments file/report.

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Reduce Lost Managements

As we visit many Real Estate offices something we regularly review, especially in the Property Management side of the business are hundreds of systems and processes. Businesses establish these to improve their service offering and improve efficiency by making the process crystal clear for their internal team. Everyone can see exactly where their part of the process is and what they need to do. They can also see what happens before/after their part of the process to understand why their part is important in achieving the clients outcome.

Team’s will establish processes for just about every part of the Property Management business from moving a tenant in, to moving a tenant out. One particular area I often find businesses don’t have a procedure for is when a client is at risk of leaving the business which could be avoided. We might find a process for once a client has issued their required notice they will be taking up someone else’s service, but not before.

Setting up a system for an escalation process can help the Property Management team understand what action will be taken by the business once a client is identified as at risk. This will likely start with a senior member of the team becoming aware of the issue and then putting an action plan in place. This can start with more communication to the client to let them know the business is aware of the issue and would like more information to better understand the issue so you can work towards adequately addressing the issues.

By helping the Property Management team know there is a process to follow once a client is at risk you have a better chance of first being made aware of the issue at an earlier stage. This will give the business a better opportunity to try to put more support around the client and reduce the amount of avoidably lost managements.

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Walking in the shoes of your tenants

Walking in the shoes of your tenants

When was the last time you took a look at your process from a tenants point of view? We find many agencies will look for areas within their Property Management system to streamline to improve efficiency, but over time as this occurs more the clients end service might be overlooked in certain arears. Here are three quick arears as an example to be reviewed;

1. Arrears automation

Automating arrears messages with standard language for all might be written with a regular oftener in mind and therefore the wording of the message could possibly be stronger than what is required for a tenant who has recently moved in and they could form an opinion of the business which isn’t correct. Could you take a moment to review any automated messages you have setup to go to tenants about arrears and see if these could be altered for tenants under a certain amount of days, and tenants in arrears over your preferred criteria receive a different message?

2. Move in day

If you haven’t moved in a while, you might forget it can be a rollercoaster of excitement and stress with a different turn each minute. As this is something we can anticipate it can a good place to start to review what the experience is like from a tenants point of view. If there is any opportunity for a less than great experience, we could be starting the relationship off on the wrong foot as the individuals might have just had a curveball thrown at them of removalists losing a box, realising their fridge doesn’t fit, or meeting a less than polite new neighbour! If we then have a slightly poor experience all of the troubles from the move could be taken out on the agency.

3. Rental reviews

You have completed your rental review, and all is well! The market is still in the same position as before. You have discussed the recent property inspections with the owner and they are happy to follow your advice to keep things as they are. Update your records, task complete and move on… Well, have we taken a moment to let the tenant know this has taken place? This is great opportunity to have a positive touch point with your tenant who could be a vocal figure in the local community. If we skip this, then the tenant might assume we haven’t completed any review at all and aren’t on top of things. By quickly communicating the rent review with the tenant also gives you an opportunity to encourage the positive actions of; paying rent on time, looking after the property, being polite to deal with.


Your Property Management training experts

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Onboarding New Clients – Starting out the Landlord relationship can make your life easier or harder

5 Easy elements to make a client feel special

When a new client comes to you, they want to ensure they are being looked after. If they don’t feel as though they are an important client this won’t happen, so ensuring your clients feel important is vital in Property Management for long term clients. Let’s look at several ways we can make our clients feel important.

1. Give them what they want!

What do they want? It’s natural everyone landlord will want to make as much income as possible from their investment. Do we always understand what the client’s expectation of the income level is? If the rent achieve isn’t at their expectation, are you able to show them this is the best result possible in the current market, and emphasise the potential loss of income from prolonged vacancy and make them feel good about the decision they have made in this process?

2. What does good service mean to them?

Do we always understand what they expect good service looks like? Do they prefer phone calls, text messages, emails, voicemails? If the agent signing up the client has done a great job of getting this information, how is it being passed onto the next person in the business, and the person after that?

3. Listen to them

When they are talking to you, really listen.  Make eye contact, close your mouth, and focus on the words they are saying, not on what you want to say the moment they stop talking.  As the saying goes; “two ears, one mouth.”

4. Use their name

If you have a client and your communication to them doesn’t start with their name, it shows you aren’t going to the effort to use their name. To some this won’t matter, but to others this will add to minor grips which make someone else less important.

5. Follow up

If you don’t have a follow up touch point at some stage of your process, you run the risk of a client feeling passed over and forgotten about. You very well may have processes and systems in place to nurture the client after you have stepped out of the picture, but a follow-up touch point will always help to make a client feel special regardless if everything is working, or something is falling short of expectations.


Your Property Management training experts

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Protecting your Fees

Why do your customers pay you anything?

It is important to have multiple answers to this. One very simple, and one very detailed. To start with, a simple answer of a summary of what you provide to them might sound like. “To maximise the return of their investment property, whilst providing a high-level knowledge and service to minimise the difficulties of a residential investment property”.

A detailed answer to this will start by going into the very visible fees you charge for your services;

  • Securing a tenant
  • Completing a lease agreement
  • Rent collection/ disbursement
  • Monthly statements
  • Yearly income/expenditure reports
  • Property condition reports

Then, I would encourage you to answer further in detail on the elements which are more invisible;

  • Local knowledge
  • List of pre-qualified prospective tenants
  • Depth of relationship with quality contractors
  • Support for tenants
  • Multiple rental payment methods
  • Multiple communication methods for all clients
  • Experience and skill set of team members
  • Continual and regular training for team members

As you can quickly see, we could continue writing this list for quite a long time, depending on the individual points of difference your agency has. From here, we then want to know if these points of difference are of any benefit to your clients? If they are (and I’m sure they are), how much benefit are they? This will vary for different clients. This is where we need to get to with every prospective client to understand what they will see as valuable to them in a Property Management agency, then emphasise how you can deliver these services and more.


Your Property Management training experts

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