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Top 7 Tips For Finding A Professional Property Manager

If you own an investment property and are on the lookout for a professional property manager, there are some key factors you should consider before signing on the dotted line.

After all, property managers take care of absolutely everything relating to your rental, from the initial marketing and open inspections, through to managing the ongoing tenancy, answering queries, receiving rental payments, monitoring maintenance and more.

Choosing a great property manager will help you attract the very best renters, maximize your rental income and enhance the overall value of your investment, whilst also minimizing your exposure to risk.

So, without further ado, here are my top 7 tips for finding a professional property manager:


  1. Compare Responsiveness

Prompt responses and excellent communication skills are key to a positive property management experience.

If you are waiting over a week for a reply to an email or your property manager isn’t picking up the phone this can be extremely frustrating. A great property manager should be proactive and always have their mobile phone on hand, even while on the go.

When you initially reach out to a property management company, try and keep a record of how long they take to get back to you. If they are not meeting your expectations throughout the signup process, this usually is not a good sign.


  1. Ensure Legal & Compliance Expertise

A reputable property manager needs to have an in-depth understanding of legal and compliance relating to your investment.

In Victoria complying with the Residential Tenancies Act is vital to ensuring property owners meet their obligations and avoid severe penalties. Grounds for terminating a tenant’s lease and information on a properties minimum safety standards are just some examples of what is covered by the Act.


  1. Look For Local Market Knowledge

Market knowledge is an area that is often overlooked. Does this real estate agent lease other properties in the area?

Are they utilizing property data reports to determine the optimal rental amount for your investment? Choosing a property manager with the right tools and local knowledge will minimize vacancy and ensure you are achieving the maximum return.


  1. Read Client Feedback

Online customer reviews are a quick and straightforward way to identify a professional property manager. Reading experiences from both property owners and tenants will give you a strong indication of what to expect once you hand your property over.


  1. Discuss Marketing

Property marketing determines how many tenants your property reaches and ultimately whether you receive optimal rental returns.

Make sure to check the property managers photography, if they include floorplans, appear on all the top listing websites and whether they invest in email or social media marketing.

Another form of marketing that has accelerated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is online virtual property tours. During periods of lockdown renters could inspect the property from the comfort of their own home.

When open inspections resumed, virtual tours continued to help qualify renters before they opted to see the property in person. Request a marketing pack and make a note of the marketing costs so you can compare level of exposure vs expenses.


  1. Check Fees

Fees are an important consideration and should be assessed along with the expertise and service standards.
The average fee for property management services in Melbourne is currently between 6% and 8% of all rental income, plus GST.

As fees are a regular expense it is a good idea to compare the local market and check any additional costs when the property needs to be advertised.

Be wary of agents pitching extremely low fees as they may not invest time ensuring your property is adequately taken care of and in some circumstances outsource work to third parties overseas.


  1. Ask Questions

Are you reaching out to new property managers right now?

Here are some questions you might like to ask when making your initial inquiry:

  • How many years of experience do you have as a property manager?
  • What training and development programs do team members participate in to ensure they are up to date with laws and regulations?
  • What is the occupancy/vacancy rates for properties under your management?
  • How many inspections will your team conduct each year?
  • Can you provide any references from previous clients?
  • What is the average time on market for your rental properties in the current market?

So those were my top 7 tips for choosing a professional property management service provider.

By engaging a qualified property manager, like our team at The Hopkins Group, you can rest easy knowing your property is in safe hands.

Impact of latest changes to Victoria’s rental laws on landlords

After much discussion and many submissions from the Victorian community, the Residential Tenancies Act has seen the largest rental changes in more than two decades.

As of 29 March 2021, 132 reforms and law changes have come into effect clarifying the rights and responsibilities of the renters (previously tenants) and rental providers (previously landlords). These changes have an impact through every stage of the rental process – from before a rental agreement is even signed right through to after the agreement ends. In this blog, I’ll touch on the key reforms impacting residential rental providers today, but a full list of changes are available on the Consumer Affairs website, if you’re interested. Let’s jump right in…

Terminology changes

The new residential tenancy laws in Victoria refer to landlords as rental providers, tenants as renters, tenancy agreements as rental agreements and rooming house owners as rooming house operators.

Making modifications

Renters now have the flexibility to make prescribed modifications to the rental property, without the rental providers consent and rental providers cannot unreasonably refuse consent to some modifications. Of course, damages as a result of modifications (that are not considered fair wear and tear) will need to be remedied by renters, however things like painting walls and affixing picture hooks are fair game.

Renting with pets

This change took the lead, coming in earlier than expected in March 2020 – our furry friends are hear to stay with renters given the green light to bring pets into the rental with consent. However, note while consent must be applied for, a rental provider cannot unreasonably refuse a request to keep a pet. If there’s reasonable grounds to refuse permission a rental provider can apply to VCAT for an order.

Disclosure statements

Rental providers must now disclose important information to the renters before they sign a rental
agreement. This disclosure statement needs to be filled out each time a new rental agreement is signed and/or renewed.

Consumer Affairs disclosure requirements are extremely detailed series of questions that the rental provider must submit with each leased signed. This important document will be sent directly to the rental provider to ensure they comply with legislation and all relevant items are disclosed to the renter.

Rental Properties – Minimum standards

Rental providers must also make sure the rental property meets a set list of minimum standards on or before the day a renter moves in.

If the property does not meet minimum standards renters can end their rental agreement before moving in or they can request an urgent repair.

The minimum standards apply to rental agreements that started after 29 March 2021 and roll over into periodic agreement on or after 29th of March.

The minimum standards are divided below into 14 categories. All rental properties must meet the standards of each category. Each of the 14 categories and definition of minimum standards are again all available in detail on the Consumer Affairs website, however these items include:

  • Locks
  • Vermin proof bins
  • Toilets
  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Laundry
  • Structural soundness
  • Mould and damp
  • Electrical safety
  • Window coverings
  • Windows
  • Lighting
  • Ventilation
  • Heating

Penalties apply if a property fails to meet these requirements, so it’s in your best interest to undertake necessary checks before entering a new agreement. There are also consequences for not carrying out requested repairs to bring the property up to minimum standards.

Gas and electrical safety checks

Under the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021, all residential rental properties are required to undergo an annual Smoke Alarm Safety Service, a two-yearly Gas and Carbon Monoxide Service, and Electrical Safety Service.

As a rental provider you are required to ensure a certificate of compliance is completed under all three sections. These services have been made mandatory to ensure the safety of residential rental properties and their renters.

Changes, changes and a few more changes

From an updated rental agreement, maximum bond and no more than one month’s rent to be paid in advance, fixed price advertising, a ban on inviting rental bids, misleading or deceptive advertising, through to changes on applications with changes to inappropriate rental application questions and unlawful discrimination information, on top of all those changes mentioned above – there’s a lot to keep up to date on.

With so many changes in the air, it’s never been as important to have your property managed by an expert. By engaging a qualified property manager, like our team at The Hopkins Group, you can rest easy knowing your property is in safe hands. To learn more about how The Hopkins Group property management services can help ease the burden on rental providers shoulders keeping up to date on the latest changes, contact us today.

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The Hopkins Group

Street Address

Level 23, 500 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3001

Postal Address

GPO Box 4347, Melbourne, VIC 3001

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