Communicating with your property manager

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The REIQ often receives enquiries from consumers about property management and issues that could generally have been avoided through better communication by the tenant and the property manager.

Ensuring that these two parties communicate effectively helps to safeguard against issues further down the track.

Part of the role of a prudent professional property manager is to pass any concern on to the landlord within a reasonable timeframe when any issues, such as maintenance requirements, come to light and this requires effective communication.

Maintenance issues are generally the most common matters which can cause conflict in a residential tenancy.

To help alleviate this, the REIQ recommends property managers complete entry condition reports accurately before the tenancy begins. Entry condition reports should be a written visual of the property and include detailed description of its condition.

The tenant is required under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act to be given one signed copy of the entry condition report and has three calendar days to note any additional or differing comments on the report and return a signed copy to the property manager or landlord.

The desired outcome for all parties is that the tenancy begins in agreement, not in conflict, which can assist in the development of a professional relationship between the tenant and property manager throughout the duration of the tenancy.

Prudent property managers will have consistent systems to receive and record all requests from tenants throughout the tenancy and will also have follow-up systems in place to check whether maintenance issues have been addressed for example.

Tenants should ensure they are fully aware of how to communicate with their property manager on issues relating to their tenancy. An agent may have set procedures for accepting maintenance requests such as in writing for routine maintenance requests.

It is imperative that both tenants and agents alike are fully aware of any procedures they may need to follow during the tenancy which will help to streamline and improve communication.

Finally, tenants should communicate to their property manager as soon as possible if there is any significant change in their circumstances, such as job loss or relationship break-down or any other matters which may impact the tenancy. This will allow them to work with their property manager to address any issues before they arise.