Property management 101

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Across Queensland, more than 287,000 rental properties are rented through property managers, according to the 2011 Census.

Today, property management remains a core business of the majority of real estate agencies and is also one of the most challenging duties a real estate agent can undertake.

The world of property management is quite complex with legislation affecting the everyday workings of the tenant and landlord relationship and there are also many procedures and practices that are required by legislation. Good managerial skills, conflict resolution experience, diplomacy and social sensitivity are also necessary attributes for a modern property manager.

The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act (RTRA Act) is the legislation that regulates residential tenancies in Queensland, however, property managers also have to adhere to other legislation – including the Fair Trading Act, the Competition and Consumer Act, the Privacy Act and the Anti-Discrimination Act – during the rental process.

In every neighbourhood across the State there are hundreds of rental properties and sometimes a property manager may receive a complaint from an owner in the area about the behaviour of a tenant in one of the rental properties on their rent roll.

When it comes to assessing the validity of these complaints, however, property managers must abide by the RTRA Act, which protects the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords in the rental process.

The RTRA Act also limits the number of times a property manager or landlord can enter a rental property to conduct a general inspection which ensures tenants have quiet enjoyment of their home.

Indeed, the RTRA Act sets clear timelines for serving notices on tenants. In some instances, it states the amount of time a notice must be given before any action is taken. In others, it sets limits on the amount of time in which an action must occur.

For example, property managers or landlords can only enter a property to conduct a general inspection no more than once every three months unless otherwise agreed with the tenant.

Under the legislation, property managers or landlords can also only enter a rental property to check whether repairs have been completed and/or a tenant has fixed a significant breach after being served a notice to remedy breach.

Professional property managers will always have a complaints handling procedure in accordance with relevant legislation. And while complaints will always be taken seriously, property managers must adhere to legislation so they are acting in the best interests of landlords while protecting the rights of tenants.