How to talk to Landlords
With Joel Davis, Image Property
Joel Davis, from Image Property, says being a principal has been his greatest teacher. He says, “You quickly learn how to deal with problems when you become the principal and there’s nobody about you to hand the problem on to. The best way of going about it is to deal with them, put yourself in those situations and get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
Make sure you know your facts and do all the research before you pick up the phone.
Be as specific as possible. Identify problems and pose solutions.
Calculate the exact numbers.
Explain the worst case scenario.
Be informative. Joel says, “Somebody that’s well informed is less likely to be opinionated about a situation.”
Remember that good quality tenants go after good quality properties.
Remember your aim is to foster good relations between landlords, tenants and yourself.
One way to ensure good quality conversations with landlords is to ensure that you are constantly educating them about their rights and responsibilities and managing their expectations.
Joel has developed a Vacate Web Book and a Break Lease Web Book to assist the framing of the relationships with landlords and tenants.
Joel says, “Within the Vacate Web Book, there is a link that takes them to the RTA website for the definition of wear and tear. We make sure we highlight the legislation without them needing to take us there. We make sure that we want it to be fair. We give them independent advice and links to where that legislation is outlined and exactly what it says.”
Links within the Break Lease Web Book, Joel says, “… takes them to the RTA website about what a break lease is and it automatically highlights the section of their lease agreement that they’ve signed where it stipulates their responsibilities around a break lease.”
Dealing with landlords is also made easier when a property manager sees him or herself as a problem solver. Joel says, “I would rather them make a mistake and have a crack than come to me for the answer every single time because the only way you learn is by doing. Put yourself in the situation, come up with a response, put it into place. If you’re not confident enough to do that first time when you bring it to me, you best be bringing it to me with what you think the solution is as opposed to asking for the answer without even attempting to come up with it yourself first.”
“Get comfortable being uncomfortable”
Role play: How to ask a landlord to make improvements on an older property
Joel Davis: Hi Lee, Joel Davis calling from Image Property. How are you?
Lee: Good. Thanks, Joel.
Joel Davis: That’s good. Lee, I just wanted to give you a quick call. Obviously, I know the property, as you know, is coming up to being vacant very shortly. Just wanted to give you a quick call and discuss some of the items that I raised during the routine inspections over the course of the year with regards to the standard of the paint and carpet in the property at the moment.
Lee: Joel, I just don’t want to spend any more money on it. I’ve put a lot of money into this property over the years and I just don’t want to have to spend any more money.
Joel Davis: Lee, I can definitely put you in touch with the sales team, if you would like me to, if you’re looking at exiting the market. But, if you’re going to retire on the property and hold the property moving forward, it will need attention. There’s no two ways about that, because the carpet is getting to the end of its life as is the paint, and it’s going to be a snowball effect. If we lease the property out in this condition, I don’t believe it will achieve the same price that it is right now.
Meaning, that A) if we achieve $20 a week less, there’s a thousand dollars of what we could have spent on actually making the improvements to the property it needed and B) I think we’re going to attract a tenant that we don’t want anything to do with. Typically, they don’t take as good care of the property as the tenants had previously.
The property will actually become much more run down in terms of the kitchen and the bathroom, and other items within the property. We’ll actually be out for more costs than we would have been if we had given it the attention it needed and attracted a good quality tenant as we have done up to this point time.