Respect your tenants!
Stay with me here, this is a long one… but one that has been on my mind A LOT lately (I’m sure it will be a bit controversial to share and get me in trouble somewhere along the line but I believe it is important).
If you didn’t know, I am a BIG believer in mutual respect between agent/tenant/landlord in order to have a successful property management experience. Unfortunately we hear stories regularly about tenants being treated as second class citizens.
Last year I received a phone call from a lovely sounding older lady who’s daughter encouraged her to call me in the hope of finding her a new home.
I met this lady at a rental property and she fell in love, wanting to apply immediately…which she did!
This is where the problem began; she presented well, her ledger was perfect, TICA check fine, I even knew her daughter (she cared for my daughter for years at daycare and was a favourite of ours) HOWEVER HER PREVIOUS RENTAL REFERENCE WAS HORRIBLE AND SOMETHING I COULDN’T LOOK PAST!
I avoided calling her to give her the bad news for a few hours as I knew it would be a difficult conversation to have. Finally, I worked up the courage and broke the news – I instantly had her crying on the phone absolutely devastated.
You see, she had been in her rental for 5 years and saw herself as a good tenant however she was being knocked back time and time again. The only reason given was the standard line “the landlord has decided to go with someone else”.
Not one to be able to handle crying without trying to help, I told the applicant that I would reconsider her application if I could attend her current rental property right away. In all honestly I was expecting to arrive at the property only to have the reference confirmed (regarding poor living standards) but at least I could try to educate the tenant on the issues rather than just turning her away like every other agent had done.
To my absolute shock, this was not the case. Instead I found myself absolutely speechless at the condition of the property that these tenants were living in and had been living in for 5 years and none of the issues were due to tenant fault (see pictures attached).
A very clear lack of property maintenance and in my opinion a property that was not fit for habitation… Instead of making this situation right, the agency was forcing the tenants to remain in this property by blacklisting them with all other local agencies.
So what did we do? We spoke to one of our amazing landlords, explained the situation in full and had their blessing to give these tenants a chance despite the reference we received (because at the end of the day, it is not my house and not my decision to make).
The result: We have now had 6 months of a perfect tenancy ! And hopefully a long term tenant for our landlord.
Where do I even start on the lessons from this?
1) Regular routine inspections are there to not only inspect how tenants are looking after the property but also to report on general maintenance required.
2) All properties need regular, ongoing maintenance whether they are tenanted or owner occupied ! I do not know if this was a case of the agent not passing on maintenance requests or the owner refusing to maintain their property, either way making someone live in these conditions is not right ! If you don’t care about your tenants, care about the value of your asset.
3) Treat others how you would like to be treated in return…