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Agents - the heroic and the horrific
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Whale
NSW
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20/11/2011 - 10:34 am
Member Since: 15/12/2010
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You’re so right Jimmy!

When, as Secretary of our self-managed Plan, I first started dealing with Rental Agents / Property Managers generally over reminders to pay my Proprietors' Levies (their Landlords') on our Owners Corporation's Terms, not theirs, and occasionally about the behaviour of their Tenants, it became immediately apparent that anything whatsoever to do with “Strata” was a problem.

Initially I thought that my approach may have been wrong, so I deliberately set about trying to keep everything at a more personal level as opposed to being a “StrataFascist” by talking about Levy Notices, Tenancy Agreements, Common Property, and By-Laws.

But when that approach too was greeted by disinterest, I took the opportunity to speak with some of the Strata Managers around town, who confirmed that same problem, which they explained as arising from a long-standing and distinct void in the chain of communication between Strata Managers and Property Managers, and a “conflict of responsibilities” between the two.

Personally, I find that “conflict of responsibilities” quite odd, as both Property and Strata Managers have Proprietors as their Clients, but that conflict is certainly there.

Even taking into account that some Rental Agents / Property Mangers probably have Proprietors / Landlords on their backs about vacant investment properties, in my opinion nothing excuses the “attitude” and the lack of knowledge exhibited by Property Managers; including about their own roles and responsibilities.

In one extreme example of the “horrific”, one Property Manager who was at the time inspecting a Unit in our Plan subsequent to a tenancy,  loudly abused another Member of our Executive Committee (EC) and myself after we had made an approach about the removal of some rubbish that had been left on the Common Property by those tenants. Other Residents who emerged from their Units after hearing the commotion were also abused!

Understandably, I discussed the matter with the Office of Fair Trading, who said that neither I nor the Owners Corporation could lodge a Complaint about the behaviour of this Property Manager (who is also a Licensee), firstly because we were not “Clients” of that person, and secondly because Complaints are generally limited to matters of professional behaviour; as if this incident didn’t impact on the individual’s professionalism.

I don’t wish to make this post into a personal rant, so back to the point…

In recent years I’ve been raising tenancy issues directly with my Proprietors (with limited success; but that’s another story), and have limited my dealings with Property Managers / Rental Agents to fending-off their repeated attempts to have the Owners Corporation (O/C) attend to every conceivable repair, and if not to claim those on its Insurance.

The NSW Office of Fair Trading (OFT) needs to ensure that Property Managers have a modicum of knowledge about how some aspects of the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act (1996) interact with the NSW Residential Tenancies Act and Regulation (2010), and the NSW Landlord & Tenant Act / Regulations/ Amendments; I’ve had several Agents who had no idea whatsoever about S119 Noticifations and the fact that they shouldn’t just affix their signage all over Common Property!

(PS – I must finish my rant by advising that I after several letters, I was able to speak with the C.E.O. of the National Franchise Operation with whom that “horrific” Agent’s Business was at the time a Member, and after she similarly abused him, the Franchise was withdrawn).

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Whale
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11/11/2012 - 4:33 pm
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Nibbles55 - you've raised one of my most frustrating issues, and in addition to the post on this subject that's almost 12 months old ( 2 below) here's my most recent one.

I'm not a landlord, but after first-hand experience in dealing with the Property Managers who oversee the rental properties in my Plan, I've concluded that they're mostly the ones in the Agency who can't answer telephones, who keep breaking pens, who can't settle, and who can't sell properties -- and so they get the job to manage them as they regularly migrate from one Agency to another!

A couple of my Owners have had similar experiences to yours, and I've suggested that they look for Real Estate Agencies that are owned and operated by the Principal, because generally their staff members are better managed and are not on the revolving door (to the Agency next door). 

That's worked for those Owners, so just maybe it's a way forward for you in that place that's 7 Miles from Sydney and 1000 miles from care!

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