Re-Leased

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Stories of a Property Manager - Part one

27 May 2016

We’re running a blog series talking to some of Re-Leased’s Property Management customers from around the globe, discussing some of their more interesting experiences that come with the job.

This week we spoke with Cassandra Palmer from Yes Lets Property Management.

• Tell us about the worst tenant you’ve ever dealt with and why?

We’ve managed tenants in all shapes and sizes. Some of worst tenants have to include gang members, heroin addicts, a brothel operating from an inner city apartment, and a tenant that put in their pole for ‘dancing practice’, and fitted it to the middle of the living room!

I’ve had tenants growing marijuana in the attic and hot water cupboard, and I’ve had my tradesman open the door to a literal fog of cloud… from a tenant smoking marijuana! In New Zealand Property Managers and Landlords are on a heightened alert for methamphetamine contamination at properties, this can be a big problem for some Property Managers in New Zealand.

• What’s the funniest thing (funny, worst, disgusting) you’ve seen when performing a property inspection?

We’ve had some very interesting experiences during an inspection, that’s for sure! I’ve arrived to an inspection once to be greeted by the male tenant wearing nothing but his small red underpants, and I’ve walked in on a couple in bed…

We’ve had the plastic toilet seats missing on an exit inspection, later to be found in the dishwasher… mind you, it was clean!

In the heat of last summer I had to remove a freezer load of rotting meat at an abandoned tenancy where the power had been cut off for a couple of weeks. I had no choice but to throw it in the boot of my car and drive 30kms with my windows down! My car was still quite smelly the next day when I took it my local mechanic for a routine service, I told him I was a hired assassin and that I’d had dead bodies in my boot… I hope he knew I was joking.

• What’s the sneakiest thing you’ve seen a tenant try to get away with?

The con-artist tenants I’m sure that many Property Managers around the world are familiar with, people living in garden sheds on the premises, tenants overcrowding their property. Once I found ten or more people in a three-bedroom house!

On a more serious note sometimes you do see a rougher side of life in this job, for example one tenant that was so drug addled that they couldn’t remember they were supposed to vacate a property, even when they gave notice! Soon after this same tenant was convicted for his role in a homicide, so it can be pretty scary stuff.

• Have you ever had to serve trespass notices?

Yes, once to shed-dweller who remained there after the tenant had abandoned the property. Police served him a trespass notice at 7am as he sat in his satin blue nightgown drinking beer in the shed. He was a nightmare! Another time to a tenant who kept defaulting on rent and threatened to intentionally damage the property, it can be quite frustrating.

• Subletting is becoming more common with websites like AirBNB, are you noticing an increase in tenants trying to illegally sublet their rental property?

We haven’t come across many subletting scenarios or seen a rise in subletting as a result of AirBNB. It is likely to happen though and we often have students unlawfully subletting during the summer break.

• Do you ever use investigative tactics using social media?

Yes, I do “spy” on my tenant applicants, and occasionally resident tenants too using social media. I had a female applicant recently whose Facebook page I visited, probably not a good idea for her to include posts showing her smoking what appeared to be a marijuana ‘bong’, complete with photos.

I’ve experienced a few devious tenants in my time, some who try to claim compensation through the tenancy tribunal, and some going as far to manipulate property damage I.e. tear rotted weatherboards and base-boards away from the property to create more damage, that was pretty disappointing. It’s not surprising to see these same tenants in the newspapers with theft charges.

• What do you love most about your job?

Every day is a different day and I’ve learnt that there are so many interpretations and definitions of “normal” but it’s satisfying to look outside of the square to solve problems, and using layperson’s psychology to see what makes people tick is an interesting part of the job.

• It’s common knowledge that property management can be stressful, do you have any tactics or tips to help deal with some of the stress that comes with the job?

In dealing with stress I have a very pragmatic and caring husband who gives sound advice and supports me, and I probably drink too much!

Yes Lets provides property management services with over 14 years’ experience in the Greater Wellington Region, New Zealand. To contact Yes Lets please email info@yeslets.co.nz

If you have any property management stories you would like to share with us, email Sam at sam.howie@re-leased.com and we’ll send you some of Re-Leased’s limited edition lager or coffee beans!