ARE YOU MISSING OUT ON THIS PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SUPPORT

ARE YOU MISSING OUT ON THIS PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SUPPORT

We are all by now way too familiar with how stressed everyone is in the industry, that burnout is a real thing, and there is a general consensus. Property management is just all too hard, and we’ve got a mass exodus of people leaving the industry. But what if there was support out there right on your doorstep and you haven’t even used it yet? Well, there is this unicorn and it’s called your governing body. And today I spoke with two senior members of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland team. And while I sure learnt a thing or two, especially about the new legislation changes, more importantly though, I was reminded what a great support they are for the real estate industry, business owners and property managers, and they are also amazing advocates of the housing sector as a whole. Now, while my guests today focus on the Queensland legislation, this episode is an important reminder to anyone feeling overwhelmed, confused, or stressed about what the legislation in your state is doing or what’s happening, or you’re confused about how to resolve a situation. Then I encourage you to reach out to your governing bodies for support. Now, I’ve been a member with the R E I Q since I started my business, and I have used their property management support services a lot, probably even on a daily basis in the early days of starting my business.

Remember, I knew nothing about property management when I started. I’ve also had to use their legal advice following an incident involving a tenant and an unfortunate accident at a property. Their advice was invaluable. My guests today are industry veterans. Connie McKee has been in the industry for over 40 years and has pretty much been there and done it when it comes to real estate. And Kat Bevin is the legal counsel for the R E I Q. But she doesn’t just sit behind her keyboard. She’s a huge advocate for change and works tirelessly behind the scenes, chipping away at clear, clearing up those gray areas in the legislation and making life much less stressful and complicated for anyone in real estate. So, I hope you have a pen and paper handy because you might want to take some notes around some of the advice that they share on the new legislation in Queensland in particular.

 

HOW YOU GOT INVOLVED IN THIS BUSINESS?

‘My name is Connie McKee, and this is my 41st year in real estate. So, I started as a receptionist in a real estate office in Toowoomba and always had the ambition to own my own business, which I was a director at 28. I’ve owned three property management businesses, been involved in sales and always stayed a practical real estate practitioner but have also been involved as a trainer and advisor for the R E I Q now for about 25 years.’

‘I’m Kat Bevin. I’m general counsel and company secretary here at the R E I Q. Haven’t been around as long but I’ve only been within the R E I Q for three years now going on 10 as I normally say. And I was previously in private practice, generally within the commercial and property sector, so I have always been in property post admission. So, it is something that I’ve really grown to enjoy and even love more now that I’m in the real estate sector.’

 

WHAT IS THE REQRUITMENT LIKE IN THE UNDUSTRY NOW?

‘The REIQ has copped criticism in the past that people are coming out of retirement, and they are not job ready. The reality of it is, the REIQ doesn’t legislate the training that we have to deliver as part of the REIQ course. It is a regulated environment and yes, we know there are gaps, however, you must meet the criteria to be able to satisfy the office of their training. So that is another issue. So, what we’ve done is with my co-presenter, so Linda Randall, collectively we’ve got about 70 years practical experience. We’ve designed a two-day program that delves into everyday property management. So, we look at the PO Form 6, obviously the Realworks version. And we do not just tell people how they should fill it in, we explain why. And you know, sadly for me, sometimes I’ve learnt the hard way as to why. Here when we talk best practice, it’s not just done this. It is why you will do this because if you do not this could be the consequence of the dispute you have with your owner or the dispute you have with your, your tenant. So, we closely look at the PO form six central terms and conditions, the Form 18 A, because on the Property Management Support service, sadly the amount of property managers who do not know how to complete that correctly, they end up in QCAT. They get orders against the agency rather than the owner. We will have a good look at Form 18 A, Form 11, and Form 12, an urgent application to QCAT. We’ll have a look at the new legislation with the topical issue of pets and how to practically handle that. Also, we will be looking at a soon-to-be released fee variation document that we have made available.’

‘More importantly, we have got real life case scenarios. So last year when we were going through the case scenarios of complaints, everyone was like, is this a real one? I’m like, no, I could have thousands of real ones. This is one that I believe you will come across quite regularly. We learned how to reference the key documents, how to reference instructions and construct a professional response so that property managers aren’t intimidated and feel out of their debt when someone comes at them. They feel more competent in being able to handle that without, um, letting it potentially, I suppose, become a bigger issue than what it needs to be. So, it really is about breeding confidence because I found as a young property manager if someone, I felt someone knew more than what I did, that is when I got frightened. Whereas when I came from a place of, I’m confident, you know, I know my stuff, I didn’t feel as intimidated in doing the job. I wasn’t bullied by certain personalities. I could stand firm with my professional approach to it. So, we’ve had outstanding feedback for the program and not just from newcomers. We’ve had people who’ve been around for 10 years say, “I didn’t know that was the facts were”, sadly there is a bit of myth out there where we get into the facts and, what the legislation really says, but we do it in a way that it makes sense to you as well.’

 

DO YOU THINK PROPERTY MANAGERS EXPERIENCE STRESS BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW THE LEGISLATION?

‘Kat heads up our property management support service. I’m a founding member. We started that about eight years ago. And it was a passion of mine because very early in my career, there was a gentleman at the REIQ who I used to ring a lot and he was patient with me. Sometimes he gave me tough love and told me what I didn’t know and what I should know, but he always helped guide me. I inevitably, when I got off the phone, felt a bit better about the job. So, what we have done is have Kat on board you know, Antonio has always been there supporting us as well, but Kat’s pretty much dedicated to, if we have issues come up on the property management support service, we’re all practitioners. We’re not lawyers, so we can’t give legal advice, but if we get questions come through, we just want a little bit of clarity because there is still a lot of grays in property management. You know, even now I get questions that come up and I go, really, did someone really think to do that? What is wrong with this person? So, I’ll have a chat with Kat and say, this is my take on it. This the best way for our members to handle it? Because we’re all about risk prevention for our members. And then from time to time, if the agency is an accredited agency, we can escalate that bio aca where our members can get intervention from carbon new lawyers. We’ve had several instances that without that advice, those cases could have escalated to being very stressful circumstances for those member agents as well. So, there is not any one day that is the same because as you know, being a property manager, there is, there’s so many different issues that can arise. We just don’t talk about legislation because we have all been around for a while. We talk about some of the skills that you can use in your communication to be an influencer, to get the outcome you’re looking for rather than being a dictator. Because I found in all my years doing it, let someone think it was their idea and you’ve got a better chance of getting an outcome rather than thinking you’re going to dictate to people about what they should or shouldn’t do.

And I guess the wonderful thing about the property Management support service, which obviously we offer to our members, is that we get to learn what’s happening on the ground. And because we have touchpoints with the main authorities and are really close to property stakeholders that really matter and impact, the Department of Housing, Residential Tendencies Authority, the OFT, apart from providing guidance to our members, we get to try and make a change as well in the backend because they can provide our members with feedback in relation to what what’s not working in practice. And so, we’re able to provide that feedback to the relevant stakeholders as well as providing them with guidance on whatever issues or matters that they’re currently faced with. It’s a huge advantage to our members because sometimes those organisations might get them a bit wrong, so we ask our members to give us detailed information and then we pass it on to Kat and Kat will then be in communication with the appropriate government authority regarding it.’

 

WHAT ARE THE BIG ISSUES THAT YOUR MEMBERS ARE EXPERIENCING AT THE MOMENT?

“Probably pets. It is a regular one. and Kat recently did an excellent video with, the RTA, which Kate, you might like to just explain their response, particularly in relation to Body Corporate, because we’ve been working behind the scenes because we’ve got two pieces of legislation that aren’t, um, really helping each other. So, do you want to maybe explain the body corporate with the 14-day requirement and, and the RTAs position on that? Yeah, absolutely. So, as you know our listeners, your listeners will be aware, there have been some changes in relation to Les’s requirement to respond within a prescribed period being 14 days under the RTRA act. And of course, when a body corporate’s involved, then that governed by the same legislation, they’re governed by the Body Corporate Community Management Act, right? So, within that legislation, body corporate committees have up to six weeks to respond to any inquiries. So, there is this overlap, or clash I should say, in terms of two pieces of legislation that do not align yet, a less so is required to respond within such a strict timeframe. And so, this has been at the top of our minds and something that, you know, we have been, we have raised with the RTA as well as the commissioner’s office, and it is something that will continue to try and, lobby for in terms of an amendment to legislation. Obviously, that’s also not easy given the current portfolio that is currently being carried within the department. So, it’s really finding, trying to navigate through, well, what does a lesser have to do and what does a tenant have to do in response to any PET request within a body corporate? And that’s something that we’ll be discussing during our property management conference this year. So, you know, if any of your listeners want to attend to that, that is something that we’ll have the former commissioner attend that with me and we’ll be speaking about that very issue.”

 

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE AT THE MOMENT WITHT DEALING WITH PET REQUESTS WITHIN A BODY CORPORATE?

“We always encourage communication, right from the very first instance. We encourage both parties to be upfront, even prior to entering a let a tenancy agreement to propose to the other party whether there is going to be a pet involved. Because if that’s the case, then often, you can get it over the line in having to request a pet during the tenancy agreement. Right. Notification early on is always the best, avenue, and there is always going to be dispute resolution processes should parties not agree. So, in this instance, we would expect that lessor’s would say no to a pet on the basis that they haven’t received body corporate’s approval, and they can then go through the proper processes in place with it, under the BCCCM Act and go through that process of disputing if it is taking too long. So, unfortunately, at this stage, we have still catered to responding to the 14-day process. And, you know, it doesn’t fix the issue of everything being backlogged within the conciliation process. Right? There’s a wait within the Commissioner’s office, there’s a wait within QCAT, but unfortunately at this stage, if the less store is tied to a bylaw that requires body corporate consent, they can say no until such time that they received that consent from the Body corporate.”

Dealing with legislation issues and especially the grey areas can and does cause a lot of undue stress from property managers and business owners, so make sure you reach out and utilise the support your governing bodies offer. Generally there is a lot of value for a small membership fee. Head to the REIQ website if you are a Queensland Property Manager and speak with the team there.

Or if you are a property manager anywhere in the world are you are looking for all the training and support you’ll need in the one spot then I invite you join our PM Accelerate Membership. Click here to find out more.

 

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