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. Last month in Part One we heard about men in red underpants and rotting meat, this month we spoke with Mike Atkinson from Aspire Property Management.
• Tell us about the worst tenant you’ve ever dealt with and why?
We once had a new tenant who collected the keys at 10am on a Thursday. The neighbours called us at 11.30am on the same day to report a party. This particular tenant ended up vacating the property when there was a warrant for her arrest.
• What’s the funniest thing (funny, worst, disgusting) you’ve seen when performing a property inspection?
One particular tenant believed the we were using her set of keys to come into the house and steal her nail clippers, and shuffle around her tuna cans in the pantry. She demanded the locks be changed immediately.
A few other things we’ve experienced on property inspections include…
- Un-flushed toilets are never pleasant
- Sex toys
- Empty beer bottles
One tenant locked herself out of her house on a weekend. She got a taxi to our office and asked security to call us, demanding we bought her a spare set of keys… Only to find out she rented a property that we don’t manage and have never managed before.
• What’s the sneakiest thing you’ve seen a tenant try to get away with?
We had one tenant who we were taking to court for late rent payments, so they emailed over a screenshot of their bank statement for proof of payment. They photoshopped their bank statements to appear as if they’ve paid, and it took us a few days to realise it was fake.
Another tenant switched to monthly rent payments and paid only every 4 weeks, which adds up to to 48 weeks in the calendar year.
There’s a lot of the same stuff we see like furniture on top of carpet stains, but it all gets found out when they leave the property.
• Do you have any stories from when you’ve had to evict tenants?
On a sadder note, we recently had to evict a tenant who left a puppy chained to a tree. We managed to get the tenants to give us the dog, and we got it rehomed. They left the property a bombsite, and it’s obvious they were mistreating animals, which was really sad to see.
• Subletting is becoming more common with websites like AirBNB, are you noticing an increase in tenants trying to illegally sublet their rental property?
We’ve encountered a couple of tenants who have tried to illegally sublet their property, and we followed the appropriate action and let the owner know. We ended up giving the tenants notice to discontinue doing it.
There are some new heath and safety regulations that have just come in to New Zealand which have been in the UK for years. These relate to minimum requirements around things like smoke alarms and insulation, these are the biggest issues at the moment for Landlords in New Zealand, not really AirBNB.
• Do you ever use investigative tactics using social media?
We use Google, look tenants up on Facebook – especially those who are overdue rent or have left the property.
When managing rent arrears, we check the rent account every day and give 14-day notices to those who haven’t paid, as well as phone calls and send text messages. We follow our rent arrears process and if they haven’t paid within four days after notice is given, we go through the tenancy tribunal (NZ’s version of a court system for tenancies).
• What do you love most about your job?
I enjoy the ever-changing role, no day is the same and we’re always kept on our toes. What I like about our company is we have a really great team who I manage with my partner. We always make sure we celebrate every business milestone and enjoy social activities whether it’s tenpin bowling, or a team dinner. We focus on making sure we have fun at end of each week.
• 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?
You’re trapped in the middle of two parties with differing objectives, that being the owners and the tenants. In order to prevent the stress you just need to follow your processes and practices, and at the end of the day say your did your best for each party.
Aspire Property Management provide commercial and residential property management services and renovations.
If you have any property management stories you would like to share with us, email Sam at email@example.com.