Whether you’re new to the world of renting or a seasoned veteran, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s kind of important to keep a good relationship with your property manager.
And, as any relationship expert will tell you, the key to keeping a blissful bond is by prioritising good communication. In fact, new research by realestate.com.au found that 89% of our Aussie renters believe that having amicable chats with their property manager is important.
In order to get there, it’s worth remembering that signing off every email with ‘kind regards’ isn’t quite enough to keep things friendly if, ultimately, you and your property manager have fundamentally different beliefs about what the other is responsible for.
So, in the name of preventing things from getting somewhere seriously awkward, here’s a handy guide of things you can, and absolutely cannot, ask your property manager to ‘be a doll’ and take care of for you.
Can’t: Change your lightbulbs
How many property managers does it take to change a lightbulb? Ah zero, actually. We hate to be the bearers of bad news but, contrary to what 13.5% of respondents believe, your property manager is not responsible for coming to your aid by switching light bulbs.
Apart from taking two seconds to change yourself, if you don’t already know how to change a bulb, this is really something you’re probably going to want to learn sooner rather than later in the name of ‘adulting’.
Can: Repair the property
If you’ve got burst pipes or dodgy leaks, you can 100% ask your property manager to arrange for them to be fixed. Simply shoot them a message (via email or text) letting them know what’s happened and describing the extent of damage you can see, to give them an idea of what’s going on, and they will arrange for something to be done.
In addition to being hella inconvenient, structural issues can also bring health and safety risks for tenants still in the property. If this is the case, it’s in everyone’s best interest to get these issues fixed, stat.
Can’t: Fix stuff you break
If you have a lit house party and some loose unit goes and pulls a door off its hinges, this is definitely something you’re gonna have to fix. Deciding whether it comes out of your common housemate kitty or the person responsible pays the whole sum, is something for you and your fellow roomies to discuss.
If, however, you don’t pay to get something you’ve broken fixed, you can kiss goodbye to your sacred bond because that’s where it’s gonna go.
While you might think it’s easier to just get the property manager to sort it out after you leave, it’s worth noting it might cost you more long-term. If you fix it, you will probably find the most cost-effective option, but if you’re property manager’s looking, they’re likely going to go with the most expensive option available (because why wouldn’t they if you’re paying and you also refused to fix it when you broke it?).
Can: Increase the rent
Yes, sadly, your property manager is the baddie responsible for cranking up your rent. Throughout your tenancy, it’s the property manager’s job to keep tabs on what other places around the area are charging renters for similar places. If they think your place is undercharging, they’re going to suggest raising the price.
How often they can change the rent is another matter, and is determined by two factors: what state you’re in and the type of tenancy agreement you have. If you suspect you’re being charged too much, or that the rent is being increased with unfair regularity, check with your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading to find out what your rights are.
Cannot: Tend to the garden
As much as we wish we could just give our property manager a ring on the old blower as soon as the grass gets a bit too long, or the hedges look a little overgrown, gardening is not their responsibility. One way to avoid your garden looking like a scene from Jumanji is to tee up a housemate roster or if you already know that literally nobody in your house will keep to it, list the job on Airtasker so someone can come and give the greenery around your digs a little TLC.