5 signs a PM should fire their landlord

There’s no doubt that property managers work hard to earn and keep landlord business, but what do you do if that business starts to become more hassle than it’s worth?

When you reach the point of wishing you hadn’t received a particular landlord’s business in the first place, then it might be time to consider cutting ties with them. Here are 5 signs that it might be time to fire your landlord.

1. THE LANDLORD FAILS TO DO WHAT THEY SAY THEY WILL DO AND WHEN THEY SAY THEY WILL DO IT

If this behaviour becomes a pattern, it can be the first sign you need to fire your landlord. Having to constantly follow up your landlord, and chasing them because they don’t respond to emails and phone calls, can become very time-consuming very quickly. This can lead to you spending less time servicing your other clients and losing their business instead. A landlord shouldn’t be costing you money.

2. THE LANDLORD GOES AROUND YOU AND COMMUNICATES DIRECTLY WITH THEIR TENANT

If a landlord keeps you out of the loop like this, it is a sure-fire way for you to become involved in a “he said, she said” situation between the landlord and tenant. In this situation, you can very easily be thrown under the bus when something that was said doesn’t happen.

3. THE LANDLORD CONSTANTLY REFUSES TO MAINTAIN THE PROPERTY

If a landlord fails to communicate with you in a timely manner on an urgent repair that is needed on the property or they refuse to get it fixed, they are preventing you from fulfilling your role as a Property Manager in ensuring the tenant has a liveable, safe home to occupy. Not only that, but you will spend more time on end of lease bond disputes, safety issues and ongoing maintenance requests that could potentially blow out into major costs. In this situation it might be a good time to suggest that the landlord sells the property if they can’t afford to maintain it.

“They are preventing you from fulfilling your role as a Property Manager in ensuring the tenant has a liveable, safe home to occupy.”

4. THE LANDLORD DOES – OR EVEN SUGGESTS DOING – SOMETHING ILLEGAL

A zero tolerance approach to this sort of behaviour will keep you out of a lot of trouble in the long run. A landlord that even suggests illegal activity is not a landlord you want your business associated with – it could be very damaging to the reputation of your business.

5. THE LANDLORD TRIES TO RENEGOTIATE YOUR CONTRACT FOR NO GOOD REASON

A contract is there to serve both parties, and if the landlord is attempting to add in new clauses to your contract, you should have these looked at by legal counsel very closely before agreeing to anything. They may only serve to benefit the one party – the landlord. If this is the case, then you would be within your rights to end the current contract.

Any of these things can get in the way of you performing your job as a property manager, and may amount to a breach of contract whereby you can terminate your services with the landlord involved. As soon as you spot any of the above signs, or other signs of trouble, you may want to consider taking action before too much damage is done, such as:

  • Loss of profits – for example, if you’re spending too much time servicing this client, you may lose others due to lack of service
  • Loss of long-term reputation amongst other investors, landlords, real estate professionals and peers – for example, if it looks like you’re not performing well as a property manager, your reputation in the industry could be damaged
  • Distractions for staff or vendors pulled into all of the drama – a drama-filled property manager – landlord relationship can be time-consuming and distracting for all involved
  • Impairment of future growth plans due to a misuse of resources – for example, you’re unable to take on new landlords due to your resources all being poured into one contract

How to prepare

There are a few preventative measures you can take to try avoid getting to the “firing” stage in the first place. This could include having well-written, comprehensive property management agreements; screening prospective landlords like you would tenants; documenting internal processes for landlord communications, and training for all staff on all of the above. Having said that, not even preventative measures work 100% of the time. Being mindful of the above – and taking action when necessary – can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

As a property manager, your role is largely about relationships – between you and the landlord, and you and the tenant – and sometimes, relationships break down. If you find this happening to you, know that you can take action too, and it is best to do so before long-term damage can be done by the relationship. Just ensure to take the proper actions needed. Cancelling your agreement in writing, giving proper notice and providing the owner or new agent with any relevant paperwork can ensure that you don’t burn any bridges you may cross in the future.