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What information should PMs be providing to Landlords?

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Cbrgirl, 28th Apr, 2016.

?

Are you happy with the information your PM gives you about potential tenants?

  1. Yes - my PM always provides detailed information so I can make an informed decision

    7 vote(s)
    70.0%
  2. Not really - my PM provides minimal information. I would prefer more details

    3 vote(s)
    30.0%
  1. Cbrgirl

    Cbrgirl Well-Known Member

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    As I'm new to all of this, I'd like to know what information Property Managers should be providing to landlords about the potential tenants and information on the tenant applications? It seems that tenants lodge quite detailed applications with the PM, but only a minimal amount of information is then provided to the landlord?

    I would have thought, at a minimum, that the names, occupations and salaries of potential tenants would be provided but it seems this is not the case (from my PM). Otherwise how can I make an informed decision about who I want? Also, do all tenants applying to live there (e.g. a husband and wife) have to provide their details on the application form?

    What information about potential tenants is reasonable for me to expect the PM to give me?
     
  2. Nick Valsamis

    Nick Valsamis Well-Known Member

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    If they want to be on the lease then they will need to provide their details on the application as well.

    Ideally you should expect the following information to be provided to make an informed decision:

    - Names of applicants
    - Number of people and ages of children
    - Lease term and start date
    - Employment details including occupation, salary, specify full time/casual
    - Rental history including ledger and references
    - Bank statement to check for any questionable transactions and to verify salary/rent/mortgage payments

    This should all be summarised by the property manager in an email.
     
    Last edited: 28th Apr, 2016
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  3. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    what info were you looking for?

    in all my years the agent gives me the info that they think is relevant,
    if I ask them they will always tell me,

    eg they never tell me the name unless i ask, obviously names to me are irrelevant
     
  4. Cbrgirl

    Cbrgirl Well-Known Member

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    @TMNT
    you mentioned that names are irrelevant to you. Would gender and age be irrelevant too?
     
  5. TMNT

    TMNT Well-Known Member

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    gender not so much as age for me,

    the only info I can get from a name is maybe ethnicity, which I supposed can be important,

    with age, I can analyse on the risks of what a typical person of that age might behave,

    and so with age
     
  6. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Be careful to avoid getting in trouble for discrimination!
     
  7. Nick Valsamis

    Nick Valsamis Well-Known Member

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    Forgot to mention that it is also useful to receive some background information on the tenant such as why they are moving.

    This will give you an idea if they likely to be long term or short term tenants and can influence the final decision.

    Also, always ask for details by email so that it can be easier to evaluate. Some information over the phone may be left out or forgotten afterwards.
     
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  8. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Whatever information is relevant to the landlords
     
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  9. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

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    I think it is up to us as the client to formally request and detail in writing our expectations from a our service providers and PM's are different.

    Some people do not care so long as the rent is regularly banked and others are more hands on.

    You decide.
     
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  10. DiligentPM

    DiligentPM Well-Known Member Business Member

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    We are bound by the Privacy Act ..PM is not to give personal tenant banking statements to owners...we are required to assess banking statements and rental ledgers as owners are paying for PM screening expertise.
    Information such as age, ethnicity, disability, marital status etc is not relevant to assess or it moves to the discrimination space.

    What matters is capacity to pay I.e. no rental stress, PMs are to gather all income sources and inform the owner of collective income (not someone's personal bank statement). It is appropriate to disclose TICA check outcome and reason for being on TICS (if a TICA check is positive) and referee feedback summarised broadly etc.

    I have worked in senior government roles for many years and privacy is taken very seriously...only information that relates to (1)if the tenant has capacity to pay; (2) referee feedback about character and capacity to look after a property and (3) screening check outcomes eg TICA/bankrupsy are relevant.

    An outline of a family composition or co share arrangement is relevant to ensure the rental home does not have more than five unrelated people living together and/or there are sufficient bedrooms to accommodate the family unit...

    In summary its about sharing relevant information on a need to know basis, not responding to intrusive, personal i.e nosy questions that are not relevant and/or moves a conversation to a discriminatory space.
     
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  11. Nick Valsamis

    Nick Valsamis Well-Known Member

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    Not sure what the real privacy issue is since you are really giving the property manager authority to do the work on your behalf.

    What happens if the owner wants to self manage after you find the tenant or if they change agent? Are you also meant to leave out half of the application when the insurance company asks for the tenants application during a claim? Are you meant to hold the application to yourself because of privacy reasons?

    Maybe you misread what we are discussing because it was merely about the information provided by the property manager. This is why I did also specify in my post that it should all be summarised in an email. There is no need to know basis, you are working for the landlord, and therefore it is in the best interest of the landlord to provide as much information as possible.

    You pay the property manager to make the assessment and then relay the information to you, not to provide all of the documents for you to sift through and assess.
     
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  12. Cbrgirl

    Cbrgirl Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the comments so far.
    @DiligentPM
    I would have thought the PM and landlord have an 'agency arrangement' whereby anything provided to the agent (the PM) can/should be provided to the landlord. The agent acts on the landlord's behalf and does not, and cannot, have more powers than the landlord has. Otherwise the arrangement makes no sense ??

    From my understanding, the agent has limited powers and requires authority from the landlord to do anything on the landlord's behalf (hence a PM agreement is signed). The agent does not act on its own behalf but on behalf of the principal (the landlord).

    Therefore, it seems only reasonable to me that any information provided to the agent should also be provided to the landlord. Why would the PM 'hide' or not disclose any information to the landlord? This is not in the landlord's best interest and not what a PM is employed by the landlord to do. Fear of possible discrimination against a potential tenant is no excuse.

    Can anyone else shed any light on this? It makes no sense if the PM has information and doesn't disclose it to the landlord. Could other PMs please comment on this?
     
  13. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

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    The agent acts on your behalf which means you have access.
     
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  14. DiligentPM

    DiligentPM Well-Known Member Business Member

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    PMs are not to hide information - information is to disclosed on an as needed basis as the role of screening has been outsourced to the PM. Sufficient information on a need to know basis is disclosed to the owner to enable an informed decision to be made without compromising the privacy of the tenant in relation to disclosing irrelevant information.

    We own 9 IPs and have only been interested in learning the facts required to make an informed decision as to whether or not to say 'yes' or 'no' to a lease. Can the applicants afford the rent? What is their employment? If in a business, what income streams are available to the applicants? What is the rental history of the applicant (gathered from last PM agency)?; what is the family composition and/or co-share arrangement to ensure the home is appropriate for the number of applicants. Does the applicant have a history on TICA and/or bankrupt? What are the core characteristics described by referees about the character of the individual. I can make a very informed decision from this information.

    It may be helpful to read the Privacy Act - I had to write the policies for large NGOs and government to implement the Act hence acutely aware of the responsibilities
     
    Last edited: 28th Apr, 2016
  15. Nick Valsamis

    Nick Valsamis Well-Known Member

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    If you want to go technical, there are the APPs that apply to Real Estate agents but even if you use those, the tenant has still implied consent by providing the information in the first place which you require to share with the landlord to perform your job.

    Even then, the terms and conditions on the application gives consent to sharing the information to agent, landlord and employees.

    If there really is something, you will need to mention the relevant section of the Privacy Act and the way that it supersedes the APPs and terms that the tenant agrees to.
     
    Last edited: 28th Apr, 2016
  16. DiligentPM

    DiligentPM Well-Known Member Business Member

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    Once again on a 'need to know basis' if the owner chooses to take over the management of an IP (as we have done for our Brisbane based agencies), the exiting PM agency transfers the file and information contained in that file for us to act as the PM. It is a handover of responsibilities.

    Here are examples of the type of irrelevant questions PMs have been asked as an example of moving into an uncomfortable space...(some examples were shared by colleagues in the industry, one example is my own)

    Is she a sole parent? I don't think she will pay the rent then - she will definately get into arrears...
    (this individual had a part time professional role in addition to receiving a pension with excellent references)

    Are they from PNG? Are they Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal? Can I be sure they will keep the place clean?
    (this applicant was an Engineer with a Masters degree who was a Torres Strait Islander gentleman with excellent references in terms of maintaining his last rental home)

    Is she a prostitute? How can a young girl earn so much?
    (yes, seriously)
     
  17. Nick Valsamis

    Nick Valsamis Well-Known Member

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    This is real life and people will ask those questions. Sure if you want to go the easy route don't mention specifics, but it should be your obligation to disclose everything. You don't want to be held accountable for not disclosing something that contributed to a financial loss for the owner.
     
  18. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Privacy Act doesn't really apply in that way; we're appointed by owners to obtain tenant's information and we do so in a legitimate way for legitimate reason. So the information belongs to the owners.
     
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  19. DiligentPM

    DiligentPM Well-Known Member Business Member

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    My previous post articulates clearly all the relevant information a PM is to disclose to an owner to make an informed decision...it is unethical to not disclose relevant information hence all the information we share to facilitate informed decision making as highlighted in my post
     
  20. DiligentPM

    DiligentPM Well-Known Member Business Member

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    The key tenet of my posts are to disclose relevant information, not irrelevant information that moves us into the uncomfortable space of discrimination. That is good ethical practice and the core value of Diligent.

    Information needs to be kept in a locked cabinet.

    If my bank details including account details were shared broadly there is a risk that my account could be hacked.

    When we obtain information about a tenant from another agency the tenants are required to sign that they agree for information to be shared on a needs to know basis. Before we act as a reference for a tenant we also disclose to the tenant what we will be sharing with the other agency - the facts - the positives and if there is a poor history we inform the tenant that we are ethically obliged to give the other agency the facts about their history. We work to ensure transparent practices always.
     
    Last edited: 28th Apr, 2016
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