We are approaching our typical 'busy season' and activity in the market has ramped up another notch (our vacancy rate has halved in just two weeks sitting now at 0.59%!). Whilst we absolutely love this time of year, it was a different shift that has really intrigued me.
An Information Paper from the Consumer and Business Services has proposed changes in the tenancy sector on the issue of domestic violence.
What really resonated with me was the fundamental shift of what it means to be an investor in 2016. Tenants' safety is at the forefront of these changes. In 30 years of our business, we have never seen such emphasis placed on this.
Frankly, I feel it is for the better. But the added responsibility on the owner increases the need for agents to be more than just rent collectors. Real estate agents need to have more involvement in safety, legal obligations and the law, building maintenance as well as response times and audit trails. If not, then everyone is at risk.
As a property investor myself, achieving optimal returns on your investment(s) is absolutely essential, but cutting corners and taking cheap options do not optimise your investment. You get into the investing space to make money, and increasingly that involves spending more on maintaining a safe well-maintained living environment. The fact is that tenants also have key objectives, and top of the list is for them to feel safe in their home.
If you understand this you will attract quality tenants who want to stay in your property... for longer. Quality tenants who are loyal and long-term will have a significant and positive impact on your bottom line, far outweighing the replacement cost of a faulty light switch or smoke alarm. Our seasoned investors are also giving us this direct feedback.
As managing agents, our role is to help landlords ensure their property is a safe place for their tenants. This goes to the very core items such as the faulty gas stove being repaired urgently or offering Compliance & Preventative packages at the best prices. And if things are not acted upon swiftly, there is absolute accountability.
Further changes are in the pipeline, and it's only a matter of time before they enter the residential investment space (asbestos is one area that immediately comes to mind).
Consumers do expect more. But it's the way you go about addressing these changes that makes a positive difference to your bottom line.
The good news is that there are agents operating ahead of this change. Well-managed investment properties are performing financially and this is set to continue for medium and long term investors.