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Tuesday, 04 January 2005

On quality property management (or the myth thereof)

As a rental property owner, one of my pet peeves is crap property management. You fork out the bucks for a property, you entrust the management of it to a company, and they take a not inconsequential slice of the rent each week, and you just don't get any quality. And you're the paying customer. I shudder to think how they look after the tenant.

So as a tenant, when I get what I consider to be a shoddy customer experience, I get equally irate. Like today.

Today we went in to sign the lease for the townhouse we're going to rent. We don't get it until the 14th, but we signed the lease and handed over the bond today. We went to the office of the real estate agent who is doing the property management in our lunch break and met the property manager. He was alright. He asked us how much time we had, and I indicated I'd only paid for 20 minutes parking, and so he whizzed through the lease reasonably quickly. It was a standard ACT Residential Tenancy Agreement, so that wasn't an issue.

They preferred to have the rent paid by direct debit, and this is where I started to get disappointed by their setup. They couldn't cope with us electronically transferring the rent to their bank account, it had to be them sucking it from our bank account. They couldn't cope with sucking from two bank accounts, it had to be just one. They only suck the money out on the Tuesday after the rent is due, not on the day it's due, and if the Tuesday in question happens to not be a business day, they suck the following Tuesday. If the direct debit is dishonoured for whatever reason, they try again the following Tuesday, then they cancel it and get in touch. (We're paying fortnightly). So that's the main gripe, their payment options suck big time (no pun intended). The only other option is cash over the counter. After having paid electronically for probably the last 2 years, I have no desire to darken the door of the real estate office ever again. I might be inclined to give them a piece of my mind or something. Give me BPay or at least the ability to do a direct deposit puhleaze.

The property manager went to get the receptionist to process the bond receipt while we were still signing paperwork and filling out forms, so that the receipt would be ready on the way out. So when we're ready to leave, we get back to the reception desk, and the receptionist has been too busy gasbagging to someone else about her Christmas to have actually started processing the bond. She then proceeds to stuff up the receipt multiple times, processing it as a rent payment, getting the amount wrong, having to reverse transactions etc before a correct receipt is printed.

It's pretty obvious that all the awards that they like to brag about receiving are for sales and not for property management.

This is where I have one of my pipedream business ideas - a property management company that deals specifically in quality property management, and looks after the tenants. I envisage something like allhomes, but where tenants can apply online, landlords can view applications and comment on them, landlords can see property reports. I was thinking of something where the company could negotiate good rates with painters, plumbers, tradespeople in general, and get quality repair work done when required. Perhaps call centre driven. I had a creative thought tonight about using VoIP and having a distributed call centre of property managers working from home. Like all of my pipedream business ideas, I lack the guts and motivation to put my money where my mouth is and take it anywhere though...

[03:46] [rant] [permalink]

Dude, where's my Synaptic toolbar?

So I fired up synaptic today for my daily dist-upgrade, and immediately noticed that something was missing... Seems I have been bitten by #288445. I hope someone figures out what the problem is...

[00:48] [debian] [permalink]