Property management is the art and science of managing three primary resources property, people and money critical to the success of business, occupants and investors. It is both an art and a science that requires extensive knowledge, skills and efficient systems. This is not only needed to administer a property, but also to manage its cycle from acquisition of a tenant to disposition. Disposition is defined as the act of transferring or relinquishing of that property to another’s care or possession usually by deed or will.
Just Property (previously known as Just Letting) is the expert and leader in the South African property management field by a country mile. Their experience surpasses many ‘newbie’ property managers and big brand operators wanting to shift their focus from property sales to rentals to supplement their regular monthly property sales income shortfalls.
Shaun du Bois is the Principal of Just Property Pietermaritzburg with more than 10 years experience in the property management game. Shaun says, ‘The challenge for property managers’ is keeping all the resources working in unison to make a working recipe of successful property management.’
The first resource is managing the property. This tends to get ignored until there is a large maintenance problem or issue that will limit the ability to rent out the property. Landlords should continuously perform repairs when needed and ensure that the common areas are well maintained.
The second resource, is people management and is one of the biggest challenges according to du Bois, which is trying to keep two parties happy i.e. the landlord and secondly the tenant. According to du Bois, ‘today the tenant sometimes feel that they hold more rights than the landlord because of the intricacies of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and they get told that often from various tenants.’ Many tenants try and break the lease and then they ask the question, ‘what is the point of a lease anyway?’ According to the Rental Housing Act of 2014 it is compulsory for all leases to be reduced to writing and that certain provisions must be contained therein. ‘It is a criminal offence not to comply,’ says Simon Craig of Stowells & Company attorneys and conveyancers.
The last resource is money. There are 3 things the tenant must fulfill to ensure that qualifies him as a good tenant:
Shaun says, ‘The most important aspect of property management of money is securing a deposit before the tenants move in which is top of the list.’ He says, ‘many tenants sometimes struggle to raise deposits. He says it is not wise to place a tenant without an upfront deposit.’ He goes to say that tenants target private landlords that don’t have access to vetting resources and who don’t follow proper procedures. The costs of a bad tenant defaulting and not paying rent, damaging property and a tenant that now needs to be evicted can make the property management fee a landlord has to pay miniscule.
However, there is also a way to protect landlord risks of no deposits with rental guarantee products that reduce the risk. This cover is for the cost of the tenant and is part of the rental.
Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property says that, it is rare to find property managers that are able to manage all three resources effectively all the time. At Just Property we strive for continuous improvement and pride ourselves on getting it right most of the time. We use impactful property management principles and implement the best systems that we have acquired over many years.
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