As the Brisbane rental crisis continues, it’s becoming a property management nightmare, with manager’s facing violence, threats, and mass resignations.

Suzana Wade, Principal of Locate Property   and one of Brisbane’s top property managers, gives us her take on the current state of the rental industry, the crisis, and the little-known impact that is having on the property managers in Brisbane. Suzana provides insight into how she is using her platform as a Locate Property Principal to help investors and renters navigate difficult times in a way that mitigates hostile behaviour towards property managers.

The latest estimate predicts one in four property managers will leave the field over the next five years due to excessive workloads and the possibility of verbal and physical violence just for carrying out their duties.

As rental vacancy rates continue to drop to historically low levels, property managers are being singled out as the scapegoats for the growing tension from many frustrated Queensland renters. For many it has become a property management nightmare as managers are forced to manage the immense pressure to balance the conflicting demands for involved. Tenants are fighting to maintain a roof over their heads, and landlords are being criticised for raising rental fees as they fight against increased expenses.

Concerning accusations of verbal and physical abuse aimed at property managers have been brought to the attention of Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) CEO Antonia Mercorella. These reports have led to “high levels of stress in the sector, and mass resignations.”

According to Ms Mercorella, property managers sometimes suffer unjust criticism from the community and are blamed unfairly for the situation of the market because they work directly with tenants.

Since women make up the majority of the workforce in the property management sector, there have been alarming reports of verbal and, in some cases, physical abuse directed at property managers as they go about their daily duties trying to protect both tenants’ and property owners’ best interests.

Property managers bear a legal and fiduciary responsibility to their clientele to ensure they always have access to precise and current details regarding rental terms and market rates. Between desperate tenants and landlords are property managers. Property managers are in direct contact with tenants and growing tenant pressures can put pressure on managers.

According to Ms. Mercorella, since Covid’s eviction moratorium rules, property managers have also had to deal with a markedly heavier workload. A recent wave of legislative changes that have made their job even more difficult have increased this burden. One of these regulations limited rent hikes to once every 12 months, and it went into effect on July 1.

Due to increased interest rates, landlords are also facing financial pressure. Landlords are wanting larger returns to counteract ongoing interest rate increases and tenants who faced significant rent increases were pulling in conflicting ways forcing property managers to mediate pressure from both parties.

According to The Voice of the Property Manager in 2022, a poll of property managers in Australia revealed that 23% planned to leave their positions within a year, while the job search platform Seek was at the time advertising around 4,500 positions.

Property management can be a very demanding role as managers have to deal with both owner and tenant, and dealing with someone’s house and shelter—as well as their investment, which are very important to both parties—often involves emotional turmoil.

As an experienced property manager and Principal of Locate Property Brisbane, the current escalation of issues in the property management sector isn’t a new problem to me; it is an old problem resurfacing due to new pressures. The key is supporting the newer members of the workforce and ensuring that the culture that we create at work is as supportive and positive as possible. We are a team, and the newer members need strong leaders to help them navigate these new times.

Many real estate businesses see property management as a secondary element of their business and often overload their managers with too many properties and not enough resources. This can lead to burnout for manager, but it also gives us a clear vision of how current issues in real estate have escalated to the point of verbal abuse and even threats of violence.

When managers have too many properties to manage, they are more likely to have a breakdown in their relationship with both owners and tenants. When tenants aren’t consistently heard from and understood, it becomes impossible to honour the financial requirements of owners in a way that will work for both parties.

When managers are restricted to an appropriate amount of properties it becomes much easier for them to provide the best possible solutions for both owner and tenant. They can be aware of growing tensions before they escalate and they can proactively work towards optimal outcomes for all involved.

At Locate we have been able to navigate a lot of the issues facing the property management sector, because the underlying factors causing the property management nightmare are core elements of how I run Locate, ensuring managers are given the resources to expertly cater to all of our owners and tenants.

Suzana Wade is a leading authority in the real estate in Brisbane, particularly in the Property Management industry and has been voted as Brisbane’s best property manager. For further advice and insights into Brisbane Property Management you can contact Suzana Wade HEREYou can also keep up to date with the latest resources for both investors and tenants in Brisbane through REIQ