Now here’s a turn up for the books. I recently signed off on a tenancy that’s just finished. I dropped by the property, did an exterior check and met the tenant. We went inside and completed a full tour of the place, making sure everything was ok.
No problems or issues at all – happy outgoing tenant, happy property manager (me). So far so good.
Other Side of the Equation
So we get down to the nitty-gritty of signing off on the bond. I already have a prepared bond refund form with everything filled out except the tenant’s bank account. Only this time the tenant wants me to complete the ‘Old Landlord’ section of her bond transfer form.
On the other side of this equation, it’s a practice of our property managers to not accept a promised bond transfer before giving new tenants the keys to a property. Why? Well, that would mean the incoming tenant has control of the property before paying a bond to us. It also means the incoming tenant’s old landlord has signatory control over a bond that may mean we don’t get the full bond. In short, it’s not a great position to be in as a landlord.
The Golden Rule
No bond, no deal. Show me the money.
I casually expressed mild surprise to my tenant and asked her who her new landlord is. When she told me, I have to say I was surprised. I know this Property Management Company, and I thought back over the last few weeks from when my outgoing tenant gave us notice to end the tenancy.
Funny though, I don’t remember them calling us for a reference on this tenant. I asked my tenant, and she said “No they didn’t actually seem to call any of our references. Maybe they thought we were just nice people.”
Hmmm…..maybe they did. (Incidentally, they are, but that’s beside the point). Or maybe they need a swift kick up the bum for not following up on references. It’s such a fundamental process. It’s essential to quality Property Management, and serves as a protection for the owner of the property. It’s not rocket science – a few phone calls, a detailed search of selected databases, and an advanced Google search usually turns out any skeletons.
To NOT do any form of reference check and just take a tenant on because “they seemed such nice people” is brain dead in the extreme. It got me thinking though.
Back in the Office
I did a little checking, and here’s what I found. Over the most recent twenty tenancies, we’ve checked at least three or four references on each incoming new tenant. For the corresponding outgoing tenants, we’ve had only ONE call from another landlord asking for a reference from us. For the others – NOTHING!
Reference checks are SO IMPORTANT!!!!! I can’t stress enough how important it is to know as much as possible about the tenant you’re about to hand over keys to. Especially if it’s someone’s investment property. My clients rely on me and my team to look after their capital asset to a high degree, and not checking up on a (prospective) new tenant is simply plain stupidity masquerading as service.
There. I’ve said my piece. Now visit the website to find out more about how we go about looking after your investment property: managemyproperty.co.nz