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Ch-ch-ch-changes: 21 years in property management

By David Kneebone on 2021-07-21

Jo Mccurdy 2

 

As we march forward into the second half of the year, it’s also a good time to reflect on where we’re at. If you follow our Lodge City Rentals LinkedIn page (which I would recommend), we decided to look back on what we’d achieved over the month of June:

 

Number of new tenancies signed: 145

Number of tenancies commenced: 94

Number of tenant enquiries: 3,582

Number of tenancy applications: 784

 

As you can see, we’re certainly keeping busy! Plus, stories like this one that came out around the latest Healthy Homes deadline on July 1 help with the busy-ness, showing why it’s much more beneficial to have property management experts on your side to navigate the legislation.

 

On another note, for this blog we thought we’d do something a little different. We have recently farewelled one of our long-standing property managers, Jo McCurdy, who is leaving to move to the coast after 21 years with our team.

 

As part of her leaving celebrations, we sat down and had a chat with Jo about how property management has changed over her 21 years, from processes to regulation, and why she loves the job.

 

From Jo’s perspective

 

As you can imagine, over my time as a property manager I’ve seen many areas of the industry transform, some positively and some perhaps not so much. On the ‘not-so-much’, I worked through the industry being deregulated in 2008, and how that changed the public and industry perception of property managers.

 

Before I came to Lodge, I worked at the Tenancy Tribunal so was well-versed in how it worked. After a few years in property management (and after deregulation), I saw the attitudes of the Tribunal adjudicators change significantly, with them actively pushing less and less for landlords to go to property managers to ensure their properties were managed professionally and correctly.

 

The negative media that landlords and property managers get doesn’t tend to help with reputation, with the few rogue operators bringing down our otherwise reputable industry where most do things the professional way.

 

Until the industry does become regulated again, at Lodge we have continued to operate as if we were in a regulated market, to ensure we maintain a high standard. For example, we still operate an audited trust account for rents collected and all Lodge staff are fully trained and qualified, neither of which are currently mandatory but are important aspects of property management.

I sat the qualification after many years in the industry, and I still learned quite a bit from it; it’s certainly provides a rigorous education. I think regulation and education, like real estate agents have to complete, will do much to increase the respect given to the property management industry.

 

Technology and our processes have definitely evolved over my time; we now have viewing trackers and tenancy portals for applications, and the way we do tenancy checks has changed to keep pace with evolving privacy laws.

 

Just like the cost of anything, I’ve seen rents increase. Looking back at my notes, we used to routinely rent a one-bedroom flat for $70 or $80 a week, whereas now you are unlikely to get the same property for under $270. I would say it’s all relative, as the value of houses has increased, as well as the cost of compliance and the balance of supply and demand. While Hamilton has without doubt expanded over the last 20 years, if you’re a good tenant, you will still get a property.

 

Throughout my time, I’ve always strived to do my best by my landlords and tenants. A property manager’s responsibility is to get the best tenants for our owners, who will look after their properties as their own. I would often say to my owners that it’s better to have your house empty an extra week, than put the wrong tenants in.

 

I feel like I’ve grown older with a lot of my landlords and tenants, and this did mean I had mixed emotions about leaving, as I’ve developed great relationships with many. I think this is due to the mutual respect we have for one another; I’ve respected the tenants, so they respect me and are great renters, so the owner wins.

 

This comes back to why I have enjoyed working in property management all these years: the people. I love getting good outcomes for my owners, getting to know them really well and gaining their trust to let me get on with the job. It’s been exciting to see my portfolio grow, and owners buying their second or third investment properties as they knew I would look after them well.

 

Another draw is that no two days are alike, and just when you think you’ve seen it all something else comes long! It’s definitely a diverse job, and I enjoyed helping out my colleagues with their tricky situations.

 

There’s also a reason I’ve stayed with Lodge so long; the company knows how to value their staff, giving us the freedom and trust to get the job done.

 

One thing that hasn’t changed over my 21 years in property management: our owner clients continue to enjoy terrific returns on their investment. The portfolio has actually increased by over $1 billion since I started!

 

A note from David and Jason

 

While we’re sad to see one of our best leave the team, we wish Jo well on her next phase.

 

As always, do reach out to us if you’d like to chat about anything to do with property management – we’re here to help.

 

David Kneebone

Director, Lodge City Rentals

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