Recently, a friend of the EAC told us about a difficult situation she had encountered as a landlord.
After purchasing her first investment, she selected her tenants based on all the right checks and the tenancy began. Less than six months in (pre-Covid), the tenant stopped paying rent.
The landlord, with the assistance of the property manager, went to tribunal, where, not surprisingly, the tenant was put on a payment plan.
The tenant came good for a while, but defaulted on the payment plan, stopped paying rent again and stopped looking after the house.
In addition to paying the mortgage, the landlord now had to pay fortnightly gardeners, so the house didn’t become a fire hazard.
Applying Covid rules, the property manager issued 90 days’ notice of the end of the tenancy agreement and a date for the tenant to move out and hand over keys.
But the tenant didn’t move out.
Following an application to NCAT and a long wait, the tenant and property manager again appeared before the tribunal, with an eviction date set several weeks later.
At the eviction date, the tenant didn’t move out.
Several weeks later, with a delay due to the holiday season, the sheriff finally arrived to remove the tenant and the locks were changed.
The landlord then had the frustrating task of removing the tenant’s belongings and storing them for the required period or until they were claimed.
All up, the landlord was out more than $10,000, with only a fraction of this covered by insurance and the normal upgrades to the house to be made as well.
Needless to say, our landlord in this story has been through the ringer.
She told us she was frustrated, let down by the system and had felt helpless to sit by and watch as the tenant let her investment deteriorate.
Perhaps the surprising ending to this story, is that our landlord decided, with absolutely no hesitation at all, to stick with the same property manager who had looked after the property, when leasing the property the next time.
Why did she make that decision?
Not only had this property manager provided an above and beyond service, his ability to listen, understand and help find solutions through a very difficult period, was second-to-none.
This was a truly emotionally intelligent property manager.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence is a person’s ability to understand and manage their emotions in a way that helps them genuinely empathise with others, communicate more effectively, deal with conflict and find solutions to problems.
It enables people to build stronger relationships because you can more easily understand and relate to what the other person is thinking and feeling, and you can also better manage the emotions of people you are communicating with.
Research suggests emotional intelligence may be strongly influenced by early childhood experience and even by genetics, with many arguing you are ‘born with it’ rather than it being a learned skill.
That being said, emotional intelligence is something that can be improved with training and practice.
The best property managers have high emotional intelligence
Needless to say, property management (PM) can be a challenging field.
PMs work with a diverse range of people, with different needs and motivations, backgrounds and emotional states.
They work in a competitive environment, especially in periods of low vacancy, and a space in which managing conflict or issues is often a day-to-day requirement of the job.
To do this most effectively, a property manager will have high emotional intelligence.
So, what does that mean in a real estate context and what does it look like in action?
Self-awareness is one of the five key elements in emotional awareness. It is your ability to not only know and acknowledge how you are feeling about a particular situation, person or set of circumstances, but to understand how your emotions might affect other people involved.
In property management, this might mean being able to put aside your own frustrations or even rationalise them, so you can focus on meeting your landlord or vendors’ needs in that moment.
Taking a step further, self-regulation is your ability to keep your emotions in check. It doesn’t mean not feeling or stopping yourself from having an emotion, it means being in control of your response.
When our landlord’s property manager didn’t come away with the result he wanted at tribunal, he would have been frustrated and disappointed.
But when he spoke to the landlord, he knew she would also be frustrated and becoming increasingly concerned, so he had next steps all planned out, so he could reassure her.
Having that plan in place, brings us nicely to motivation – more precisely, self-motivation.
Emotionally intelligent people are known for setting goals, working steadily towards them, and setting high standards for themselves.
The need for self-motivation in property management can’t be understated.
In a challenging role like PM, often comes moments of feeling deflated, overwhelmed and discouraged – the situation we have described is the perfect example.
A good property manager researches and plans their next steps, bringing in external expertise as needed, and then kicks into gear, delivering on that plan.
Property Managers deal with a lot of situations that can be emotional for the people they are working with.
Sometimes, they have to deliver bad news, like in the case we have outlined in this article.
Other times, they are helping someone find a home after a divorce or break up, death or even a situation of domestic violence.
The ability to put themselves in the shoes of the person they are supporting, enables them to better understand and meet their needs, and communicate with them in a way that will resonate.
It never hurts for a PM to be a little charismatic, or to be able to communicate in such a way that a potential tenant is really taken along for the ride, falling in love with the property on offer.
Strong social skills allow an emotionally intelligent property manager to communicate more clearly and with ease, building better and longer-term relationships.
Property Management is a relationship-building field, so the better your emotional intelligence, likely the more success you will experience.
Emotional intelligence courses are available online, but if you can, find a face-to-face and learn in a room full of your peers!