Number 5 in a series of short articles on for investors on What Good Property Managers Do by a Victorian educator/real estate agent.
A good property manager knows the importance of managing the risk associated with keys on behalf of the landlord.
One of the most basic actions to do this is to have a system of managing the keys. It is a shock sometimes to see real estate agencies with bunches of keys with address tags on them.
A good property manager ensures that there are no keys with addresses attached. There will be a numbering system recorded within the managing software.
There have been numerous reports of real estate agencies having a break-in and having keys stolen. Imagine the costs associated with having to change the locks for lots and lots of properties. If the agency can't manage the risk to their own business are you going to trust them to manage the risks associated with managing your investment property?
A good property manager will not hand out keys for prospective tenants to view a property without any supervision from the property manager. Keys, which are not security keys can be copied easily.
A good property manager will advise the landlord to have all keys made into keys, which cannot be copied without permission. The optimum system is to have the secure keys numbered and if the tenant does not return each numbered key then the tenant is responsible for paying for a new set. This is an expensive exercise to establish if there are a lot of doors to a property but it is the only way to guarantee that there are not keys to the property floating around. After the initial cost then tenants will fund any changes.
A good property manager understands that there have been reported cases of stalking by previous tenants. Even if tenants say they are returning all their copies there is no way of proving this unless they are numbered security keys.
The important point to make here is that if the keys are not security keys - i.e. keys that cannot be copied with the permission of the person registering the keys with locksmith, no-one knows how many copies are floating around.
A young woman moves into an apartment. The property manager gives her a set of keys. She feels uncomfortable in the apartment when she comes home from work as she has the sense that someone has been in there or something just feels wrong. This sense of unease comes back a couple of times over the next couple of weeks. Then one day a person actually enters her apartment when she is home. He gets away but she knows he used a key to gain entry. In this case the police did track down the intruder and it turned out to be a previous tenant.
If there were to be any kind of assault or theft because of copies of keys not returned there could well be legal ramifications for the landlord. A good property manager will always be looking to avoid any liability for their landlord.
Make sure you choose a good property manager.
Toni Planinsek, principal of Planinsek Property Group, is happy to answer any queries through social media - Facebook and LinkedIn. She has prepared some free offers to help you on your road to becoming a successful property investor. To access yours go to www.toniplaninsek.com.au