We teach our children not to approach or speak to strangers. Yet property managers potentially put themselves at risk every day when conducting ingoing, outgoing, routine inspections and even potential listing appraisals. To do your job, you must enter the property and, if you are on your own, this can present certain safety risks, especially if you find yourself alone in a property with a tenant or landlord who may or may not be known to you. Furthermore, there could be other potential hazards like the possibility of an unsecured animal attack or a fall due to a slippery surface. So what can you do to keep yourself safe while performing your job?
A few years ago in Western Australia, a tenant was charged with aggravated assault after attacking a property manager who was conducting an outgoing inspection. The tenant, who had a history of agitation, became frustrated when it was explained to him that he couldn’t collect bond monies on the day of vacating the property. There have also been reported cases where property managers have been attacked by dogs during routine visits.
This information is not meant to alarm you only to make you aware that, like all professions, property management has potential safety risks. The key is to understand the risks and be equipped to handle them.
For starters, be aware that when you set foot on a premises, it is a workplace. Just as a tenant has a right to be safe in their home, you have a right to be safe at work and your employer has an obligation to take safety practices seriously.
While a common sense approach is important, below are some tips to staying safe when conducting property inspections:
- Always be aware of your surroundings and those around you.
- Whenever possible, meet at the office.
- Trust your gut – if it doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts.
- Always let another staff member know where you are going and when you expect to return to the office.
- Bring a colleague with you if possible.
- Only show properties and conduct inspections during daylight hours.
- Ensure curtains and blinds are open when inside a property.
- Always take a fully charged mobile phone with you.
- If you see an unsecured animal on the premises, don’t enter until the animal has been secured.
Legally, it is the principal’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace environment for staff and this includes out of office locations.
Technology can be a great way to boost safety for property managers. InspectSafe is the industry’s leading inspection safety app. Designed for installation on tablets or smartphones, the app features in-built GPS tracking and distress alerts to keep you safe with the added bonus of allowing you to capture and facilitate maintenance tasks during ingoing, outgoing and routine inspections.
Deanne Lamprey, Managing Director at First National Real Estate, Upper Burnie in Tasmania says, “The safety features on InspectSafe ensure my team feel safe and secure when out in the field and the time we have saved using it is remarkable.”
The bottom line is this: as a property manager, efficiency might be expected but your safety is paramount.
Request a demonstration of InspectSafe today.