When is it OK to break up with your landlord?

When is it OK to break up with your landlord?


When a property investor engages you to manage their property on their behalf it’s a lot like entering into a relationship. There is trust on both sides that each will do the right thing by the other. But just as any personal relationship can break down, so too can the relationship between property manager and landlord. Is it ever okay to terminate an agreement with a landlord? Or do you just have to put up with negative behaviour and non-compliance and soldier on?

In a perfect world, all landlords would realise that investing in property is just like investing in a business. They would take a businesslike approach to managing their property and understand the need to provide a safe living environment for their tenant. They would also appreciate the value of keeping on top of maintenance and repairs.

A landlord has a duty of care to provide a safe environment for tenants

Not only is tenant safety a landlord’s duty of care, but by addressing repair and maintenance issues as they arise, landlords will find that they will attract high quality tenants who are more likely to look after the property well (good for future capital gain potential). Those tenants would also be more likely to stay, reducing vacancy periods (providing a more secure regular income). These points should form part of your negotiation with an unreasonable landlord who refuses to approve necessary work on the property.

What if a landlord fails to comply?

If you are constantly having to ask a landlord to respond to maintenance or repair requests and getting either no response or an answer of “no” every time, ask yourself:

  • Am I spending more time trying to negotiate with the landlord than the agency is making in revenue from the management?
  • Am I copping abuse or unacceptable behaviour from this landlord?
  • Is the amount of time I am spending chasing this landlord taking me away from delivering quality service to other landlords?
  • Is the landlord’s failure to comply putting the tenant’s safety and my/the agency’s reputation at risk?

If you answered yes to even one of the above questions and you have been unsuccessful in any negotiation attempt to come to a satisfactory resolution, then terminating their agreement with your agency may be a reasonable thing to do, subject to principal approval.

So how do you present a case for termination to your principal? Maintenance Manager can help here. The audit trails in the system will help you build a case against a difficult, non-compliant landlord to present to your principal when discussing the possibility of termination. The audit trail demonstrates the number of times you have followed up on a maintenance or repair request, how many requests are still open (yet to be actioned), and any other notes relating to your interactions with the landlord.

If, against all advice and despite your best attempts at negotiation, the landlord still refuses to comply with requests, the best thing to do would be to politely end the relationship, if your principal approves.

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