Workplace safety is of paramount importance in every job, and the property management field is no different. There are dozens of property manager safety tips that you can find online, which can help you stay safe when you’re doing your daily tasks.
So let’s not waste any more time and jump straight into the 9 tips we thought were the most important for any property manager to know.
Learn as much about your client as possible
Make sure that you gather information on any client or potential client that you’re in communication with. This may involve either contacting the people that referred them, contacting tenants’ old landlords, or calling property managers that might have worked with them in the past.
You might also want to ask them for a copy of their ID before you go with them to view a property. If they are hesitant to do so and something feels off, then there’s no reason to potentially endanger yourself by meeting with someone that you have a bad feeling about.
Meet on your own terms
Always hold the first meeting with clients and potential tenants in your office. Vet them on your home turf where you feel the most comfortable and in control. If everything seems right, then you can go ahead and schedule other meetings afterward.
If you feel comfortable enough, you can hold the following meetings outside of the office, but under no circumstances should you meet with clients at night. This especially applies for property viewings. You can simply dodge clients who want to meet at night for any reason by either telling them that they won’t be able to see the property well at night, that it’s only available during the day, or by using any other excuse that you can think of.
Proper shoes are a must
A lot of clients are likely going to have untrained pets in their yards or apartments, which they might neglect to tell you about. While this may be just a simple oversight on their part, it could potentially lead to you getting harmed if the pet in question lunges and you don’t have the appropriate footwear to make a hasty retreat.
Aside from pets, when overviewing regularly scheduled maintenance, or basically any task that takes you out of the office, it’s very important to be comfortable while on your feet. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep a spare pair of sneakers in your car, or simply come to work in more appropriate footwear on days when you know you’re going to be mostly out of the office.
Pay attention to what you say
There are going to be cases where clients may start asking overly intrusive questions. Regardless if they ask about the company’s security measures and availability, or even uncomfortably personal questions, you might spot a weird change in conversation topics.
Make sure to inform them of the essentials that every potential tenant/landlord should know, but avoid topics on confidential information and your personal life. Also, if you have an uneasy feeling, inform others in your office as well.
Make sure everyone knows where you are
We would recommend that you always post your schedule on a board in the office, or keep your Google Calendar updated, so that your co-workers know where you are at all times.
Also, before going on a property viewing or to conduct a scheduled maintenance check, make sure to inform your superiors and colleagues of the exact address you’ll be at and who you’re going with.
It’s also advised that you call them when you get to the location of the viewing or inspection and ask your colleagues to phone you every 15-20 minutes or so. This way, if something does go wrong and you can’t get to the phone yourself, they can take appropriate action.
Another option is to use Google Maps’ live location feature which allows you to easily share your whereabouts with your colleagues.
Agree on a code word that you can use
You and your colleagues need to develop a phrase that you can say in order to discreetly signal that you’re in distress without having to say it outright. This is very useful when you have loud or aggressive clients, and you’re scared to escalate the situation by bluntly telling people on the phone what exactly is going on.
Instead, you can simply try to remain calm, lead the conversation in a way that will allow you to call the office under some pretense like getting more information, and use the codeword. While on the phone, you can say something like – “Is the green file on my desk?”, and your colleagues having heard the code “green file” will know to contact the authorities or take action.
Your phone is your most important tool
Make sure that your phone battery is always at a hundred percent and that you have a charger in your car or desk. Always check to see if a certain area has good reception and be aware of whether a property has some sort of interference that might give you a bad signal.
Save all of your reliable personal contacts and emergency service numbers to your speed dial settings so that you can have easy access to them whenever you need them. Additionally, you might also want to look into installing some kind of an alarm app that can contact the appropriate people after you press a certain input.
Have an exit strategy
Before conducting a property viewing, it might be a good idea to go to the location ahead of time and get a better sense of where everything is. This way you’ll know how you can park your car when you return for the viewing in order to avoid getting boxed in and ensure that you can make a speedy getaway if necessary.
Aside from the parking, while you’re on the property with a potential tenant, try to stay by the door and allow them to show themselves around. Avoid going into basements or closets, memorize where all of the exits are, and if possible, make sure that the person you’re with always remains in front of you.
Trust your instincts
There will be situations where you’re going to get a bad feeling about a certain client or property and you can’t quite figure out why. Even if you’re sure that all of the paperwork is in order and that the client didn’t lie during any of your meetings, you might still have your doubts because of one reason or another.
In cases like these, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry. Always make sure to take any and all precautions that you might deem necessary and even ask a colleague to accompany you when you need to head out of the office. It’s better to trust your gut feeling and do your job on terms that are comfortable to you.
Here’s a short recap of the property manager safety tips we think are essential:
- Don’t meet with clients that you know nothing about, especially in locations that they decided on;
- Carefully choose your footwear;
- Learn to rely on your coworkers and always tell them where you are, where you’re going, and the distress phrase that you’re going to use;
- Never go anywhere without your phone;
- Be aware of your surroundings;
- Believe in yourself when your gut is telling you that something is wrong.