Suzie Hamilton-Flanagan, head of property management at BresicWhitney in Sydney
Suzie recently recorded a video for Elite Agent where she shared advice on personal safety after nearly losing her toe during an open inspection she attended. Watch it in full here.
She explained: “I was marketing some properties on the beachfront and in the urgency to get out I pushed the door off the sliding rail and it landed on my foot. I had opened-toe shoes and I was in crisis mode.
“I went to the hospital and was told I may lose my big toe which meant I may never walk again or be able to work in real estate again. The lessons I learnt was that you’ve got to manage your risk and own personal safety at an open inspection.”
BresicWhitney has a three-tiered structure for its property management services and each has a team leader who supports the day-to -day activities of their team, including their personal safety.
Suzie says that each team member must put every appointment they have in their Outlook email diary, so the team leaders know where they are at all times.
She added: “We have a duty of care to know where our staff are at all times and manage risk on a day by day basis. We always ask for our staff to let their team leaders know of situations where there could be the risk of an alteration. In these situations, we would send two people attend an appointment to support each other.
“The team leader also holds weekly meetings with their team and will use case studies and provide training on how best to handle difficult situations.
“If there is an aggressive tenant we always advise our team not to go on their own, and if they feel uncomfortable to leave immediately and not hesitate to call the police.”
John Gilmovich, Director of Property Management at Coopers Agency
“A property manager is exposed to many elements of high risks including personal injury, planned assault, third party (prospective tenants) altercations, theft or breakage, slip and fall incidents, security compromises and even accidents getting to and from appointments
“As a result, we have a written policy and procedure which we reiterate at team meetings. For new staff new to the industry we also have a senior staff member go out and go through a full demonstration of how to conduct an open house and point out the dangers.
“It’s also important for the licensee in charge, the team leader and the receptionist know the movement of each staff member and if/when they are returning to the office. Our property managers use a shared calendar where they must insert the locations of their open homes and outside office appointments.”
John added his three top tips for property managers to avoid injury are:
1. Concentrate at opens on everything that occurs around you, including yourself. Don’t get distracted when opening/closing doors, windows, walking down stairs etc
2. Carry a first aid kit in your car.
3. Worry about your health first, not opens.
Michelle McLean, Senior Property Manager at Leah Jay in the Hunter region
Leah Jay began using the StaySafe app in December 2017 to help improve the safety of their staff. The company purchased wearable buttons which monitor the location of their property managers in real-time when they self-initiate a session and allows them to check-out safely once they have finished.
If a worker feels unsafe they simply need to hold the button down for three seconds and it sends a discreet panic alert to their HR team. Find out more about the device here.
Michelle said: “Our staff are very supportive of the devices because they appreciate it is to help them stay safe. We have a set of procedures in place on how to use it and how we respond to certain situations.
“We always provide a safety induction to our staff and have weekly meetings where we can discuss any problems and what to do and what not to do.
“It is essential that if any of our property managers ever feel unsafe that they remove themselves from the situation straight away.”