Archive for January, 2011
Well I know I’m a couple of weeks behind the times but Happy New Year!!!
2011 Feels like a great year. I don’t know why but I forever struggled with writing “2010″. I always seemed to write “2009″. But 2011!!! Wow! That just rolls off my pen tip. I have great expectations for 2011.
It’s certainly off to a great start. The other night I went to the opening of a photography display. It was titled Portraits of Strength by New Zealand photographer Damien Nikora. In a stunning display of love, a very talented young man has managed to build an incredible foundation of trust with 11 women, all of whom have suffered with breast cancer. I am genuinely moved by the talent and humanity in this man. BS would have got him no where. He must have been gentle, authentic, compassionate and still. He must have become a safe place for these ladies to fall into. Quite a feat I believe.
Around the walls were 11 large photos of these beautiful women from the waist up, wearing nothing but their dignity. You could see the scars on their bodies and their emotional scars reflected in their eyes. Funny how the damage to flesh and skin did not hold my attention anywhere near the way their eyes did. Gazing up into their eyes I became very present to their pain, fear, anger. I also saw defiance, hope, joy and acceptance. It was a humbling exhibition.
Isn’t it funny. If people will just allow you to look, to honestly slow down enough to look into their eyes, and yes, even in a photo, you can get a sense of who they really are in that moment.
I guess this stood out for me last night because before I had left work I spent some time with a potential tenant who not only wouldn’t meet my eyes, but he wouldn’t slow his speaking or allow me the opportunity to jump on in to the supposed two-way conversation “we” were having. And I thought at the time, “Dude! I can see who you are trying to convince both yourself and me that you are, but gosh, slow down, breathe, look at me, let me see you!” – I know I’m burbling now, but hey, what ya gonna do?
Sometimes we have people looking to rent through us and they won’t even take their sunglasses off while inside. I wonder if they are aware of the message it sends. I wonder if they care. I wonder what makes them want to hide themselves so completely.
What has this do to with property management? Well, honestly, not a lot.
Portraits of Strength
The exhibition is a collection of emotive portraits that aims to support and inspire women, their partners, families and friends living with breast cancer.
Portraits of Strength is a photographic exhibition and website that captures the beauty and honesty of eleven courageous women battling breast cancer. Each photograph will announce its own message to the viewer giving these women a voice to raise awareness and inspire action. ACTION is the key and reason for the exhibition.
The portraits are topless, uncovering a portion of each woman’s individual journey with breast cancer. One woman stated, “I am not an exhibitionist by nature but breast cancer is regrettably so common now, I think it’s important to cross that last frontier”.
As a photographer my goal was to photograph these women with sensitivity and earn a trust that allowed feelings of fear and vulnerability to be exchanged for empowerment and confidence.
This website is an integral part of the project. It will give everyone who attends the exhibition or the web site an opportunity to connect with each woman. Viewers can give feedback on what the exhibition impressed upon them. Please leave words of love, support and inspiration.
Find out more about the project by clicking here:
Find out more about the exhibition currently on in Whangarei by following this link:
Information sourced from Portraits of Strength website www.portraitsofstrength.com
January 26 2011 | landlords | 4 Comments »
So tell me … if you are a property manager, I challenge you, … What would you do in this situation?
You go to do a routine inspection, at a property you have on going concerns about. Every time you drive by, the curtains are shut. At inspections there is writing on the walls, damage to curtains, no holes in the wall stuff, just things that make you 14 day letter the tenant and talk to the owner about his options. But let’s be honest. It isn’t in the “preferred” part of town. It doesn’t attract top dollar, or top clientele in the best of markets. And, this is important; this tenant has NEVER been in arrears. The owner is counting on a regular income. That is a priority.
But this time, upon inspection, you find padlocks on the kitchen cupboards. You raise your eyebrows, tilt your head questionably, and ask; … “Why?” Well, you are told, because the children are stealing food (aged 8 and 2). By now you know what I’m going to say. Yip … “Hmmm…”
(Actually, I am telling you the true story as told to me by our senior Property Manager. I did the “hmmmm”ing when she was telling me the story. She was more direct … “Don’t you think it might be because they are hungry?” she said! (You GO girl!!!)
Moving along to the first bedroom. You find amongst the mess, a neatly placed blanket in the middle of the room on the floor. Your nose wrinkles, you eye the blanket suspiciously, you step forward boldly and lift the blanket. And promptly wish you hadn’t. Ahhh. That’s where the smell is coming from.
Next room: the tenants. Curtains shut, windows open, tidy and smelling ok.
Onto the last bedroom. the next child’s. A squab on the floor for a bed. And on the window sill there are not only definite signs of more excrement, but more sadly, a large gouge in the wood work. Both top and bottom. Teeth marks. Well worked into the wood, 6 to 8 inches long, both sides of the sill. Teething problems? Hunger? Boredom? Definitely not normal.
What would you do? You see property management is so much more than ensuring the rent gets paid on time. I once read an article which said property management is like a marriage. It brings out the best and the worst in a person. There is no place to hide in property management. So I am asking you: “What would you do?” (And I’m not stating here what we did or didn’t do.) What I’m offering up is the suggestion that a great property manager learns, through something akin to baptism by fire, who they really are, and what is really important to them. They get to see in black and white, what their values are, where their moral compass lies and they get to see all they can be, and sometimes, all they are too scared to be. Even if they never share what they see or the decisions they make, they have to live with their decisions and with themselves for ever. And they know their truth! And as a tenant and an investor, you can count yourself lucky if you get one that is comfortable looking themselves in a mirror.
January 19 2011 | Tenants | 1 Comment »
Far out! Can’t decide … am I in a foul mood, or am I excited?! Days like today can make me swing between sheer Nirvana, and total despair. Why? Well … what would you make of this?
“Nice” home in a “nice” suburb. No, I misspeak: “well-to-do” suburb. Current tenants give notice. One very switched on property manager gets her ducks in a row and lines up new tenants, just before Christmas I might add, and with no advertising costs for the landlord, for a property that is sufficiently far enough out of town to not be on the “hot” list for a majority of our prospective tenants. Bonus! It’s all coming together for a quick change of tenants, no additional expenses, no loss of rent. Woop Woop!! [raise palms in pumping action]
The new tenants are loooong term tenants of Allens, they have always paid their rent and expenses on time, they always look after the properties well, they always keep us informed of any maintenance issues, they are not party animals, there have never been any party/drug dramas, and they don’t annoy their neighbours … please, call me on 09 430 0075, if there is a property managers’ desired tenancy trait I am missing!
Great tenants – indeed … Oh darn, wait … I forgot to mention one thing: the husband has dreads …
So the landlord met, no, I should say: caught a glimpse of the tenant, and questions are now being asked of us … Do we really have to offer this couple a lease renewal? And how often can we do inspections?
Hmmm. … Hmmmmmmmmmmm …
Personally I would let these people rent my home. I would entrust them with my property investment, my reputation (and in the same neighbourhood). Hell – I would even let them have my teenager!
As a Property Manager myself, and as a human being, I am simply and utterly astounded. As is the Property Manager looking after this particular home. And it isn’t like we didn’t keep the owner up-to-date … we did. But we simply said, “great tenants”, “your home is in safe hands”, “your mortgage will be paid”, “the gardens will be loved” … Should it be a pre-requisite to physically describe them too?
So we discuss duty of care. Personal and company responsibility. My personal integrity mutters persistently in my ear: “take your well-to-do property and …” (well, I’m sure you know the rest). However, as always, a chat with my boss centres me – refocused, the scent of Nirvana wafts by … What if… (really, seriously) …what if we can take these people and reassure them. Protect the tenants as best we can, defend their rights, and at the same time take these owners and gently lead them to a new world … What if we can teach them about acceptance and tolerance?, What if we can teach them that it’s ok to be different?… What if we can get them to relax and breathe out – to the extent that in three months time, when an offer of renewal, or confirmation of vacate date, needs to go out, they say “yes, yes…it is ok to give them another six months”… ? How would we have changed several people’s vision on life at that point? Wouldn’t that be cool? Wouldn’t that be Nirvana?
January 11 2011 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »