Owner FAQs

To deliver a high quality service, we require accurate availability for all properties we manage. If owners are unable to fulfil requests for bookings during agreed times and/or have changes to the Property’s availability the impact is significant. Changes and cancellations are extremely disruptive and require considerable resources to effectively manage which result in costs (i.e. merchant costs, additional labour, brand damage etc).

To avoid unnecessary conflict and confusion, the following policy applies so that Property Providers and Guests are adequately and fairly protected if Owners refuse or cancel bookings.

Why choose us?

Guest and Tenant survey results and fast facts (March 2016):

  • 93% of our guests and tenants would recommend us to friends and family
  • 80% of our customers would rate our cleaning services 4 or 5 stars
  • 85% rated us 4 or 5 stars for quality properties and service
  • We have accommodated over 3500 guests and currently represent over 150 properties
  • http://www.propertyproviders.com.au/holiday/Netpromotor

Client and Owner survey results and fast facts:

  • 86% of our customer will use us again and 80% would recommend us to friends and family
  • 92% rated us good or excellent in the overall professionalism
  • 92% met or exceeded expectations as it relates to cleaning

Why use Property Providers? – Why shouldn’t I just do this myself?

  • Experience:
    Property Providers has been managing fully furnished, executive and holiday rentals since 2006. Over this time we have developed and implemented a range of successful strategies that deliver demonstrable results and effectively manage risk.
  • People:
    We have a hand-picked passionate team that we have employed from a range of industries including: Hospitality, Corporate Sales, Recruitment, Property Management & Development, Corporate Relocations and Call Centre Management.
  • Marketing Power:
    Given our high market share, we have real time access to overall vacancy, which provides us the opportunity to make quick adjustments and deliver the best possible outcomes. We are also experts in "cross fertilizing enquiries with suitable properties". We have a database of 35,000 guests and 500 relocation agents (and growing) that we communicate regularly with.
  • Operations:
    Managing a fully furnished property requires a significant amount of "on the ground" work. We often deliver better results than hands on owner/managers because this is the only thing we do, all day and every day.
  • Trust Accounting:
    All funds are held and dispersed through our registered trust account, providing peace of mind for both owners and guests.
  • Sale through Service:
    We have a "hospitality centric culture" and our point of difference is generating sales through service. Our office has longer operating hours, resulting in us being able to rapidly respond to enquiries. Hence we deliver a higher conversion rate and better outcomes for all parties involved. Importantly, for a range of reasons some guests simply do not want to deal directly with owners.
  • Housekeeping Operations:
    We have partnered with a dedicated housekeeping business that is able to clean 7 days per week, as well as provide 5-star hotel quality linen service. The result is the ability to execute same day changeovers seamlessly which increases occupancy/revenue opportunities.
  • Legal:
    Our terms and conditions are not only robust but also tried and tested and are effective in managing both risks and expectations.
  • Performance Based Remuneration:
    Our remuneration is structured to align our business with the owners’ expectations.

Risk Management Questions

Risk: How do you manage our risk?

  • Renting your property is NOT risk free which is something that owners should consider, however the risks are very manageable with our in depth risk management processes.
  • Careful Guest Review:
    Risk management starts with us carefully vetting guests. There are tell tale signs of problematic guests and when we get a hint of this, we simply do not work with them. We understand that our clients are allowing us to represent what could be their largest asset, and difficult guests are a risk we are not willing to take on your behalf. Furthermore difficult guests are simply unprofitable for both you the owner and us.
  • Security Deposit and Authority:
    We process and hold a security deposit for every booking on credit card. This covers the cost of damage up to a certain amount, dependent on the size of the property and the length of stay. We always hold full payment prior to release of keys.
  • Terms and Conditions:
    Our terms and conditions have been developed over time and experience. The result is a robust and legally binding commercial contract with guests, which allows us to charge guests for unforeseen damages within reason. All guests approve these terms and conditions prior to accessing the property.
  • Regular Access:
    We access the property regularly (i.e. surprise visit from management or interim cleaning) to see what is happening in the property and ensure it is being well looked after.
  • References:
    We request an application form, ID and LinkedIn profile from all guests so we can understand and be comfortable that prospective guests are responsible and of good character.
  • Premium Portfolio:
    We focus on representing premium properties in desirable locations. Because of the higher price points, we mostly attract premium clientele and intentionally “price out” undesirables.
  • Neighbour Relations:
    We warmly welcome you to share our details with neighbours so that they have a contact to reach out to if there is a problem. This way we can quickly and effectively manage any issues that may arise.
  • Insurance:
    Please see the insurance section below where you will find that we are adequately covered as well as suggestions for your own coverage.
  • Bad Books:
    Over 250 other agents within Australia use the same best practice booking software that we do. There is a bad guest register that automatically flags poor guests that are loaded into the system.
  • Property Preparation:
    Our processes reduce the probability of theft and damage significantly. (Importantly the nature of our premium clientele naturally minimizes problematic issues.)

Damage and Theft: What happens if my personal belongings are broken or stolen?

  • Generally damage and theft is not a problem for Property Providers. We predominantly service executives who are accustomed to living in premium properties and this combined with our risk management process means theft or damage is highly unlikely.
  • All owners are provided with our “owner preparation guide” to assist in this process and further reduce any risk.

Insurance: What about insurance?

  • Property Providers is very well insured with $20M Public Liability, $10M Professional Indemnity and comprehensive Workman’s Compensation insurance.
  • As it relates to owners insurance, we would recommend you refer to our Terri Sheer page. It is important as a property investor to ensure you have the right insurance policies in place, our Terri Sheer page will assist you with answering some of the insurance related queries you may have.

Guest Cancellations: What happens if the guests cancel a booking?

  • Only 3% of our guests cancel once they have made a payment. When a confirmed booking is cancelled by a guest, they are responsible for 25% of the total amount of the booking and the difference between what they have paid and what the property is re-rented for.
  • We have a significant financial incentive to focus resources and rebook the property; our policy is that if the property is re-rented the guest cancellation fee of 25% is Property Providers revenue.
  • Our terms and conditions and payment terms require the guests to pay 50% of the balance at the time of booking plus the security deposit and the remaining 50% 30 days prior to arrival. Therefore we are always holding a significant amount of funds. Importantly, understanding the booking to arrival times and the high value of some bookings we do sometimes establish reasonable payment terms to effectively manage guest cash flow requirements.

Owner Cancellations: What happens if the owners are forced to cancel a booking?

  • Property Providers has to manage risk on all sides of the equation. If the owner is unable to move forward with a confirmed booking and has to cancel it, there is a considerable amount of resource that is required to find alternative accommodation for the guest. These incidences are also very damaging to our brand. As a result, we do have Property Owner Cancellation Terms which owners should be aware of and are responsible for, you will find these in your management agreement.

Occupancy: How can I be confident the property will be fully booked?

  • Our remuneration is largely performance based therefore high occupancy is in both parties interest. We only work with quality assets as superior properties always book up first. We are unable to guarantee bookings as we work in a rapid and direct response industry, however all enquiries are answered quickly which optimizes conversion rates and has delivered a cumulative annual occupancy of 79%.

Guest Information: What do you know about the people staying in my property?

We have a through vetting process to ensure we are placing the right type of guest into your property. Our process includes:

  • Phone interview – we aim to have a phone conversation with all prospective guests and during this conversation determine some basic knowledge about them including group configuration, ages of adults and children, reasons for coming to the area, place of residence and current employment information.
  • Application – we send guests our terms and conditions and also an application form which they have to complete before we book them into the property.
  • Reference – we ask that all guests provide us with a local reference or their LinkedIn profile
  • ID – We take a copy of the guest’s ID at the time of key collection and this copy is kept in the office
  • Bad Books – our booking system is linked with the bad books database which alerts us of any problematic guests
  • Difficult guests can be identified fairly easily at the beginning of the booking process. Realistically, there are only a small percentage of people in the world who are challenging. Quite simply, difficult guests are unprofitable for all parties and we simply try to avoid doing business with them.

Neighbor Disturbances: How do we avoid our neighbours from being disturbed by guests at my property?

  • Avoiding disturbances is minimized by being proactive. The majority of complaints arise from very simple things that can be easily managed such as; proper garbage disposal, parking and noise transmission. In short, “good guests are informed guests” which is why we ask property owners to complete our Home Guide Template. This informs guests of your property’s idiosyncrasies so that they can be self aware, and self diagnose problems in addition to understanding their immediate environment.
  • We provide all guests with a welcome pack when they collect keys, this pack contains some basic notes on things guest should be aware of to minimize issues.
  • Both our guest review process and our terms and conditions minimize these occurrences (i.e. the financial penalties for neighbour complaints and improper garbage disposal etc are severe).
  • Informing neighbours that you will be having guests in your property and providing them our details to contact if there are issues is important. This empowers your neighbours and also creates the ability for us to rapidly respond.
  • We have a strict no smoking and pet policy. Consequences in breaching this policy are severe and managed by our terms and conditions.

Property Preparation and Maintenance Questions

Property Preparation: What do I have to do to prepare my property for guests?

  • Preparation Process:
    We have a comprehensive property preparation checklist for you to follow which manages many foreseeable issues. Please request this from a member of our team as it is critical that not too many personal items are left in the property. We have had incidences in the past where guests have felt uncomfortable and have requested to be moved to an alternative property. (Link to property preparation checklist)
  • Cleaning and Linen:
    Who manages the cleaning and linen operations and how does this work?
  • Cleaning:
    Our housekeeping partner must be used for all guest cleans as there are a range of tasks and processes that are required to be fulfilled and delivered to a consistent high standard.
    • Using your cleaner:
      If you would like your cleaner to be involved in the cleaning of the property, we welcome the opportunity for them to work directly for our housekeeping partner as well as conduct the initial preparation clean.
    • Cleaning Costs Rationale:
      Guests pay for exit cleaning, however their perception of how long it takes to clean the property does not include the additional functions that are required (i.e. making beds, packing and transporting linen, taking out the garbage, cleaning BBQ and other appliances and to generally dress/present the property etc). Therefore 30% of the cleaning costs are allocated to the owner to avoid guests feeling that they are being excessively charged. This is considered a direct cost of property rental and is treated similar to that of any other tradesperson and is therefore tax deductable.
  • Linen:
    We supply all the linen for the property (excluding pillows, doonas, blankets, mattress/pillow protectors and beach towels). All linen is 5-star hotel quality and is professionally laundered and pressed.
    • Linen Use and Costs Rationale:
      We use our linen not only to deliver a high consistent standard but also to comply with health and safety standards. The benefit of our linen service is that it allows us to generate additional income for the owner as we can effectively manage same day guest rotations (i.e. higher occupancy). Owners are charged 30% of the linen costs which equates to $13.20 per bed including all the towels. This is to account for general wear and tear and depreciation of our linen stock, which we replace on an ongoing basis.

Maintenance: Who does the gardening and pool maintenance?

  • Landscaping:
    We recommend that you keep your maintenance contractors running as if you were living in the property. However you may want increase the visitations slightly given the higher rates people are paying to enjoy the property.
  • Swimming Pools:
    All pools are different and they have distinct idiosyncrasies. Because of this we recommend that your pool continues to be maintained by your current provider to make sure that it continues to run smoothly and is crystal blue for guests. Please note your pool should have a current safety certificate and adhere to current local legislation (Link to current swimming pool legislation). If you require some additional information or advise as I relates to your pool please let us know and we will be happy to provide you an introduction to one of our trade experts.

Property Management Defined

Properties can be rented in an almost endless number of different ways (i.e. long term vs. short term and furnished vs. unfurnished etc). Irrespective of how the property is rented, Property Management generally includes the following functions/responsibilities:

  • Assessing the property in relation to current market conditions, scheduling photography, writing copy, setting rates/rent as well as effectively, accurately and ethically marketing the property
  • Managing marketing channels and enquiries from prospective clients/tenants, scheduling and executing inspections.
  • Evaluating prospective tenant’s appropriateness relevant to the property (financial and character).
  • Effectively negotiating terms between owners and guests (timing, financial, inclusions etc).
  • Preparing and lodging compliant documentation and following law and regulations (i.e. preparing leases, lodging bonds with fair trading etc)
  • Completing accurate entry/vacate condition reports upon commencement/conclusion of leases**
  • Conducting reasonable routine inspections (typically every 3 to 6 months).
  • Liaising with tenants as it relates to requests/repair requests and liaising with owners to gain instructions/direction relevant actions to be taken.
  • Organizing competitive costs for appropriate trades to execute repairs to building fixtures, electrical, plumbing, carpentry landscaping and major appliances etc (generally speaking attending to furnishings non- fixed electrics, cable TV, internet and the contents is outside scope.)
  • Overseeing acceptable completion of work and repairs required.
  • Taking all reasonable steps to avoid disruption of the peaceful enjoyment providing adequate notice to owners/tenants regarding their responsibilities to the law.
  • Responsible management of the property’s financials within a dedicated ledger attached to a registered trust account. This includes: timely rent collection, receipting rent, processing/paying approved invoices directly relating to the property and disbursements of funds to owners and lastly providing EOFY statements to owners.
  • Effectively managing keys register (i.e. including tenants and trade access).
  • Maximizing investment return and minimizing property vacancy.
  • In relation to short-term rentals <3 months, property management responsibilities extend to:
    • Maintaining the availability and calendars of the property up to date and accurate.
    • 7 day a week responsibility for checkin’s/outs and key collection.
    • Ensuring the cleaners are organized and work is executed to standard.
    • Managing linen requirements.
    • **Inspections note: It is logistically and financially unfeasible to conduct full inspections on every item of the property on every guest exit for a host of reasons however light inspections are conducted here possible. We can arrange for full inspections to be completed on every rotation at an additional agreed rate.

Property Management:
Fair Wear and Tear vs. Damage

What is fair wear and tear?

Sometimes investors find it difficult to differentiate between damage and fair wear and tear. Having worked under a variety of leasing contracts, we have decided to define what fair wear and tear means to us:

  • Fair wear and tear generally means the effect of activities that happens through ordinary/day to day use of the property and can be due to repetitive ordinary operation, natural forces or items that deteriorate over time.
  • Another way to look at fair wear and tear is to define what damage is. Damage is caused by negligence or (malicious) intent on the occupant’s side. These items are things that could have been prevented with common sense and caution.

Fair wear and tear examples – Short Term Context

We have collated some examples that in our experience may sometimes be confused as to whether or not it is damage or fair wear and tear:

Event Example Fair wear & Tear Damage
Any damage caused by exposure to the sun e.g. faded curtains
Any damage caused by natural forces including rain, wind etc
Flooring getting worn or stained in high traffic areas
Loose toilet seat
Small tears in fly screens
Dripping taps
Loose taps or faucets
Furniture indentations (for furnished property)
Light scratches and scuff marks on walls
Faded, chipped or cracked paint
Loose hinges or handles
Worn seal on any appliance e.g. fridge or dishwasher
Worn kitchen bench top
Burnt kitchen bench top
Worn sliding tracks
Hairline cracks in walls due to building movement
one or two items of kitchen inventory
More than 2 items of kitchen inventory broken or damaged
Internet not working
Remotes not working – TV, garage, stereo, DVD/ Blu-ray player etc
Mattress, pillows and protectors yellowing
Appliances breaking down
Washing machine breaking down due to coins getting stuck in it
Dishwasher clogging up due to plates not being rinsed properly
Light bulbs needing replacing
Power surge due to too many appliances plugged in at the same time or international plugs taking up too much wattage
Windows cracking due to external forces
Windows cracking or shattering due to occupant hitting it accidentally with something
Mirrors rusting around the edges
Spilling any drinks or food on the floor and staining it
Spilling any drinks or food on the upholstery and staining it
Fingerprint marks from kids on walls and glass
Pool filter getting clogged due to pool toys getting stuck
Any damaged caused by pets
Any marks to walls and floors due to suitcases being dragged or banged

Property Management vs Maintenance:
Short Term Context

In the first few years of business Property Providers™ had vigorous discussions and debates with owners, guests, tenants to clearly define what specifically should be included in within our property management scope of responsibilities and thus commission within a in a short-term context (i.e. stays under 3 months).

The above document provides broad clarity however in the interest of establishing clear expectations, below is a list of examples of things that have actually happened. By applying the above definitions our aim is to provide additional clarity regarding what is included in Property Management and what is additional labor/maintenance that incur additional costs charged by our team to manage these or brief to relevant trade.

Event Example Property Management Considered Labor or Maintenance
Organizing Plumbing i.e. Toilet/Sink Blockages
Shower Moldy
Toilet Brush Holder Broken
Purchase/Deliver Contents for Property (i.e. new knives)
Appliances Not Functioning
Keys Not Working (i.e. arranging locksmith)
Cutting new keys as set is incomplete or not working by owners
Garage remote not working
Fan/air conditioner/heating not working
Windows dirty – exterior
Managing Cleaning Complaints
Light Bulb Blown or Not Working
Stains On Carpet/Upholstery
Blind and Curtains Repair/Replacement or Cleaning
Providing Access For Trades people (up to 4 times a year)
Providing Access for Annual Smoke Alarm Testing
Packing Away Owners Personal Items Left At Property
Empty Dehumidifier or Condenser Dryer
TV Remote Battery Replacement
New TV/Stereo Cables
Foxtel/Internet Not Working
Setting up Utilities, Internet, Foxtel etc
All Landscaping and Maintaining Gardens/Lawns
All Pool Maintenance
Managing Pests (i.e. possums in the roof, cockroaches)
Garbage Bin Overflowing or Rubbish Removal
Appliances Dirty, Oven, Grill, Range hood etc
BBQ Gas bottle empty (purchase and delivery)
Purchase Base Linen for Beds and Delivery (i.e. new pillows)
Cutlery and cookware missing and purchasing replacing
Styling of Property (i.e. new decorative pillows)

Finance Related Questions

Commission: Why is Property Providers management commission higher than normal real estate agencies?

  • Managing a fully furnished property requires significantly more resources and time. In many respects, Property Providers is a hospitality centric business that provides real estate to guests/owners therefore the service and labor required is substantially higher. As a result, Property Providers has longer operating hours in order to deliver a premium service. Lastly, but certainly not least, the financial returns to the owner are equally much higher and our remuneration is largely performance based resulting in both the owner and Property Providers being financially aligned.

Initiation Fee: What is the initiation fee and what is it for?

  • The initiation fee is a charge to cover the labour associated with organizing photography, copywriting, loading the property onto our website, content management, booking and trust accounting systems which all takes approx 13-15 hours. This demonstrates your commitment and propensity to accept and fulfill the bookings that we present.

Credit Card: Why do we pay for the credit card processing fees?

  • For owners protection short-term guest bookings must paid by credit card. This is an important part of our risk management strategy as it allows Property Providers to apply further charges the guest if required. A high proportion of our guests are international and the merchant fees associated with worldwide transactions are significantly higher than that of purely domestic. Credit card providers have additional charges for international transfers, currency changes as well as for refunding security deposits therefore there can be triple he costs. As a result, we view merchant fees a direct property cost and these are not included in our management fees. Guests do pay for part of the merchant facility however owners are only charged an additional 50 bpts or .005% in addition to our property management/booking commission in order to cover these extra merchant costs.

Owner Payment/Remittance Timing: When do I get paid?

  • As a registered and licensed real estate agency, we are required to follow government and industry regulations. Owners of short-term rental properties are remitted on or before the 8th of each month and are sent a detailed statement via e-mail.
  • Timing – it is important to note that due to the nature of short term executive leasing all payments are made in arrears of the bookings. The rationale behind this is that if the guest cancels or unplanned incidences occur, the funds around the booking are still held in trust which allows us to rapidly respond and sort out any issues.

Cleaning and Linen: What are your fees and charges for linen and cleaning?

  • Linen:
    Owners are charged 30% of the linen costs which equates to $13.20 per bed including all the towels. For further explanation please see Property Preparations Questions above.
  • Cleaning:
    Owners are charged 30% of cleaning costs which amounts to $13.20 per hour. For any owner cleans the cost is $44 per hour, please note penalty rates apply for Sunday’s and public holidays. For further explanation please see Property Preparations Questions above.
  • Why are the owners paying the bed linen security fee when they have no control over what the guest does?
  • We have had owners arrive home/change plans when a property is empty and come home sleep in the beds (which is understandable!) and then we have not gotten all the linen back.  Last year we absorbed 14K as a result of “lost linen” that we never got back from properties.
   

Booking Process Questions

Auto-Notification: What are Owner Notification Emails?

When a booking is made the owner will be sent an automatic system email entitled “OWNER BOOKING NOTIFICATION”. Within this email owners are advised of critical information regarding bookings (i.e. arrival/departure dates, number of guests, ages of guests, gross rental, country of origin, booking mode and type etc). The purpose of this email process is to provide you clear and immediate information regarding bookings at your property.

Booking Types: Owner Bookings vs. Guest Bookings?

  1. Owner Bookings:
    These are bookings that have been made on behalf of an owner that effectively block out the calendar. These can be used for guests that you have arranged to be in the property or could be could be used to simply mark the property as unavailable. These types of bookings are denoted by NIL or $0 gross income within the "OWNER BOOKING NOTIFICATION"
  2. Guest Bookings:
    These are real guest booking opportunities that have been made by our team to occupy the property. These are easily identified by a $$$ value in gross income within the “OWNER BOOKING NOTIFICATION”

Booking Modes: What are BOOKING MODES and what do they mean?

  1. Pending We have a tentative heads of agreement with the guest. Document and payment details have been requested which they need to return quickly within 48 hours.  Pending bookings have approximately 80% probability of being confirmed. We require owner feedback/approval in no more than 24 hours. Please note: Owner Cancellation Terms Apply.
  2. Confirmed Guest has returned documents, a min of security deposit payment has been made and the opportunity has been secured.  The probability of cancellation is under 5% and guests are bound by our terms and conditions and our cancellation policy.
  3. Cancelled The booking has been cancelled by guest or Property Providers have elected to proactively cancel it in your best interest.

Providing Feedback/Approval

  • Booking Approval or Decline:
    Feedback regarding bookings is done by simply replying to the OWNER NOTIFICATION EMAIL. Upon approval, we will process the guests deposit and or rent. If you opt to decline, we will attempt to salvage the opportunity by recommending alternative properties within the same competitive set to the guest.
  • Rules of Engagement:
    Our calendars must be accurate for us to confidently and professionally represent the property. Therefore owners are required to regularly update us with their property’s availability. In addition, we require feedback/approval on pending bookings no more than 24 hours after the pending booking is lodged. Please note our Owner Cancellation Terms apply.

Updating and Accurate Calendars

Availability: Why is accurate availability so important?

Please understand it is virtually impossible for us to be aware of the individual personal plans of hundreds of client owners simultaneously. There we need ongoing involvement/engagement from our owner clients.

The guest relations team demonstrates preference and advocacy to properties where they can be confident the calendars are correct, as this eliminates the probability for them to “undo” a booking (i.e. advising a guest that a property is not available once they have committed is a stressful and embarrassing exercise).

Availability: How do I update you on Availability?

There are 2 ways an owner can update us on availability

  1. Secure member login system:
    Our best practice booking platform provides the facility for owners to quickly and easily update calendars availability independently. Simply request your login and password details from a member of our team and we will send this over to you. We are more than happy to guide you through the process
  2. Emailing Availability:
    Owners can simply email help@propertyproviders.com.au their availability and we will update calendars on their behalf.