Crisis management for property managers

Loretta Morgan
Loretta Morgan | 4 min. read

Published on March 12, 2014

How you handle a crisis within your property management business could spell the difference between peace of mind on one hand and disaster and chaos on the other. Taking a proactive approach to your business, systems, and communication makes all the difference.

Your agency should have a documented procedure (management plan) for mitigating loss and reducing unnecessary chaos and confusion. There are several areas within a property management organization that need to be addressed when preparing and executing a sound crisis management procedure.

Failure to Plan Equals Planning to Fail

First, it is wise to have an emergency line that is always available 24 hours a day to handle any issues that require reporting outside of office hours. The emergency contact should have a handful of their contractors ready to go on call.

As recent example of how you can mitigate losses is when our region of South East Queensland in Australia had some severe storms and floods. After the events, at the first available opportunity, the proactive approach that we took was to contact all our tenants to confirm that firstly they were okay, and then if there were any issues with their properties.

All our owners were contacted via email and letter to confirm that we were contacting all tenants and that we would be in touch to let them know the outcome. This method reduced the amount of calls and emails coming into our office, and it was also a great way to encourage the tenants to think about their property and to report any items at all that may have affected their property.

Have a Crisis Management Plan in Place

Second, having a crisis management plan in place so that you and your team have peace of mind in a crisis situation.

  • Make sure all means of communication are up to date. Regularly update your tenants’ or clients’ email address, phone number, and other contact information. It is also absolutely necessary to notify the cleaning service, security, reconstruction team, and each and everyone at the property in the event of crisis.
  • Train the members of the crisis team. Provide the right training with right skills to the right position. You must be mindful of how to apply immediate response and rapid solutions the best you can.
  • Have a well-trained spokesperson at the ready. He or she can help reduce or eliminate the chances of misunderstandings and false rumors during the crisis. It is a fact that not all good spokespersons are capable of handling such events.
  • Have an evacuation plan in place for your office. This plan should include: a practiced evacuation drill, managing aggressive customers, negotiation to obtain agreed solutions, insurance awareness and preparations for the unexpected, staff contacts, medical preferences, next of kin, electrical/manuals/policy & procedures, first aid kits, government contacts, emergency services, and so on. A register of all staff activities and where they are at during any given time will reduce the risk.

Crisis management for property managers is definitely a comprehensive subject and has many different layers to it. A crisis plan it is one of the most important documents in your organization and one that can save you thousands of dollars and many man hours.

Also do a post-crisis analysis after the unexpected happens. It’s always advised to analyze results from previous measures and activities. Aside from the sense of accomplishment your team may get, you will learn what to discard and what to maintain in your developed crisis management model. This also guarantees you control the varying situations and also manage your property owners, properties, and tenants with more ease — and that will set you further apart from your competition.

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Loretta Morgan

Loretta Morgan is Managing Director of Jam Property in Caloundra, Queensland, Australia.

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