The raft of new legislation that’s currently being rolled out relating to landlords’ responsibilities to provide a safer and healthier environment for their tenants is increasing the workload on property managers around the country, but it’s a responsibility that Melanie Hoten, Ray White Damerell Group’s latest recruit, is more than happy to take on.
Based out of the Ray White’s Stonefields office, Hoten has been taken on to establish a new property management team from scratch, and she’s relishing the task.
“It’s a great opportunity to start from the ground up, ensuring that these new legislations, systems and philosophies are engrained right from the outset,” she says. “By this time next year, I hope to have another person in the office and have at least 100 properties between us. Over and above that, though, it’s about building up a strong business, built on happy clients who are referring us to their friends and colleagues.”
Hoten lives and breathes property management, having started in the business straight from school. “It has been my focus and my career; having strengthened my skill set from being an administrator in my first ever role in the industry through to being a general manager in my most recent role; sharing my knowledge and training others to be the best property managers they can be.”
A Perfect Fit
Her recent change in career came about after a meeting with Gower Buchanan (Director) and Aaron Haabjoern (CEO) of Damerell Group Property Management.
“Once I’d met with Gower and Aaron, it was a no brainer, because their visions very much align with mine – that is, to ensure we bring a new perception into property management, specifically into the customer services side of the business; that our landlords are treated with the respect that they deserve and are receiving a quality service, similarly the tenants; and generally raising the bar in the industry – not just being satisfied with OK.”
The feeling was mutual.
“When we found out Melanie was looking to move into the next phase of her career, we were super excited to talk to her about having her join us,” says Buchanan. “Ray White Damerell Group is all about attracting and employing really great people – and great people make great property managers. A good property manager not only helps investors generate a solid return on their investment, but also ensures their tenants have safe, dry warm homes to live in,” adds Buchanan.
Quality Not Quantity
One of the ways Hoten intends to ensure her landlords and tenants alike are given the attention they need and are treated well is to cap the number of properties each of her team members manages, to around a 100. “I’ve learnt this from experience,” she says. “At one point in my career I was managing over 300 properties and was doing a less that satisfactory job because of it. It was something that was well learnt from and from now on it’s going to be quality rather than quantity.”
Hoten’s mantra is ‘commitment, reliability and follow through’. She says it’s about communication with property owners and doing the things you say you’re going to do; it’s about finding solutions and options – that’s why they hired her.
“It’s a fine balancing act, though, because we’re here as the tenants’ advocate, too,” she says. “It’s our responsibility to ensure our tenants’ rights are being met. We don’t stand for landlords who aren’t interested in meeting legislation and what they should be doing. For example, if a landlord refused to provide a home that meets basic health and safety requirements, then I would consider not taking them on.”
Her hands-on experience working with tenants, coupled with her expertise surrounding legislation and compliance, and her knowledge on the practicalities of owning an investment property puts Hoten in a unique position – one which Buchanan clearly recognised when he created this new position for her.
“The good news for our clients – landlords and tenants, alike – is that with Melanie on board we can now offer an excellent level of service for the eastern side of Auckland,” says Buchanan. “And if you add to that the support structure that we already have in place, here in Ponsonby – accountancy, marketing, compliance and team culture – it all adds up to a significant step forward for us in the property management side of our business.”