Personal Safety For Property Managers
Property Managers spend a lot of time out of the office in order to do their job. This, in turn, can place them in potentially dangerous situations, such as:
- Attending to vehicle maintenance
- General road safety
- Physical violence, intimidation or threatening behaviour from a Tenant or Landlord
- After-hour appointments where it could be dark or properties are poorly lit, especially during the winter months
- Domestic disputes at the property
- Dangerous animals at the property – dogs etc
- Poor property maintenance which can result in fall or trip hazards, uneven flooring
- Evictions/warrants for possession
- Collection of cash deposits, bond and rent in the office
Safety Procedures for the Office
- Ensure that staff in the office know where other staff members are going and their expected return time. This should also be reflected in the staff member’s outlook calendar / diary.
- Staff should always have a fully charged phone with them, with emergency numbers programmed in. Staff should also have a charger in the car as a backup, if possible
- The Agency should have a secret code that all staff in the office are aware of, so that if there is an issue at a property, the staff member can call the office and alert staff by saying the code eg ‘Did Pearl leave a message for me today?’ which would alert everyone that the staff member is in trouble and requires assistance
- It is a great idea to download personal safety apps such as the Daniel Morcombe Foundation’s ‘Help Me’ app, a ‘Flashlight’ app, a ‘First Aid’ app, and the ‘Life360’ app, just to name a few.
Tips at Inspections
- It is strongly recommended that staff wear low heeled or flat, fully enclosed, and comfortable shoes due to the potential risks where ground is uneven and undulating, there is broken glass or rubbish on the ground, or when staff need to walk through long grass to inspect an area where injuries from hidden syringes, insects or snakes may occur.
- Staff should wear a name badge to identify themselves and the Agency
- Staff should not park across or in the driveway of the property, as they may be ‘parked in’
- Always listen prior to knocking / entering for unusual noises or arguments
- Look for unapproved installation of security cameras as this may indicate the property is being used for an illegal activity such as drug manufacturing
- Do not enter the property if the Tenant’s dog is not secured, or in an area of the property that is accessible
- If there is a cause for concern, take the Principal or a senior member of staff to the property
- If approaching the property and staff members do not feel safe, do not enter. Leave the premises immediately and call the office or police.
- If a child is home alone at the property, the staff member should not enter. They must leave the premises and call the Tenant or Owner to arrange an alternate time.
When Out and About in General:
- Keep alert; walk confidently. If you feel unsafe, call 000 and head for the nearest well-lit or populated area.
- Always walk against the flow of traffic. Where possible, walk with colleagues.
- Vary your route to regular destinations.
- Buy your own personal alarm with a light and have it with you at all times. These are available at outlets such as Officeworks or Australia Post.
- Have emergency numbers, office and staff names and numbers stored in your mobile phone.
- Carry your bag securely and on the side furthest from the road. Never let the bag or strap hang loosely.
- Minimise the amount of cash that you carry.
- Be wary if someone in a car stops and asks you for directions. Do not carry on a conversation with them.
- If someone harasses you, try to recall the person and vehicle details and report the matter to Police.
- When out at a restaurant or other venue, avoid placing bags or mobile phones on a spare seat.
- Always have keys ready to get into your car.
- Park your car in a well-lit and highly visible area.
- Keep windows up and doors locked.
- Do not leave keys in the car or the car unlocked when refueling and paying for fuel.
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle where they can be seen.
- Do not respond to aggressive actions from other drivers. Stay calm and avoid eye contact.
- When entering or leaving your car, check for persons loitering in the vicinity.