I was one of those people in the mindset at the beginning that the pandemic wouldn’t spread here and that it wasn’t going to be as bad as it was overseas. I think I was trying to remain positive for my sanity and was not prepared for the shock of what lockdown meant. In the lead up to the lockdown, work became eerily quiet and no one was getting in contact with us.

What followed was some nervousness about the potential for difficult conversations around rental payments. No one wants to be the person calling a landlord and saying that their tenant can’t pay rent this month.

Within the first couple of days, my phone began ringing a lot more than usual. I had calls from both tenants and landlords who normally didn’t want to talk so much. At first, there was a feeling of dread for what I thought were going to be tough conversations but what I found was a lot of people that just wanted to talk.

I spent this time to learn more about my landlords and tenants not only did we talk business, we talked a lot about their family, about their staff and also about their plans for the future, even in a time of crisis.

Reflecting on this, we are all usually so busy trying to get deals done or trying to race through the day and get tasks completed that we often don’t take that extra time to just get to know each other.

During the lockdown, I had time to listen to our clients and engage with all parties on a more personal level. I found out what was important to them, what drives them and how they conduct business.

What quickly became apparent was that there was not a one size fits all answer and the approach was going to have to be flexible as no two parties were in the same position. Taking the time to understand both parties and the improved relationships that I had formed with them, made negotiating and navigating this difficult time so much easier.

With open communication and a better understanding of each party in most cases, we were able to come to agreements that suited both parties.

I have learnt to slow down, to take time to listen to clients, tenants and contractors. Building good relationships and communicating well is key in this industry.

Communication – delivering unfavorable news is a lot easier when you have built up a good relationship.

Katie Heath - Senior Property Manager