So you’re looking for someone to manage your property and you’re either already using sites like Airbnb or you’ve heard about the benefits of short-term letting and are considering using them. All excited you’ve got to work on researching potential Property Managers and you've prepared all the questions that you need to ask them. So far, so good.

There should be a number of questions on that list - such as the price, what services are included and excluded in the price, will they meet your guests in person, etc - but the two most important questions that you should be asking any potential Airbnb Property Manager are:


  1. Do you hold a current and valid license to operate?
  2. Do you have Professional Indemnity insurance?


When you are going to pay a person or organization to manage your property you probably assume that they have the required knowledge and skill and are operating legally to do this. Right?

Well, unfortunately this isn’t always the case, especially in the short-term letting industry where sites like Airbnb have made it seemingly easy to make money resulting in the spawning of many service “companies”.

While this innovation is a great thing – people can make a little extra money and it creates jobs, etc – it can give rise to people offering services that they’re not actually trained, experienced or in a legal position to offer.

Becoming licensed and paying for the required insurance is very expensive – we should know, we have them both – which means that some people just “have a go” and may not understand their legal obligations or choose to ignore them while they “test the water”.

In this blog we cover the fundamental reasons why asking if someone has a license and insurance should be at the top of your questions list. We’ll also show you how in just a couple of minutes you can check if someone or an organization holds the required license.


Why it’s important to use a Property Manager that’s licensed and insured

A current and valid license ensures that the Property Manager has undergone and maintained all the required training to be able to manage your property and guests with the required level of knowledge and skill. Without a license you really have no idea about the level of knowledge and skill that the Property Manager is operating under.

A licensed operator is also obligated to have Professional Indemnity insurance up to the value of $1,000,000. This means that should you receive inaccurate information or advice from your Property Manager which results in you being financially impacted there is insurance for you to claim against.


What are the risks?

You may be thinking that if something goes wrong that it’s the Property Manager that is in trouble and not you? Well, unfortunately it’s not that simple. The Property Manager can certainly get into trouble for breaching Acts and Regulations but you, as the landlord, are ultimately responsible for your property and therefore a number of the risks.

Below are a few examples of the types of areas that licensed operators are obligated to adhere to and if they are not licensed there is a good chance that they will not be aware of these obligations and many others, leaving you both at risk.


Risk 1: Smoke alarms

There are very strict rules in place around the requirements of smoke alarms for property lets and failure to comply with these can result in legal action against the landlord.

As an example, if there is a fire in your property and you, as the landlord, don't have the required smoke alarms in place you could be held responsible.

How we manage this risk:

As part of our comprehensive onboarding process customers are made aware of their obligations under the smoke alarm regulation.


Risk 2: Handling of Emergencies.

It is the responsibility of the Property Manager to have processes in place to handle emergency requests, such as a plumbing or electrical emergency.

Imagine discovering that your property has been flooded because of a burst water pipe that wasn't attended to urgently because your property manager didn’t have the required processes in place.

How we manage this risk:

We have the required agreements in place so that your guests can call for emergency assistance when the need arises. Our partners will only make a call out where there is a genuine need and will look to resolve over the phone if possible (preventing unnecessary costs to you, as the landlord).


Risk 3: Agency agreements must comply with regulations (to protect the consumer).

A licensed Property Manager must not enter into an agreement unless the agreement complies with the Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2003 (in place to protect consumers).

As an example, all responsibilities and fees must be detailed and clear and if this isn't the case you are at risk of being invoiced for further costs that you were unaware of. Or you might find that the agreement isn’t legally binding if something does go wrong.

How we manage this risk:

Our contracts are clearly written and adhere to the required Act. All of our customers are required to enter into a written agreement with us before we can provide services since this protects both our customers and our business.


Risk 4: Attempting to win new customers with false or misleading advertisements or communications.

It is an offence to try and win new customers by providing false or misleading information.

As an example, someone who isn't licensed may inflate the value of your property to "win" you as a customer only for your property to then "under perform".

How we manage this risk:

We will never provide information to a customer or potential customer that we know may be false or misleading.

All of our advertising and rental estimates are based upon factual information and where assumptions are made, these are made clear.


Risk 5: Working knowledge of the Landlord-Tenant law.

Since Airbnb (and other short-term letting sites) are peer-to-peer sites people often forget that the same Acts and Regulations that apply to long-term “traditional” letting still apply to the short-term letting industry and an unlicensed Property Manager will most likely not have the required working knowledge of the relevant Acts and Regulations.

Not being aware of changes in legislation will leave you, as the landlord, at risk of breaching legislation and potential fines.

How we manage this risk:

As a licensed operation and member of the REINSW (Real Estate Institute of NSW) we have access to the most up to date industry and legislative information, making us well placed to protect the interests of our customers when changes take place.


How to check if someone, or an organization, is licensed.

Licenses are renewed annually and it’s very easy to check that someone or an organization holds a license. It’ll be 2 minutes well spent. Search here.


Why we became a member of the REINSW and how this benefits our customers

While it’s not a legal obligation to be a member of an industry body it’s a really good sign of quality if your Property Manager is.

The short-term letting industry is very dynamic and with access to ongoing training, news releases and industry advice we’re committed to keeping up to date with the relevant industry knowledge and legislative changes.

The REINSW (Real Estate Institute of NSW) is the peak industry body for real estate agents and property professionals in NSW and being a member of this institute helps to ensure that we have access to the best knowledge and information so that we can best serve our customers.

More about the REINSW can be found here.


Other quality measures we have in place

Read about what other steps we have in place to ensure that you have Peace of Mind when gaining the benefits of the short-term letting industry and using the services of Citysleepz.


If you have any further questions, then please do get in touch as we’d love to hear from you and see how we can help.