But in these days of COVID-19, it’s really important that Property Managers are recognised for the extraordinary effort they have put in and to acknowledge the challenges and stress that they have faced.
When the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, declared a State of Emergency on the 16th of March and the subsequent lockdown that occurred, thousands of people were thrown out of work as businesses closed. The loss of income meant that many tenants were unsure of how they could pay their rent, keep a roof over their head. Many landlords saw that they wouldn’t be receiving rent and in many cases that was critically important income. There was a very understandable period of chaos while Federal and State governments got their heads around the impact that the lockdown was having on the basic issue of shelter and how they could provide guidelines and regulations that would lessen the impact.
Regulations are very complex and interpreting them is time-consuming and vitally important. So with each new iteration of regulations our property managers had to become educated about the changes. And while doing this they were dealing on a daily basis with people who are highly stressed, demanding and desperate. This posed incredible pressure on their mental health – trying to do their job fairly while protecting themselves mentally from the heartbreak and distress around them.
Often working from home and not having a supportive team around them, they dealt with issue after issue for weeks on end. When the restrictions started easing there were some very relieved property managers as they saw businesses re-open, tenants finding employment and rent money being paid. Then the second round of lockdown was imposed in Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and it was like Groundhog Day for Property Managers. Tenants lost their jobs, landlords lost their income, the emotional levels of the people they were dealing with day after day ratcheted up again.
So at Barry Plant, we believe that a day that specifically acknowledges this group of hard-working people is really relevant. We always appreciate the work they do, but in the last four months, they have been literally frontline workers in this COVID-19 state of emergency.
Thank you each and every one of you.