What interstate moves mean for property managers

As I write this, many state borders are still closed. But it seems that’s not stopping Aussies from making plans to move interstate. According to national removalist comparison and booking website Muval.com.au, two weeks of quarantine at their own expense isn’t standing in the way of cross-border relocations.

Their insights into moving search trends over the July to September quarter show much of this movement is one-way traffic from South to North. Based on the volume of enquiries on the Muval website, Brisbane is the place to be.


Goodbye lockdown, hello sunshine

Given the extended lockdown Melbourne locals have endured in 2020, it’s no surprise to learn Muval figures suggest a net loss in residents for the city. “Melbourne in previous years always had more people moving in vs out,” says James Morrell, CEO and co-founder of Muval.com.au. “But that trend has really changed in light of recent lock down measures.”

Figures for Sydney show a steadier situation, with some of these Melbourne movers relocating closer to home. Moving trends for the NSW capital have stayed flat over the quarter, with slight gains of inbound interest, mostly coming from Melbourne.

So what could all these interstate moving trends mean for property managers around the country? Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re seeing a rise in cross-border tenants leasing in your area.

Manage expectations

With our state-based legislation for rental agreements, there can be a lot of variety when it comes to contract terms and what’s included in the rent. In Queensland paying rent weekly is pretty standard, but in Victoria, monthly payments are more the norm. For utilities, VIC residents will be expected to connect and pay for their water as well as their electricity and/or gas. Queenslanders might be asked to pay for water usage, but supply and any associated rates are the owner’s responsibility.

To keep things simple and friendly with the new kids on the block, it’s a good idea to communicate these differences in approach. That way they know what to expect at every stage of their tenancy arrangement and from you as their property manager.

Ramp up due diligence

This state-specific approach to property leasing also includes how information on tenants is managed. With different tenancy databases popular in different locations, when tenants move from one state to another, checking out their track record may be a less than straightforward process. In the interests of doing the right thing by your owners, you need to be on top of your due diligence. You may want to consider checking multiple databases in these instances.

Handling higher volumes

Up until recently, metro areas have been the desired address for many renters who didn’t want the hassle of a longer commute. But with working from home as the status quo for people right across the country, the volume of enquiries may well be higher in our regional and country towns, for now and into the future. For property managers, this could mean a change in approach to allow for this increase in interest and traffic through your rentals. Perhaps an open house process instead of one-on-one viewings makes more sense, assuming restrictions don’t rule this out for your state or territory.

Overall, you’ll need to scale to the demand you’re experiencing, as well as understanding how to ensure you’re offering the best service to tenants coming across the border and the owners providing a roof over their heads.