Rental Agents do not get nearly enough credit. Are they Super Human Beings or doomed to ultimate failure?

Pierre Hanekom

Product Manager @

Rental Agents are probably the least appreciated individual’s in the Real Estate industry. They are taken for granted and are doing a job that very few people want to do. If we do not take action to correct this wrong, these Super Humans may become extinct.

Why am I saying this? Let’s take a look at just a few of the things that are expected from a Rental Agent and then you will get the picture.

Rental Agents need to be well organized individuals capable to manage multiple marketing projects simultaneously. They must have excellent communication skills to ensure accurate and timeous communication between a variety of stakeholders, all with very different views and objectives in the Rental Value Chain. There is the Agency wanting to make money and pushing for more rental stock, Landlords wanting maximum return on their sometimes (not so great) properties and demanding Tenants wanting to pay less whilst pushing to have their rental properties personalized to suit their unique needs.

Rental Agents often need to be masters in the art of saying NO without offending anyone with a very valid but different view point depending on his perspective. For example, you need to Say NO to Landlords who want unrealistic prices for their properties. You need to say NO to Landlords who want to have a guarantee that the rent will be in their bank account by the 1st of the month even when the 1st falls on a long weekend. You need to say NO to Tenants who want to change everything. As you can see, this makes the Rental Agent, a master negotiator.

While trying to broker a deal, the Rental Agent also needs to be a Legal Advisor to ensure that the parties understand what they are getting themselves into having to keep up to date with the ever increasing list of regulatory requirements. You’ve all heard of the EAAB, Rental Housing Act, Consumer Protection Act, Magistrate Court Orders, FICA, PIE and so the list goes on and on.

When it comes to attention to detail, it is expected of a Rental Agent to pick up the tiniest and almost invisible defect, to take magnifying photos with exact descriptions of the state of affairs and to analyse and make accurate recommendations on who is to blame and who is responsible to fix the defect, etc. This requires the Rental Agent to be a master investigator with the ability to collect evidence and make deductions on who committed the defect crime.

Since many Rental Properties are somewhat old, you will not always find their device manuals on Google and it is left to the Rental Agent to experiment and understand how various older generation stoves, irrigation systems, alarm systems and pool pumps work. They are like walking manuals on how to operate these devices and need this knowledge because they will be asked when new tenants take occupation.

Lastly, Rental Agents are also the best fall back plan when things go south. We all know that they have a thick skin in the game and will survive the heat if blamed.

So, no wonder the traditional Rental Agent is something of the past. Rental Agents are adapting, specialising and embracing technology to survive.

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