Discussions about inclusion in the property management space can emerge in two different aspects: how property managers of diverse backgrounds are treated as employees within their own companies and how tenants interact with the property and the management team.
In the latter case, those interactions can be particularly challenging because the relationship is inherently transactional. A tenant may feel at a disadvantage asking for anything beyond common courtesy when dealing with a property manager because of a perceived power imbalance. On the other hand, property managers dealing with tenants may assume that the "rules of engagement" are clear: Tenants must pay rent on time and do nothing to devalue the property. However, sometimes cultural differences can disrupt that assumed understanding.
Saadat Keshayjee, CPM, managing director of Amhurst Property Management, Ltd., in Calgary, Alberta, appreciates how cultural differences can impact tenant relations. "When people come to Canada from another country, whether that's somewhere in Europe, Asia, Africa, India, etc., we find that cultural nuances can definitely make a difference," Keshayjee explains. "Let's face it, not everybody knows how to use what we use in North America in the same way that we use it. Some people don't fully understand how a bathroom should be used here, how a kitchen should be used, or how to treat maintenance issues. So, my managers already know that if somebody arrives here and wants to rent a place, we may have to gently inculcate or train them about things like changing the filter in the furnace, for instance."
Keshayjee goes on to say that he encourages his managers to...