Braveheart - A Property Management Speech
Intro of Edward and Longshanks
My first impression of Edward was of a very tall, intimidating man.
I asked if other family members were tall and he said King Edward I "Longshanks" was in his family tree. Longshanks meant long legs.
Longshanks had a fierce temper and when his son, the Prince of Wales, demanded an earldom for his friend Piers Gaveston, the King erupted in anger and tore out handfuls of his son's hair.
Reason for visit and problems
But the reasons for today's visit were 20 tenanted properties which Edward managed himself.
He said, "I provide tenants with a place to live and all they have to do is show me respect by paying their rent on time. Not one day later, but when it's due.
The tenants have to be held to account but it's getting out of control.
Some have walked away while still in their lease."
We agreed that I would meet some of the tenants.
Piers the wary tenant
At the first unit, I introduced myself to Piers as the new property manager.
He nervously asked if I was here with Edward.
I told him I don't want Edward contacting him, so we should sit down and talk.
I asked what's been happening and he spoke about Edward as overpowering, applying pressure through texts and calls every day.
"It's stressful. We've argued on the phone and he threatens to come around here" said Piers.
I explained, "We just need Edward out of the picture".
Hearing about Mel
Piers said it's not that simple because Edward has harassed all of his tenants and through social media, we're now all in touch with one another.
He said most tenants are frightened of Edward and ready to protect themselves if he turns up at the door.
Piers said, "You have to speak to Mel, one of the tenants. He's a big guy and not taking threats from Edward. He's prepared to retaliate and he's getting support from other tenants on Facebook".
I said, "You've got a Facebook page against your landlord?"
He got Mel's phone number while I looked around the unit.
Armed to fight
Near the front door I noticed a baseball bat made into a weapon with long nails spiking out.
When I asked about it he said, "Look, I'm not violent but everyone is on edge and I told him if he comes to this unit he'll be leaving in an ambulance".
I felt scared, but I didn't want Piers to see that.
"Wow," I realised, "Edward thinks he's Longshanks. They're terrified".
Mel the leader
The next day I met Mel, a tall, muscular guy with a strong presence and charismatic personality.
We talked about Edward but Mel wasn't concerned about his own safety.
He spoke about the Facebook stories and said he would rally everyone against Edward and bring him down if necessary.
I was alarmed by this approach yet I could see Mel was a leader.
Over a coffee and I asked Mel about his family.
His ancestry was made famous by the movie Braveheart.
"Don't tell me you're linked to Robert the Bruce." I said.
"No, not at all. I'm related to William Wallace, the Braveheart guy." he said.
"No you're not. You're kidding me." I replied.
"What do you know about Edward's background?" I asked.
"I don't want to know about him. Edward suppresses people by force and the more he tries, the more they turn against him." he said.
"Look at William Wallace.
He led rebellious uprisings in Scotland against the English.
They were a small army who had a glorious victory at Stirling Bridge, defeating a much larger English army.
That gave them confidence.
They lost the battle of Falkirk because the English had better weapons and more soldiers.
But they united Scotland until William Wallace was betrayed and turned over to Longshanks".
My eyebrows raised a bit.
"They tried him for high treason and he was hung, drawn and quartered, with his head put on a stake on London Bridge." he said.
Mel backs off
"Okay Mel, you need to avoid a rebellious uprising. It's not 1298 at the Battle of Falkirk, it's 2017 and the guy is just a landlord.
I'll make him understand how upset his tenants are and how potentially dangerous it is.
The Facebook page should be about barbeques, not retaliation."
"Okay Susan. I'm here to help." he said.
Susan gives the analogy
Driving back to the office I felt like I was in charge of a battle at Stirling Bridge or Falkirk.
The brutality of Longshanks didn't subdue the Scots, it had the opposite effect and they rallied around William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.
Negotiating with Edward
At a meeting with Edward and his wife, I explained, "There are residents armed and ready for physical violence, people frightened for their family and a charismatic leader who's ready to run an organised uprising against you".
Edward's wife was horrified.
I showed him figures on how much income he was losing and then some projections based on everything running properly.
Edward had to communicate with me only, so that I could turn this around.
I believed that Edward's battle was all about the return on his property investments.
He didn't need to lose his war, so I just got his agreement on a strategy for financial success.
Edward now sees good returns on his investment, so he's grateful for our services.
The tenants meetings are now for barbeques.
The art of property management is a strategy where everyone wins the battle.