We all knew her…
That tenant’s advocate…
“Beth* the bully”
She put fear into Property Managers
And made us shake in our boots
The moment you stepped into the tribunal hearing room…
And saw Beth* waiting…
She saw you walk in, and she was going to wipe the floor with you…
Now, I wasn’t afraid of attending the tribunal…
But I was afraid of Beth – the tenant’s advocate.
And let me tell you why…
She knew her stuff
And she was confident
She would quote legislation
And stare down over her glasses at me
She towered above me
And her voice would carry down the corridor
Beth was there to advocate for tenants at the tribunal
And she was great at her job
But she was also a bit of a bully
She’d yell at me (and I was only 19 years old)
And she must have been at least 6 ft tall (I’m only 5 ft tall)
And in the beginning, she’d win tribunal cases against me.
Until one day, after a tribunal hearing, where she had beaten me to a pulp (metaphorically of course)
She turned up at my office about an hour later.
And she APOLOGISED!
She told me that she’s just doing her job
Her job was to represent, advocate and defend tenants.
And Beth encouraged me to do mine.
My job was to represent, advocate and defend my landlords.
Beth taught me three simple things…
- Start with confidence
Even when you’re shaking in your boots
- Know your stuff
Read your tenancy agreements, read the act, read the tribunal cases
- Don’t take it personally
This was the hardest one for me, but also the most powerful lesson of them all.
Now, the next time I saw Beth at the tribunal, I had my game face on…
I met with her confidently…
I’d been reading and researching, so I knew my stuff…
And I let go of the personal attachment.
I negotiated hard with Beth that day…
And for many wonderful years following that day…
In fact, Beth and I had some brilliant times together at the tribunal.
We debated, argued, quoted sections of the act…
And respected each other HUGELY from that day forward.
So next time you face a bully, remember what I learned from Beth the Bully:
They’re probably not a bully – deep, deep down.
They’re just using a technique that has worked for them in the past. It might not be a good technique, but it’s worked for them in the past, so they’re still using it.
And next time you’re heading off to the tribunal, remember this:
Know your stuff!
Do your job!
After all, that’s all “Beth the Bully” was doing anyway, right?
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*Beth isn’t her real name. I’ve changed it to protect her identity.