18 February 2022

Government proposes regulation of property managers

The government is proposing to regulate property managers, who look after around 40 percent of the country’s residential rental properties.

Associate Housing Minister, Poto Williams, has released a discussion paper outlining plans to clean up the industry, including a new licensing regime requiring property managers to comply with a code of conduct, and a complaints process.

Under the proposals, tenants and landlords would be able to complain about the actions of property managers. Individual property managers could face fines of up to $40,000 – and property management companies could face a $100,000 fine.

The tenants’ rights group, Renters United spokesperson Geordie Rogers, has welcomed the move but points out it still doesn’t cover 58 percent of the rental properties in the market managed privately by the owner.

“Whether the service is being provided by a property manager that doesn't own the property, or a property owner, they should both be expected to operate in the same way. We're not talking about the accreditation of upholstery repairers, we're talking about regulating a group of people who provide an essential need, housing.”

The proposed complaints and disciplinary system is modelled on that of the real estate industry.

The discussion paper suggests the licensing and certification of property managers could be done by the Real Estate Authority (REA).

Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said “We would strongly urge the Ministry to ensure any licensing and disciplinary regime is independent from the industry it is regulating for obvious reasons.”

Associate Housing Minister, Poto Williams, said regulating the property management sector is about making things fairer for renters and landlords. “We have heard the calls of the sector, which has said the lack of regulations mean renters feel reluctant to complain to, or about, their property manager for fear of losing their homes or jeopardising their ability to rent houses in the future.”

But Renters United argues that just licensing property managers will do little to stop this. “If we want to stop property managers from blacklisting tenants or exploiting tenants because they tried to uphold their own rights this plan needs a lot more oversight than it currently has.”

Consumer NZ will be making a submission on the proposal in the coming weeks.

Member comments

Get access to comment

Larrie T.
04 Mar 2022
Whistle-blower legislation

There must surely be a way to implement Whistle-Blower procedure that allows for tenants to raise issues with property managers without the managers knowing who the complainant is??

May L.
02 Mar 2022
Will More Legislation Actually Fix It?

We have had licensing and registration for lawyers, teachers, accountants, real estate sales people and other professions for many years.
However hardly a week goes by without media reports of one or more of these people fiddling their trust accounts or otherwise behaving badly.
You cannot simply legislate bad people out of existence.
Also, there will be a cost to this process, and guess where those costs will inevitably end up - in the rents.

Kerry H.
02 Mar 2022
They're not all dodgy

We are fortunate in having an excellent property manager acting for us in Hamilton .. he's youthful, resourceful, and all documentation (statements) are accurate & regular. Listens equally to both tenant & landlord & a real problem-solver.
If it's permissible to name .. Jared McCarthy / Ray Whites

Denise C.
28 Feb 2022
Not just Property Managers

If more is to be done it should also include private landlords who do nothing. Perhaps more advice to them should be coming out of MBIE who hold the bonds.

John T.
27 Feb 2022
Influx of people

Dig to the source. Government allowing more immigrants because they bring in more income to government than locals. This proves government is not looking after constituents, causing housing shortages, causing infrastructure disruption, causing more traffic chaos, causing loss of reputation of "clean & green".

Barbara L.
26 Feb 2022
About time Property Managers were held accountable

The rental property next door was systematically trashed by a supposed young couple. It turned out to be several party hard people who made our lives hell with the noise and the vomiting over our gate and urinating everywhere. The Property Manager was not to be seen until the tenants damaged our property again and we rang the police. The tenants were finally evicted and it cost the owner a lot of money to get it to saleable standard. The property manager was being paid to monitor the property over several years and if we had known the owners contact details we would have let them know. If I had a rental property I would manage it myself and not pay these dodgy people.

Lance G.
26 Feb 2022
property managers

most are useless , see on TV all the bad tenants they put in and have to evict or pass all the damage costs onto the poor landlord , yes they should be licensed and held accountable , they are acting in a professional role