Property managers play a powerful role in the housing of over 600,000 New Zealanders, including 43% of all children and those vulnerable to housing insecurity.
Property management is currently unregulated in New Zealand. According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand we are one of the few countries in the OECD that does not regulate property managers. In Australia, for example, property managers must meet the same rules as real estate agents - including being licensed and meeting minimum qualification requirements.
Labour will introduce a mandatory Code of Conduct and licensing regime to ensure property management services meet professional standards. This is something that REINZ has campaigned for, with the full support of Harcourts and other industry bodies.
Minister Kris Faafoi addressed the REINZ Residential Property Management Conference in October to discuss what form regulation of the property management industry would take. Minister Faafoi stated that the intention was to introduce a Code of Conduct and licensing regime for property managers with standards that are reliable, trustworthy, and put the protection of tenants and landlords at the center of those standards. He said that Labour will work with industry to develop practical standards and consider the similarities and differences with the existing regulatory regime for real estate agents. A property manager will need to comply with a Code of Conduct, meet a good character test and follow a framework for tenants and their advocates to raise and resolve issues they have with their property managers.
Introducing industry standards will protect both property owners and tenants, and will raise the standard of property management in New Zealand.
The move towards a regulated property management industry is welcomed by Harcourts. We currently self-regulate by ensuring that all monies are held in audited trust accounts, offices are using reputable trust accounting software and our property managers are committed to continued professional development.
This article is featured in Harcourts' Property Management Focus Newsletter, Issue 11 2020.