Government pushes for regulation of residential property management

New Zealand is presently one of the few countries in the OECD that does not regulate property managers

Government pushes for regulation of residential property management

The New Zealand government has released proposals aimed at regulating residential property management to protect the interests of both landlords and tenants, the Ministry of Housing announced.

According to the housing ministry, the proposals aim to promote public confidence in the delivery of residential property management services and safeguard the interests of property owners, tenants and other consumers.

“We are one of the few countries in the OECD that does not regulate property managers,” Associate Minister of Housing Poto Williams said. “Today’s proposals are part of a suite of initiatives designed to improve the operation of the residential tenancies market and ensure New Zealanders have access to secure, healthy, and affordable housing.”

The proposals introduce the Healthy Homes Standards to improve cover heating, insulation and ventilation and modify the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act to avoid unreasonable termination of tenancy agreement by landlords. They also include a new licensing regime requiring residential property managers to comply with a Code of Conduct.

In addition, the proposals lay out measures prohibiting rental bids, limiting rent increases to once every 12 months and enhancing tenant’s privacy if they succeeded in their residential tenancy dispute before the Tenancy Tribunal. They also include a provision forbidding landlords from withholding their consent if a tenant requested to make minor repairs and maintenance to the rented property.

“Property owners are also vulnerable to poor conduct by property managers, and we know of some instances were unregulated property managers have misused rental income and bonds and provided little or no property inspection and maintenance,” Williams said. “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.”

The housing ministry launched a consultation process to seek public feedback on the proposals. The consultation runs until 19 April.

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