Public submissions are now open for the Residential Property Managers Bill. The closing date for submissions is Thursday, October 12, 2023.
You can submit your feedback and opinions on the bill using the following link: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/make-a-submission/document/53SCSS_SCF_D87A5C1C-3996-4894-281A-08DB9F707DF9/residential-property-managers-bill
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has outlined the key features of the proposed regime, which you can review here: https://www.hud.govt.nz/our-work/regulating-residential-property-managers/
If the Bill is enacted, there will be an 18-month period for the Regulatory Authority to establish systems, create regulations, and set operational standards. Following this, there will be an additional 6 months for residential property managers and RPMOs to obtain licenses before the regime takes full effect, 24 months after enactment.
The Residential Property Managers Bill was introduced to Parliament in August 2023. Its primary aim is to establish a comprehensive regulatory regime for residential property managers and residential property management organizations. This bill is designed to provide assurance to property owners and tenants that all residential property managers meet conduct and competency standards and are qualified and accountable.
The proposed regulatory system will include:
– Compulsory registration and licensing for individual property managers and property management organizations.
– Training and entry requirements.
– Industry practice standards.
– A complaints and disciplinary process.
At Goodwins, we strongly support this Bill, while also questioning the proposed exemptions for private landlords (including their employees), public landlords (including Kāinga Ora, its employees, and agents), and community housing providers and their employees.
Our clients know that our team has remained licensed, even after the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 effectively deregulated our industry. Throughout this time, we have maintained professional trust accounts that undergo regular audits, and our team comprises some of the most educated and highly trained property managers in New Zealand.
Regulation is crucial to eliminate unprofessional practices within our industry and instil greater public trust. It will also provide tenants with the assurance that their property manager has undergone appropriate vetting. Ultimately, all tenants will benefit from having more capable property managers, thanks to prescribed training and requirements of continuous professional development.
With nearly a third of New Zealand households residing in rental accommodation, it seems logical for this Bill to extend its scope to include the regulation of private/self-managing landlords. Additionally, property managers responsible for public housing tenants should be held to the same standards, including training, industry practices, and complaints and disciplinary processes.
In this regard, we echo the sentiments of various spokespeople who have expressed disappointment in the lack of regulation for private landlords. As one quote aptly puts it, “If you’re renting a property under the Residential Tenancies Act and delivering a service to tenants, you should be held to a high standard.”
The Real Estate Institute rightly highlights the increasing complexity of property management and the need for entry standards and an independent disciplinary and complaints resolution process. “Over the past four years, we’ve seen a raft of changes to legislation, including the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act, Healthy Homes legislation, changes to the Privacy Act and Health and Safety at Work Act, and more. Add to that environmental and social challenges, and we have a profession that New Zealanders have come to rely on.” These measures are essential to ensure minimum standards and safeguards in a profession that has a profound impact on people’s homes.
Ryan Weir, deputy chairperson of the Residential Property Managers Association, astutely points out that not regulating private landlords is “akin to cleaning one room in a house while ignoring the mess in the rest of the rooms”. He emphasizes the importance of having a register of landlords and checks in place to ensure basic knowledge and standards. Furthermore, it’s crucial to hold property managers at Kāinga Ora to the same standards, given their responsibility for the homes of vulnerable community members.
Your participation in the public submissions process for this Bill can help shape the future of the property management industry in New Zealand. We encourage you to voice your opinions and concerns through the provided link before the October 12th deadline.