No additional regulation for property managers

  • Nathan Guy

A review has found that additional regulation of property managers is not justified, says Associate Minister of Justice Nathan Guy.

The review, by the Ministry of Justice, arose out of comments to the Select Committee that considered the Real Estate Agents Bill about the exclusion of residential letting services, and property management services generally, from the scope of the Bill.

Mr Guy said the general principle which was applied was that an occupation should only be regulated when it was necessary to reduce the risk of significant harm, and the industry or market was unable to regulate itself adequately.

"Like other service providers, property managers are already subject to a wide range of obligations under the general law, including contract law and the Fair Trading Act, which can be enforced through Disputes Tribunals and the courts.

"When property owners have problems with property managers, the loss is usually less than $15,000, which is the new limit proposed for Disputes Tribunals. That means consumers will be able to seek redress for most problems through the Tribunals."

Mr Guy said the review had identified a lack of consumer awareness about what to expect from property management services and what to do when things went wrong. "The Ministry of Justice has been directed to consult with departments about options for raising consumer awareness.

"I am also pleased to see that the industry is taking steps to improve the quality of property management services. Many property managers belong to organisations that encourage best practice to ensure a good standard of service is provided."

Occupational regulation of property managers would likely have meant additional compliance costs which could have led to job losses. The additional costs would probably have been passed on to owners and tenants through rent increases.

Mr Guy said that letting services in respect of commercial property would continue to be restricted to lawyers, conveyancing practitioners, and real estate agents.

"The Government has no plans to change that. We did not receive enough information about the commercial sector to justify changing the status quo at this time, but we will keep this under review," he said.