Labour plans to regulate property managers

Property managers will be regulated and subject to a Code of Conduct to ensure they meet professional standards if the Labour Party returns to power after the election.

Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern

The newly announced plan is part of the Labour Party’s new housing policy which was launched today by Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern and housing spokesperson Megan Wood.

A big focus of the policy is to keep the construction sector moving in a bid to increase housing supply while stimulating the economy and creating jobs in the wake of Covid-19.

That means Labour is committing to delivering more public and transitional houses (18,000 by 2024) and repealing the Resource Management Act (RMA) to reduce the barriers to building new homes.

Recently announced initiatives like the $350 million Residential Development Response Fund, which aims to support the residential construction sector post Covid-19, and the Construction Sector Accord would fit into this.

The party also committed to continue supporting first home buyers via a progressive home ownership scheme and working to combat homelessness.

Ardern says Labour recognises that there is a significant issue with housing in New Zealand.

Their housing plan builds on the policies Labour has implemented in their first term, with momentum building in public housing, KiwiBuild properties and market developments, and pathways for home ownership, she says.

“Labour stopped the wholesale sell off of public housing, banned offshore speculation and has invested heavily in rebuilding our public and emergency housing safety net.

"We firmly believe that all New Zealanders have the right to live in warm, dry, healthy homes, whether we rent or own our homes.

“We will continue to ensure tenants and landlords have a fair deal by regulating property managers, following our work setting basic health standards for rental properties.”

That’s why, as part of their housing plan, Labour will introduce the regulation of property management services to ensure they meet professional standards and a Code of Conduct.

At the policy launch, Woods noted that multiple groups from Consumer NZ to the Property Council have called for action on lifting the performance of property management services.

This is true: A range of groups and organisations, including REINZ, Barfoot & Thompson and property management company Real-IQ, have been calling for regulation of the property management industry for years.

However, until recently, the Labour-led Government have not indicated any plans to move on those calls – although one of its coalition partners, the Greens, has long advocated for action.

It seems the time is now right to address the issue and today’s announcement was welcomed by many including REINZ, which has been campaigning for regulation for over 10 years.

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell says they are delighted that Labour would work with the industry to develop practical standards to ensure property managers comply with a code of conduct.

This is a positive step towards improving the lives of many people around the country, she says. “New Zealand is currently one of the few countries in the OECD that does not regulate its property managers.

“This lack of regulation has had a negative impact on tenants and landlords who have reported bad experiences due to property managers acting unprofessionally and not being held accountable for their actions. It also jeopardises the reputation of good property managers who are doing a great job in the industry.”

Having a level playing field, clarity and transparency in the property management industry will help ensure there is a better rental market for all New Zealanders, Norwell adds.

Read the Labour Party's housing policy here.

Read more:

Calls for property management regulation grow 

Govt must regulate property managers – REINZ 

Greens propose more landlord regulations 

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