Where to start? I had the same problem this time last year when I did the same article. 2017 seems like a distant memory now as over the last 12 months, our industry has had everything thrown at it including a bucket of KFC!
In my time working within the Property Management industry and in particular the rental sector, I cannot think of a time when we have had so much upheaval. Saying that it has been a challenge is an understatement. We have a lot to look at so let’s not waste any more time. As ever, we would love your feedback along with your high’s and low’s of the year.
Last week, one of Wellington’s largest Property Management companies made the headlines for suggesting to landlords that they increase rents by $6 a week to recover the cost of the letting fee as they are forced into on charging it to the landlord. Many criticised Oxygen Property Management for taking such an approach however in our opinion, they were simply doing their job.
To expect a company not to try and recoup losses that their clients may face due to landlords absorbing the letting fee is utterly naive and delusional. If you believe that a landlord is not going to try and recover the costs from tenants then you are simply in denial or have no understanding about how business works.
Back In February 2018, the much anticipated Housing Stocktake of New Zealand was publish. This report which was commissioned by Housing Minister Phil Twyford back in November 2017 painted a sorry picture of the housing situation in New Zealand and in particular, for renters. The report was written by Alan Johnson of the Salvation Army. Philippa Howden-Chapman of Rental Warrant of Fitness fame, and Generation Rent author Shamubeel Euqab. The report is fascinating reading with many recommendations that we are now seeing in front of us through the Tenancy Reform Discussion document. Hopefully, you got a chance to make a submission.
Almost twelve months on from the formation of the Government, the changes around tenancy reform in New Zealand are coming thick and fast. Make no mistake, change is coming and particularly around the security of tenure. A case I dealt with recently highlights why tenants need more security.
Last week I received a call from a Property Manager last week asking for some guidance. The situation arose after a tenant was given 90 days notice to end the tenancy.
Let me explain the scenario for you that many of you reading this will probably relate to this story.
Never before has our industry come under such intense scrutiny as it has right now. Whether it be tenant groups, politicians, the media or the oppressive Tenancy Compliance and Investigation Team, everyone wants to attack Property Managers. In fairness, we seem to be giving them plenty of ammunition and the latest faux pas by a Wellington-based Property Management company was embarrassingly distasteful. One wonders what they must have been thinking?
With all the negative publicity and an increasingly vocal call from all parties to regulate our industry, it is now a case of when the regulation of our industry will happen rather than if.
Real iQ’s vision for the Property Management Industry
During Christmas of 2015, after surviving my first year in business, I sat down and wrote down a plan as to how I saw the future of Property Management and what type of role I wanted to play in the industry. It was at this point I decided to develop a Training Business to support Property Managers throughout the country. I simply wanted to make a positive impact on the industry that had given me so much pleasure and satisfaction. I had seen too many Property Managers in offices up and down the country struggle with a lack of resources, training and support. I truly believed that I could make a difference.
On Wednesday the 11th of July, Renters United launched their 'Plan to Fix Renting' and it grabbed plenty of media attention. This small group of volunteers have certainly been successful in drawing plenty of attention to themselves and whether you are a tenant or a landlord, you have to hand it to them they are extremely well run and have some prominent public figures backing their cause.
At the launch, they had Philippa Howden-Chapman of Rental Warrant of Fitness fame presenting and supporting them. They also had Sam Huggard of New Zealand Council of Trade Union presenting and Labour MP for Rongotai Paul Eagle was present as well.
In August 2014 two-year-old Emma Lita-Bourne died after suffering a brain haemorrhage. The story made the news the following winter after a coroner reported that the condition of the property had contributed to the little girl’s death. The property was contaminated and it wasn’t methamphetamine.
Instead, dampness and mould had played a significant contributing factor into the death of young Emma according to the coroner. It was a story that highlighted the sorry state of many rental properties around New Zealand and in particular, Housing New Zealand.
As winter approaches, few will dispute that the majority of rental property in New Zealand is not good enough. Thousands of tenants up and down the country live in cold, damp property that makes a mockery of our global clean green image.
Late last year a bill was passed through Parliament that will literally change the face the housing in New Zealand forever, yet many people are unaware as to the true impact of this legislation and the cost of compliance.
We explore the best options for dealing with the Letting Fee ban
Labour signal that there will be radical changes to the Residential Tenancies Act
We have been warning you now for nearly two years that this was coming and now the day of reckoning is nearly upon us. The new Residential Tenancies (Prohibiting Letting Fees) Amendment Bill is now at the Select Committee stage with public submissions on the bill open until the 23rd May. Expect this to be law by Christmas with a further three months before the fee is banned completely.