Landlord fined $25,000 for failing to meet legal obligations

For one Auckland landlord, failing to lodge tenancy bonds on 32 occasions has led to a whopping $25,000 fine and a tainted reputation. This story, among others that have surfaced recently, prove that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) compliance and investigations team are well resourced and very active. But while more landlords and property managers are being held accountable, there are still further considerations to be made to ensure the industry is operating with a high level of integrity. Glasshouse team leader Jeremy Baker reflects on the progress the industry has made and puts forward his suggestions for a better future.

Positive changes under the TCIT

On the whole, property managers work hard to maintain a trustworthy reputation. We want to see rogue agents held accountable for their failure to adhere to certain standards and be removed from the industry if need be.

Thankfully, with the Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team (TCIT) being so active, and the media very willing to report on incompetent landlords and property managers, we are finally seeing a lift in professionalism and standards within the industry.

The Healthy Homes Guarantee Act legislation is a prime example of a positive shift in attitudes, as the industry is no longer taking a “she’ll be right” attitude and deferring action. Rather, all reputable agencies we’ve spoken to are actively working on meeting the 2021 compliance deadlines, Glasshouse included. This proactivity and change in attitude is in stark contrast to the attitudes around the previous insulation regulations that came into effect, where the rental management industry took many years to properly respond and act, therefore leaving changes to the last minute.

At Glasshouse, we proactively adopt and implement any changes in regulation, while keeping our clients well informed. We know that changes can create confusion around what is expected of you, which is why we make changes as smooth and easy as possible for our clients.

Where to from here?

Many property managers are calling for a licensing system for property managers, to help lift the game and improve accountability. The Glasshouse team fully support this notion, as we see many benefits in increased regulation – but only if it’s done well.

Below we break down two key changes we think would strengthen the industry.

Formal Accreditation

The Property Management industry is failing to attract and retain high-quality people. We believe this is in part due to a lack of formal recognition and development opportunities. Unfortunately, clients often don’t recognise the difference between good and poor property management until it’s too late to take meaningful action. Therefore, an industry accreditation process would help tenants and clients identify which property managers are likely to deliver good outcomes for everyone. A formal accreditation would also appeal to property managers who are serious about their career and want to progress in the industry.

To show our support for increased professionalism within rental agencies, and to upskill our team, all Glasshouse property managers have completed the Skills Level 4 Certificate in Property Management.

Registration for private landlords

We know there are more private landlords than property managers, and that it can be harder to reach and regulate these individuals. This is why we believe it is important to have a system in place that registers private landlords and imposes sanctions for repeated breaches of the act, including the ability to ban them from self-managing properties.

The Act already protects tenants.

If you are a landlord, keep in mind that the government is still deliberating on further changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), which could have major implications for landlords, such as the removal of the no-cause 90-day terminations.

Make sure you are a member of your local property investors association to support them in lobbying for sensible reforms.

Future focus for the TCIT

I strongly feel that enough work has been done in the regulation space of the property management industry, and believe that the government should pause any regulation changes for the meantime, and allow the recent changes to take full effect. Ultimately, the present focus needs to be on enforcing the current rules, not creating more and more new ones!

At Glasshouse, we pride ourselves on establishing harmony between tenants and landlords, working hard to ensure each party is fairly represented. We believe establishing and maintaining sincere relationships, and ensuring legal requirements are upheld from all sides is the best way to guarantee everyone has a positive rental experience.

If you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities as a landlord or want to discuss how Glasshouse can help manage your properties lawfully and successfully, please get in touch with our team here.

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