Landlords top property managers for tenants

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Tenants who deal with their landlord directly tend to be happier with the service than those who deal with property managers, Consumer NZ has revealed.

By Miriam Bell

A new Consumer NZ survey of 1,062 tenants has found that just 35% of respondents rated their property manager’s service highly.

In comparison, 54% of respondents with a private landlord were happy with the service they received.

Further, the survey found that tenants renting through a property management company are more likely to experience problems than those renting from a private landlord.

Consumer NZ head of research Jessica Wilson says tenants who dealt with a property manager were much more likely to report their home lacked adequate heating and had persistent mould.

“Compared with private landlords, property managers were also more likely to delay getting repairs done. 42% of those who dealt with a property manager said they’d made requests for repairs but were kept waiting for a response.”

Wilson says tenants dealing with a property manager were also more likely to worry about the repercussions of making a complaint, fearing they’d be evicted or their rent would increase.

“Our survey shows the experience of tenants in today’s rental market varies hugely. But there’s a much higher chance you’ll get a bad deal if you rent through a property management company.”

Property management companies have been growing in recent years and Consumer NZ estimates that about 40% of rental properties are now in their hands.

For this reason, Wilson says the regulation of property managers needs to be included in the tenancy law reforms which have been signalled by the government.

“We’ve previously reported on problems in this industry, which has attracted complaints from both renters and landlords. Our survey provides further evidence voluntary self-regulation of property managers isn’t working.”

Independent Property Managers Association (IPMA) president Karen Withers agrees the industry should be regulated – and believes it will be at some stage.

She says the IPMA is in favour of some type of official licensing system because it will help to get people who are not practising property management properly out of the business.

“If a licensing system goes forward, clients will have a framework to look to in order to see if a property manager is doing things correctly.”

Meanwhile, the Consumer NZ survey also lists the top problems reported at rental properties. They are:

• Pests: 34%
• Insufficient heating or insulation: 29%
• Doors or windows that don’t close properly: 28%
• Mould that’s difficult to remove or reappears: 26%
• Water leaks: 26%
• Appliances that don’t work properly: 17%
• Locks that don’t work: 14%

Consumer NZ is calling for changes to tenancy law - including security of tenure and the introduction of a blacklist of unfair terms and fees - to improve conditions for tenants.

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