Property King rides off into the sunset as new laws emerge

While the Government has just introduced sweeping changes to regulate landlords and meth contaminated houses, former New Zealand Property Investors president Andrew King says in his final letter to members he is disappointed that he wasn’t able to prevent so many poorly researched and designed law changes becoming law.

Tuesday, November 22nd 2022

Now that King has ridden off into the sunset with his wife Sarah on a seven-month motorbike journey from San Francisco to Santiago in Chile, members won’t be getting his assessment of the latest law changes.

However, last month vice-president Peter Lewis said “a belief that a structured programme and the requirement that any monies received by a property manager be held in a trust account would lead to fewer problems in the property management industry, means there was room for improvement and regulation would probably assist.”

King spent more than quarter of a century (nearly half his life) within the property industry and says it is disappointing an old-fashioned view of the rental property owners has emerged so vehemently over the past five or so years. “I can honestly say I did my best, but there isn’t a lot of listening going on. However, these things go in cycles and one way or another I am sure we will once again be listened to before too long.”

Because he wanted better industry information, the federation started with the founding of the Residential Property Investor magazine. “The Auckland Property Investors Association took the magazine for its members and this started a relationship with the industry that I never imagined would be so all consuming.”

King says he wanted to professionalise the industry and bring it into the modern era where tenants were thought of as customers and not an unfortunate part of owning rental property.

Along with Martin Evans, Thomas Chin and Terry le Grove, they turned the federation into an industry body that considered the needs of tenants and not just landlords, he says.

“This change help advocacy work. We didn’t just complain about issues, we came up with well-researched and balanced solutions. We were apolitical and got on well with different political groups. Because of this, we were listened to and respected.”

He says the federation has achieved a lot - stopping capital gains taxes being introduced not once, not twice, but three times, continuing to halt a rental property warrant of fitness and draconian rental freezes.

“We have supported positive policies, such as compulsory smoke alarms and insulation in rentals. We supported most Healthy Homes initiative while preventing ridiculously expensive suggestions.”

One initiative King is particularly proud of is the winter energy payments. He says discussions with the Children’s Commissioner and Otago Medical School about children ending up in hospital from living in cold damp houses found that heaters not being turned on was a big part of the problem.

“My idea was to target these children’s families with winter payments going directly to electricity suppliers. When instigated the payment was reduced and given to a wide group of people, many who don’t need it, but it has helped many kids stay healthy and I am really glad for that.”

King says the federation has great plans to help members provide good rental properties to tenants who desperately need them and he  is looking forward to the removal of well-meaning but poorly thought out laws that have made it harder for landlords to provide people with good and affordable homes. “The existing situation is unacceptable and rental owners are part of the solution to fix it.”


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