Fed up with property managers!

ANZAC landlord asks:
(updated on Wednesday, April 23rd 2014)

We live and work in Melbourne and own a property there. We also own a house in Auckland that we rent out. We previously had two properties in Auckland and have managed a property ourselves before. We are fed up with professional property managers as we find that we spend more time and effort managing them, in turn we end up managing them and the property remotely. I want to replace my current manager with a handy/general/gardner type person who can actually do something useful other than send me bills for late and incorrect information. Can we do this and do the admin via the internet? I would rather spend the money on flying back every three to six months to view the property myself. After using professional property managers for three and a half years (we've been through three already) and various nightmares. It's too stressful to describe. We would legally like to try an alternated approach that allows us to maintain our sanity and our bank balance. Please advise.

Our Experts Answer:

Under section 16A of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 “A landlord who is out of New Zealand for longer than 21 consecutive days “must ensure that the landlord has an agent in New Zealand”. That local agent has “all the rights and obligations of the landlord”. This spells out quite clearly that you are not permitted to do your own management via the internet. You must have a local agent whom the tenant can contact regarding maintenance, tenancy matters and serving notices. If you have a friend or relative who is competent in these areas, you may appoint them as your local agent. However, they may not appreciate a midnight call from a tenant when urgent maintenance is required! Your issues with one or two property managers should not be indicative of the entire industry. Your relationship is governed by a contract with your property manager. What has your manager contracted to do for you, and what are their responsibilities and authorities? If you are dissatisfied with your current manager you should find another manager who can give you the confidence that they will act in your best interests at all times. That does not necessarily mean that the manager will do what you want at all times! The manager must act upon their own best judgement, within the parameters of your instructions, but they are your contracted agent, not an employee.

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