Unreliable property manager

Question from Sam updated on 21st March 2016:

I signed up with a local property management company in Palmerston North to manage my rental property. The agent is extremely unreliable in getting anything done or responding to e-mails.

I signed an agreement as per which I am supposed to give them three months notice. Is there any way I can cancel it with shorter notice considering that I am not really getting any value out of the arrangement?

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

Your management agreement appears to be quite specific in describing the cancellation process. As long as the agent is fulfilling their required duties you will need to follow that process and give the required three months’ notice to terminate.

However, your property manager is your agent, and must act in accordance with your best interests. If you feel that is not happening I suggest you call them and express your concerns. You haven’t said how long or frequent the delays have been in their responding to your e-mails. The manager may be able to sort these communication issues out and get things back to a good working relationship with you. This can save you the need to build another relationship with an alternative property manager.

If you can’t get the level of comfort that you need with the property manager, you should try to negotiate a tidy termination of the management. Failing that, you can give the required notice and terminate the management unilaterally. The alternative is to make an application to the Disputes Tribunal to terminate the agreement. The outcome of this, however, is not certain, and it will cost you time and the application fee. You will probably find the easiest course is to simply give the required notice.

Bernard is principal of Quinovic – Kapiti-Mana. Quinovic's outstanding people and systems provide the most professional, effective and reliable residential property management service in the NZ market for over 30 years.

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