Many landlords and property managers are responsible and treat their tenants well – but some let everyone else down. There is no licencing or registration of landlords, property managers, or rental properties in Aotearoa. The Government does not have a coordinated way of keeping track of which properties are rented, who owns them, or how much rent is charged. Compared to other occupations that provide services that affect peoples’ personal wellbeing and safety like taxi drivers, doctors, and builders, there is no professional regulation for people who choose to run rental properties as a business.
All of the reasonable rent options need a good base of information to make them work. We think the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development should create a register of rental properties, their owners, and intermediaries like property managers. This would enable the Government to track the amount of rent charged for a property over time, and compare it easily to other similar properties. If a landlord kept breaking the rules around rents or other tenant protections like Healthy Homes Standards, they could be struck off the register and not allowed to be a landlord anymore.
The Government should also bring rental property managers into a similar regulatory system to real estate agents. That would enable professional standards to be set, a formal complaints mechanisms to be put in place, and clear penalties for breaking the rules. Property managers who repeatedly breach their obligations could have their licence revoked.