A residential property manager in New Zealand takes on the responsibility of looking after a rental property on behalf of the property owner. Property management includes managing tenants, maintenance, inspections and regulatory requirements.
What is the role of a property manager?
A property manager is defined by Tenancy Services, as the landlord's agent. In effect, a property manager or the management agency is the landlord of the property and are expected to perform the tasks you would usually expect a landlord to do. These tasks would include, but are not limited to;
The process for finding tenants can be difficult for an inexperienced landlord. Some property owners elect to hire a property manager solely for this purpose, then go on to manage the rest of the tenancy themselves. Most property management agencies will take care of all task including taking photos, listing the rental on popular listing services, taking applications from tenants, screening and doing credit checks then compiling and signing a tenancy agreement. All of this can take time and experience to do well. It is in the best interest of property owners and managers to get the best possible tenants to make the property their home, so this process is very important.
Landlords in NZ are required to do inspections twice per year to satisfy their insurance requirements. A property manager will perform these by arranging a time to visit, walking the property and taking photos. An inspection report that includes any notes of general maintenance and damage should be expected once an inspection has been done. Inspections reports, properly documented and filed are an important way to track the condition of property and are often used as evidence in tenancy tribunal cases or simply as a way to track and forecast maintenance needs.
One of the most important aspects of the property management job is rent collection. Typically this is a smooth somewhat automated process, however staying on top of this can require coordination and effective management.
The emerging PropTech movement in New Zealand is helping property managers and landlords manage this to ensure compliance and positive outcomes for tenants and landlords. Wellington company Grove Rent is enabling property managers and landlords to automate their rent tracking and rent book activities
Are property managers regulated?
Property managers were regulated under the real estate institute until 2008 when the real estate act came into existence and property managers were not included.
There is a growing movement in New Zealand calling for the regulation of the industry. Many from within the industry are calling for their own businesses to be regulated to promote transparency and a higher general standard of service. It's fair to say that property managers haven't had the best reputation in the last decade in this country. Some point to just a few managers ruining the reputation of an industry. More regulation could see a proper register of property managers along with accountability and punishments for unacceptable behaviour and actions, just like we see with real estate agents.
Is it worth having a property manager?
This becomes a personal decision for each landlord. You might find the property owners most likely to employ a property manager are those that live overseas, own only one rental property or are too busy to manage a property.
Landlords who own multiple rental properties tend to manage their own as they gain experience and become more comfortable navigating the various regulations and are comfortable communicating with tenants.
How much is a property manager paid?
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), have published that property managers charge a fee between 7.5 and 8.5 per cent of the rent. The split between managers and agencies can be variable.
Careers.govt.nz notes that “Pay for property managers varies depending on experience. New property managers start on between $45,000 and $75,000 a year. Mid-level property managers can earn between $75,000 and $100,000. Senior property managers can earn from $100,000 to $130,000”
How to become a property manager in New Zealand?
There are various level 4 courses in real estate management that you can take. Typically some form of real estate qualification will be gained by those entering the profession, although this is not a strict requirement. As we move forward, we may see property management become regulated and therefore further qualifications or certifications may be required.