Government Regulates Property Managers and Extends Deadline for Kainga Ora Healthy Homes
The government plans to regulate residential property managers and the treatment of methamphetamine-contaminated homes, a measure it says will improve the lives of tenants and landlords.
In a series of measures announced Tuesday morning by Housing Minister Megan Woods, the government also confirmed that Kainga Ora will not be required to meet healthy homes compliance deadline by July 2023 as planned.
The Healthy Homes Regulations, introduced by the Labor Coalition Government in 2017, imposed heating and insulation requirements in rental properties to make homes healthier for tenants. Private landlords had to meet the requirements in July 2021 for all new or renewed leases, while the government has now gave his own home builder and owner an extension until July 2024.
Only 68% of the state’s housing portfolio required to meet standards is currently compliant, while work is underway on an additional 16% of homes.
* Landlords will not be regulated under the property management licensing regime
* Labor promise to regulate property managers welcomed by tenants
* Election 2020: Workers’ promise to regulate property managers hailed by REINZ
* Election 2020: ‘Vanilla’ housing policies unlikely to ease rental crowding in Auckland – economist
The deadline for all private homeowners to comply with the Healthy Homes Rules has been pushed back from 2024 to 2025.
National Housing Housing spokesman Christopher Bishop called the government’s decision to push back the deadline for healthy homes “the hypocrisy of the industrial strength of a government that simply cannot deliver on its promises on lodging”.
“The vast majority of private sector owners have done the right thing. They followed the rules. Now it turns out the government can’t actually play by its own rules.
“These are not Healthy Homes standards, they are double standards. Private landlords had to comply within 90 days of any new tenancy or tenancy renewal from July 1, 2021. The government has given itself years and still can’t get up to speed,” said Brooke van Velden from ACT.
Megan Woods said that covid was to blame for pushing back the dates.
Property managers ‘shocked’ by regulation plans
Residential property managers will also be regulated in a decision that responds to a commitment in the Labor Party manifesto in 2020.
Currently the sector is unregulated – although property managers who are members of an industry association must adhere to industry standards – which the government says can lead to inconsistent service for tenants and the owners.
Around a third of New Zealand households live in rental accommodation, and of this number, around 40% of these properties are managed by property managers.
Residential Property Managers Association President David Pearse said that while they are all in favor of regulating property managers, he was a little shocked by this morning’s announcement. He said he had obtained the release from a third party and was trying to find out more.
“There are very few details about how things will actually work in the one-pager. How can we submit or comment on something if we don’t know more details,” he said.
The new system will include mandatory registration and licensing for individual property managers and organizations, training and entry requirements, standards of practice, and a complaints and disciplinary process.
“Sometimes tenants are vulnerable to bad behavior from residential property managers, especially in a tight rental market. Following our steps to give tenants more protection through the Residential Tenancies Act, we made a clear commitment in 2020 to regulate residential property managers,” said Megan Woods.
“This means that, like many other professions such as estate agents, builders and lawyers, they will have standards of conduct and competence to meet and if they fail to do so they can be held liable.”
The government aims to table a bill in parliament in mid-2023.
Property Investors Federation vice-president Peter Lewis said the federation was in favor of regulating property managers because they manage other people’s money, and that there should be checks and balances around that .
“But that’s no guarantee of good behavior. A thief will still be a thief even if he’s a licensed thief.”
He said it was appropriate that self-managed landowners were not required to be registered.
Renters United chairman Geordie Rogers said he was surprised that at this stage private landlords who manage their own property are not required to be regulated.
Bishop said the party was open to potential regulation of property managers, but the party would have to see the details and would be reluctant to do anything that might add more cost to the rental price.
New rules for old meth houses
Woods also announced that the government will regulate former haunts of drug addicts contaminated with methamphetamine and consult on the amount of methamphetamine residue is acceptable or harmful, suggestions on how to test for methamphetamine, decontaminate homes, and what to do with contaminated property.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has commissioned updated scientific research on methamphetamine exposure to inform its new proposals. Consultations are expected to begin on November 22.
“We have science-informed proposals, on screening, testing and decontamination, with clear obligations for owners,” Woods said.
“Under National, that question was dog breakfast; hundreds of tenants have been needlessly evicted from public housing through the application of pseudo-science, and we are cleaning up this mess.
“While the witch hunt against social housing tenants has come to a halt under this government and former chief scientific adviser Sir Peter Gluckman’s 2018 report resulted in a more scientific approach to the dangers of residues, it It’s time to settle the rules once and for all,” she said.
“Almost 600,000 households rent in New Zealand and these measures will mean regulated oversight of residential property managers, science-based rules on methamphetamine residue testing and a reprieve for landlords from meeting a compliance deadline. “Woods said.