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Residential property management in Auckland

Alison Reid
Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
Publication date:  

Home ownership is beyond the reach of increasing numbers of New Zealanders, and the traditional pathway from renting as a short-term option and a transitional form of tenure has become substantially disrupted. Renting will be a long-term, possibly permanent, proposition for a growing number of households in Auckland. Questions are emerging over the long-term social and economic impacts of this groundswell shift in tenure, and the adequacy of New Zealand’s current rental system to ensure safe, secure and affordable housing options.

This paper considers one dimension of the rental market: the role and function of the property management sector. It is part of a broader research programme that Auckland Council’s Research and Evaluation Unit (RIMU) is conducting to ensure that decisions over Auckland's future housing market are supported by robust analysis.

This study explores the role and function of the residential property management sector in Auckland. New Zealand’s housing system relies heavily on the provision of rental stock by private property owners, based both in New Zealand and overseas. Owners may not have the ability, or the inclination, to fulfil their responsibilities as a landlord under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA), and many appoint a professional property manager to act as their agent. Yet, little is known about this sector and it is largely overlooked in the literature.

The study focused on commercial residential property management services. The sector is unregulated and property management services are fragmented. A range of services are offered under the property management banner. Property management has a strong relationship with the real estate industry, and most large real estate companies include a property management function. However, it is not restricted to the real estate industry. Residential property managers can also be part of one or two-person independent companies, or be employees or contractors working within dedicated property management companies.

Income is derived largely from the collection of fees attached to transactions, most notably the collection of rents and undertaking property inspections.

Auckland Council technical report, TR2017/018