Letting services will be under the spotlight after the government decided against including property managers in tighter regulation for real estate agents, according to a cabinet document.
By Paul McBeth
Cabinet will invite the Real Estate Agents Authority when it is formed to monitor letting services of commercial property managers, with a view to report back on the issue in February 2011, according to former Associate Justice Minister Richard Worth's paper on the review of regulation of property managers.
Worth did not consider it appropriate to deregulate commercial letting services, despite the Real Estate Agents Act allowing residential property managers to charge the fee to property owners.
The door has been left open for residential property managers to charge tenants letting fees, and the issue will be discussed when the Social Services Select Committee reviews the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill.
"That was in response to concerns that allowing real estate agents, but not other property managers, to charge a letting fee to residential tenants gives real estate agents preferential treatment" and this was inconsistent with the direction of the new act, Worth said in his paper.
The Social Services Committee will probably wrap up its hearings on the bill early next week, with a report due in October.
Associate Justice Minister Nathan Guy excluded property managers from extra regulation earlier this month, saying additional laws would unfairly add compliance costs and that existing legislation was adequate to cover any possible disputes that may arise.
The government said issues arising between property managers and owners usually resulted in losses of less than $15,000, which would be under the new limit proposed for Disputes Tribunals, and would best be left up to the tribunals.
The Ministry of Justice review took place after comments to the Justice Select Committee raised the prospect of excluding residential letting services and property management in general from the Real Estate Agents Bill.