The first consideration is to acknowledge that private investors play the highest and most valuable role in the New Zealand housing system. They provide over 85% of rental housing compared with the less than 15% provided by state owned housing. The Government sector have shown that they are not capable of supplying the housing needs of the nation. Therefore any discussions around the Government or local bodies providing more housing are unrealistic, so the system remains a public private partnership.
The New Zealand Property Investors Federation (NZPIF) plays a valuable role in providing its 17 Property Investor Association ‘member groups’ with impartial information that is shared, and also carries out valuable advocacy work on behalf of all property investors. An education certificate course, Rentskills, has been created by long-time member and national Vice-President Peter Lewis as an accessible and convenient way to ensure knowledge of the Residential Tenancies Act and also best practice in managing tenants. The course is free to members.
When natural disasters like floods and earthquakes occur, members are supported and information is shared with members of Associations about how to manage tenants, insurance and property.
All of this has been entirely funded by owners through their memberships without any Government support. Our voices have been heard across the numerous revisions of the Residential Tenancies Act and on a myriad of topics, such as taxation, meth levels, property managers, pets and much more.
Speakers educate members while ensuring impartiality of the organisation. The only product being sold is membership and the annual national Conference, where awards are presented to people demonstrating outstanding tenant management skills.
Beyond all this, PIA members collectively subscribe to a code of ethics which centres on respect for, and fair dealing with, tenants. The NZPIF code of ethics includes guidelines around community, compliance, and interpersonal responsibilities. It covers tenant relationships, professional behaviour, discrimination, confidentiality, community and compliance.
All residential rental properties have to comply with the Healthy Homes legislation. The NZPIF and its local property associations have supported the spirit of this legislation, and have worked to ensure that the requirements are realistic and ‘fit for purpose’.
Some politicians, theoreticians, and media commentators excel at creating a combative ‘them and us’ narrative around people who own investment properties being, by definition, bad people, but we encourage our members to be compliant. We have assembled a pool of trustworthy suppliers who are able to inform and advise on the products and services required to achieve compliance and who can do so at highly advantageous prices.
As Governments load the risks, obligations and costs onto property owners this is structurally changing the rental market and creating a huge rental shortages that is going to be hard to replace. With the overwhelming majority of available rentals being privately owned houses, we desperately need those people. There are already far more tenants out there than people who can offer them tenancies, so part of facilitating an adequate rental supply is to ensure property owners are well informed.
Private landlords have been proven to generally be excellent stewards of their tenants and those people who join our organisation are striving to be the best. They're working hard to know the rules and to do the best they can by tenants, while managing the significant risks and burdens of ownership.
Join your local Property Investors Association to meet with friendly like-minded people who know about your local area, and enrol in the NZPIF RentSkills Education Program for Landlords.
www.nzpif.org.nz or email firstname.lastname@example.org.