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Is It Time to Regulate the Property Management Sector?

Is It Time to Regulate the Property Management Sector?

Consumer NZ recently released a report drawn from their investigation into New Zealand’s rental property sector for which they surveyed 1062 Consumer NZ members about the issues they faced as tenants in today’s rental market. Just 35% of those renting through property management companies rated their service as “high”, compared with 54% of those renting with private landlords. The report highlights that tenants feel they are stuck in the rental market with 64% saying their main reason for renting was because they could not afford to buy a house, 18% saying they had been tenants for 6 to 10 years, and 38% renting for 10 years or more.

The report states “there’s a much higher chance you’ll get a bad deal if you rent through a property management company”. Whilst we accept that the statement is reflective of their survey we are thankful that it is at odds with the feedback we receive from our tenants. As a reputable property management company Oxygen continuously enjoy very positive feedback as evidenced through rating surveys that utilise Net Promoter Score methodology and more recently, the verified consumer reviewer Trustpilot.

Every month Oxygen has an independent third party survey 300 of our current tenants and landlords using the proven research metric ‘Net Promotor Score’. This provides us with an up to date insight into what our customers think of us right here, right now. In simple terms our customers are asked to score Oxygen on a scale of 0 – 10 (with 10 being the highest) as to “would you recommend Oxygen to friends and family” of 510 most recently surveyed tenants 71% scored between 7 and 10 with a significant 43% scoring a 9 or 10. In an effort to remedy potential issues Oxygen strictly follows up any respondents whose score (0 - 6) would potentially indicates that they are less than satisfied with our service. In summary the combined NPS score for Oxygen is 17, four times the industry benchmark of 4. For a service orientated business working constantly between the tension and sometimes competing objectives of landlords and tenants this is strongly indicative of a consistent focus on service delivery. As a comparison when this is measured against the NPS benchmarks for industry sectors that are less exacting such as beauty therapy (NPS19), plumbers (NPS13) it further reflects the focus on service. Likewise a separate verified rating technique (unlike the wild west of Google reviews) using Trust Pilot rates Oxygen as four stars out of five across 161 respondents which can be viewed at https://nz.trustpilot.com/review/oxygen.co.nz

The experience of tenants in today’s rental market can vary hugely. Property management companies, a term used in the broadest sense, have proliferated in recent years and reports suggest between 40% and 50% of New Zealand rental properties are currently managed by these companies. With the ever increasing complexity of the legislative and regulatory environment there is a strong argument for using a professional property management company. As a company that invests heavily in systems, training and compliance not to mention reputation we share the broad concerns expressed in the Consumer NZ report.

Notwithstanding that the report is at odds with our own experience, we hope that investigations and surveys such as these will reinforce the need for well-considered regulation of the industry. We also welcome changes to tenancy law that improves the rental market for everyone while also solving underlying issues such as affordability, availability and the right to a healthy and safe home.

This year is set to become a significant year of change, with the government planning to conduct extensive consultation within the sector with a view to a reform of tenancy legislation and subsequent introduction into Parliament.

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