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Australian PMs fare better than NZ colleagues

28 May 2014 Steven Cross

If you think running a property management business is hard in Australia, spare a thought for our counterparts across The Tasman.

While it varies from city to city, 70 per cent of privately-owned residential rental properties in Australia are managed by real estate professionals, according to director of the Leading Property Managers of Australia (LPMA) Bob Walters.

But in New Zealand, it’s closer to 30 per cent.

“It’s a very DIY culture and a majority of landlords manage their own investments. They seem to be very careful with their money and would prefer to save the money," he said.

“Here, you grow your rent roll by being better than your competition; in New Zealand your main competition is your potential client.”

Over the weekend, the LPMA hosted its New Zealand conference, LPMNZ, but some changes to the line-up had to be made before it went ahead.

“It’s a very different market, so we had to bring in some local speakers as well as some Aussie ones to show them what it’s like over here,” said Mr Walters.

While the Australian rental market is undoubtedly more in favour of property management businesses, legislation in New Zealand is much more relaxed.

“The second major difference is that the property management industry in New Zealand is totally deregulated, which means you don’t need any sort of licence to be a rental manager,” said Mr Walters.

And while the Kiwis have a Residential Tenancies Act, it’s not as dense as the Australian counterpart.

“For example, you can design your own tenancy agreement and your own condition report, whereas in most states of Australia they’re prescribed," he said.

“The scary thing is there is no requirement to have a trust account, or for it to be audited, so there is greater potential for fraud on trust accounts.

“Not to mention the fact there is no educational requirement for property managers, so anyone can hang a sign and end up managing millions of dollars worth of property.

“In my view, it would be much safer to open a business in Australia. And I think that if a highly skilled, experienced property management operator opened a business in New Zealand, it wouldn’t be overly challenging to be a market leader.”

Australian PMs fare better than NZ colleagues
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