Three options have emerged as the property management sector discusses how to set standards and ethics for the powerful but unregulated managers.
Manager Joanne Barreto wants them to join an Australian industry organisation, Strata Title Administration managing director Brent Williams wants the Government to appoint an ombudsman and the Real Estate Institute wants managers to join its ranks as a sign of adhering to standards and practices.
The ideas came to the fore after Herald publicity on a Tenancy Tribunal ruling recently, and a wide industry group said some form of regulation was needed to prevent a disaster in the sector.
Barreto, a body corporate manager who has worked in the industry here and across the Tasman for 18 years, is encouraging managers to join Strata Community Australia.
"I believe it is time to increase the education and professionalism across all elements of the industry. A New Zealand chapter would be beneficial to all," she said.
"I have recently returned from a meeting with the chief executive of Strata Community Australia, Kim Henshaw, and agreed to devote my time to the establishment of a professional body to act as an independent industry voice."
She plans to hold a meeting for managers to discuss joining the Australians at 11am on Wednesday, November 25 at a venue yet to be set in Auckland. She is encouraging interested parties to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org so they can make their interest known and she can advise the venue.
"There are things going on on a daily basis that would simply not be tolerated in other industries or sectors.
"Establishing the body and obtaining the support of a fiercely competitive and sometimes outright nasty industry will no doubt be a challenge that won't happen overnight, but we believe the first step is to get the key players and stakeholders into a room to discuss it," she said.
Lyn Gillingham of the Body Corporate Chairs Committee said the management field was huge.
"We have identified close to 5000 body corporates in the Auckland region, with an average 18 apartments each, so that's about 90,000 apartments potentially in Auckland and another 1000 planned in the next few years," she said.
Strata Community Australia has lobbied for managers to be more accountable. In August, Henshaw raised the issue of a strata manager in charge of a southwest Sydney unit block engulfed by a serious fire that claimed a woman's life.
Courts in all jurisdictions must "throw the book at a small element of bad apples who are putting millions of dollars in body corporate funds at risk by not acting in the best interests of their clients", Henshaw said.
Williams of Strata Title Administration in Auckland's CBD wants an ombudsman appointed "as a go-to person for people, before they use litigation but also in an educational role ..."
Dispute adjudication, mediation and resolution, setting standards and accreditation of managers could be some of the roles of an ombudsman, Williams said.
Property manager options:
• Join Strata Community Australia
• Lobby for an ombudsman
• Join the Real Estate Institute.