An advertisement that appears to suggest landlords aren't charging enough rent if tenants can afford a night out with drinks has been pulled.
Property manager Quinovic's Te Aro franchise in Wellington posted the ad on its Facebook page, showing people clinking glasses underneath a tagline asking landlords if they were financing their tenant's social lives.
Next to the ad, the franchise wrote it was expert "at maximising the return of your investment property".
A second ad stated, "Your tenants may hate us. You will love us!", while a third showed two people in a confrontation alongside the line: "Afraid to man up? We aren't."
Tenancy advocacy group Renters United described the ads as "particularly shameless".
"The adverts candidly show how Quinovic views tenants – as objects to be bullied and exploited," spokeswoman Kate Day said.
The ads even sparked a joking meme on Facebook, which stated: "Can your tenants still afford to eat? Then you're doing landlording wrong."
Quinovic chief operating officer Paul Chapman confirmed this afternoon the ads had been pulled because they did not conform to the company's "brand standards".
"Quinovic Group office do not support the imagery and messaging in the ads, and we have censured the franchisee in the strongest possible way," he said.
While Quinovic worked for property owners, it also recognised the need to look after tenants, he said.
"The happier the tenant, the longer they will stay and the more they will look after the property," he said.
The advertisements originally appeared on Quinovic Te Aro's Facebook page.
People who clicked on the ads were then taken to a survey page.
"The Facebook campaign was a local office initiative. It was not a national initiative," Chapman said.
The ads come after the Herald last week revealed landlords were increasingly demanding copies of prospective tenants' bank statements in a move denounced as "unethical" and criticised by Housing Minister Phil Twyford.
Auckland-based property manager Rachel Kann unwitting triggered the controversy by telling a Social Services Select Committee she routinely asked for bank statements.
"I don't just want to put a tenant into a property and no sooner have they been put in they can't afford the rent," she said.
"They're paying somebody's mortgage and I see a lot of people who are low socio-economic and their bank statements literally will read, 'KFC, McDonald's, the dairy, KFC, McDonald's, court fine', trucks that they buy, goods that they can't afford. You know, I see a lot of mismanagement of money."
Twyford said this practice was skating very close to the line of discrimination.
He said he didn't think many people would find it acceptable for property managers to scour prospective tenants' bank records and then pass judgment on their spending habits.
The Real Estate Institute of NZ chief executive Bindi Norwell backed his comments, saying she would like to see property managers better regulated by Government.
Renters United's Day also called for regulation of property managers, saying many renters were hard hit by unscrupulous practices because they were struggling to make ends meet.
"Rising rents are putting many people under enormous pressure, some even to the extent that they fear becoming homeless," she said.
She said Renters United was holding a meeting in Wellington this evening to discuss Quinovic's ads, as well as the next steps in its "Campaign to Fix Renting".
"We will 'toast' the rare honesty of this company," Day said of the meeting.
"[But] contrary to what their advert implies, we will toast with budget raspberry cola because that's all some renters can afford."