An embattled branch of Quinovic that faced controversy over unauthorised advertising and fake online reviews is being taken over by the franchisor.

Tenants of property manager Quinovic's Te Aro branch in Wellington today received an email informing them the franchisor was taking over the operations of the Te Aro franchise.

Property manager Quinovic Te Aro in Wellington posted three advertisements on its Facebook page that have angered renters. Image / Renters United
Property manager Quinovic Te Aro in Wellington posted three advertisements on its Facebook page that have angered renters. Image / Renters United

"Taking over the operations of the Te Aro franchise is not a decision that the franchisor has taken lightly and it follows two very public incidents involving the franchise; unauthorised advertising in August 2018 and more recently fake Facebook and Google reviews," chief operating officer Paul Chapman said in the email.

The unauthorised advertising relates to ads posted on the franchise's Facebook page last year that appear to suggest landlords aren't charging enough rent if tenants can afford a night out with drinks.

Advertisement

The branch 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."

Then in January it was revealed glowing reviews for the branch online were actually fake.

They included one fake landlord named Jerrod Hayes, who wrote Quinovic was "a breath of fresh air for my property as I was really struggling to get things right on my own".

Hayes' photo also appears as a stock image of a teacher on a Getty Images site.

Another fake reviewer called Eva Smith, claimed Quinovic helped her find a great property to rent that was ideal for her family, lifestyle and budget.

"The property manager was very kind during the search and didn't take much time to give me a result that matches my needs," she wrote.

However, Smith's profile picture also appears on another website in which her name is Karen Comas.

At the time, Chapman said Quinovic was investigating the claim that the reviews were fake.

He earlier said the ads posted on the Facebook page did not conform to the "brand's 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."

In today's email, Chapman told tenants they remained "important and valued" customers and that looking after their tenancy was a priority.

One of Quinovic Te Aro's advertisements offering services to Wellington landlords. Image / Renters United
One of Quinovic Te Aro's advertisements offering services to Wellington landlords. Image / Renters United

"We are hoping that the transition to group office management will be smooth and seamless but ask for your patience in advance with any transitional issues," he said.

Quinovic is "currently in discussions with the existing property management staff".

A tenant who did not want to be identified said she was pleased the branch was being taken over.

"I'm hoping that there will be better management going further," she said.

"That's all we want, it's people's livelihoods. The home is where the heart is and I think that's something that they don't care about."

The woman said the property management had been "shockingly bad", and there were issues with managers being "slow to react" to issues.

"As soon as we saw the email me and my flat just had a laugh about it," she said.

"It wasn't a shock to us."

Quinovic has been contacted for comment.