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Bad experiences with agents or landlords are human’s faults. Know the differences between agent, property manager and landlord and follow these tips for a greater chance to maintain good relationships and enjoyable tenancies.


Agent or Landlord

Differences between Agent, Property Manager and Landlord?

Googling for Klauster will lead to different areas linked to a real person, IT professional, landlord and business owner with interests in web and property developments, marketing and trading.


The passion for helping others comes from extensive travelling and the principles of life—how to avoid pitfalls when investing or forming relationships.


The philosophy to treat life, partnerships and hobbies as an investment has helped people to manage and improve cash-flow.

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First and foremost, everyone has some kind of personal experiences that set people’s expectations and preferences. If you are influenced by sensationalism in the media about “greedy” landlords or “helpless” agents, I would like to remind you that for good or bad services two parties are involved.  What matters is how do deal with that. In most cases relationships make it or break it and that is based on expectations. The more you know, the greater the chance to maintain good relationships and enjoyable tenancies. 



Know the differences between agent and landlord


An agent or property manager acts as a representative of the landlord. Tenants sign the tenancy agreement with the authorized agent, pay the rent to the agent, who then passes rent payments minus fees on to the landlord.  In this case the agent is the first point of contact for all matters of the tenancy. If a tenant notifies the agent of the need for repairs then the agent acts on instructions in the service agreement or on landlord’s advice.


Legally spoken it shouldn’t really matter if you rent through an agent or landlord directly. The landlord still is responsible for your safety, repairs, bond being lodged with the Tenancy Services and all obligation set in the RTA (Residential Tenancy Act).



Landlord or Agent and Property Manager


There is not such thing like Agent vs. Landlord. The agent works on behalf of the landlord. Engaging such third-party services by the landlord makes sense for many reasons  e.g. a property investor owns investment properties in remote location, he/she is too busy with a day job and has no resources to manage rental properties and alike.


You will find in NZ two typical services; lettings agents who look for prospective tenants by advertising vacancies, screen applicants and do sign-up paperwork. The property management services  are provided by real estate agents who act and sign the tenancy agreement on behalf of the landlord.


Property managers are commonly engaged by property investors with a large portfolio or “mum and dad” investors with one or two rental properties. For people with day-jobs to manage one or two rentals—often it is not worth the hassle. Also, if the property investment  is cash-flow negative, for the owner working on a good paid job is more productive  for off-setting the loss.


On the other hand when running a landlord business, why would a landlord outsource the key part of the business, dealing with clients or tenants and running an efficient business?


Good tenancies are based on quality services and relationships. Hands-on landlords have better chances to satisfy good tenants and build up relationships, which are essential to keep rental homes in good working order. Tenants are more likely to stay for longer and treat “their home” with more respect for benefits to both parties, when the landlord does a good job.



Landlord or agent what is your preference?


Finding a rental home through an agent was in the past the easier way as they manage a larger housing stock. Nowadays vacancies are online accessible and renters prefer house hunting from the comfort of their homes.


And agents still charge letting fees. Such third-party services have associated costs like management fees and all sort of administration fees for screening tenants, dealing with trades people, repairs, inspections and so on, which are passed on by adjusted rents.


For tenancy agreements agents normally apply one set of rules. Dealing with the landlord directly is for preferred tenants an advantage as they have bargaining power.


My observation is that renters who prefer to deal with an agent have often an unfortunate experience with a previous landlord. It looks like that these people are the less confident renters and feel better when working with an agent.



Tips to consider when signing the tenancy agreement


(1) Whether you rent with a landlord or letting agent, you should always do your due diligence, reference check etc. (read here more). That minimizes the risks renting with amateur landlords or letting agents who charge unreasonable fees. Consider, the agent stands between you and the landlord.

Renting with an agent

(2): There is nothing by law preventing you from contacting your landlord directly, if you have something not followed up by the agent. 


(3):To avoid being caught in the middle of a debacle between landlord and agent require the landlord to be set on the tenancy agreement as well.

The desired outcome for you as renter is to find a great rental home, a negotiable landlord with good attitude and the opportunity to show your appreciation for a well maintained tenancy. If you are interested in one of Klauster Properties rentals, please feel free and contact us.  Good luck.


Rent or Own - Decision at some stage in life?

Klauster Properties Ltd - Renter’s Blog